Senioritis and College Admissions

Learn About Senioritis and the Impact It Can Have on Your College Plans

A Sleeping Student in Class
A Sleeping Student in Class. Digital Vision / Getty Images

Appendicitis, bronchitis, senioritis! “itis," the Latin root for “inflammation”... So when you combine this word with “senior,” you get an inflammation or swelling of your lack of motivation at the end of your high school career. This correlates with lethargy and disinterest in school work, usually after you get accepted into an undergraduate college of your choice during senior year of high school.


  • Reluctance to get out of bed
  • Stress eating
  • Abnormal sleep schedule
  • Procrastination
  • An “I don’t care anymore” or “I don’t want to do this anymore” attitude

Although it can be difficult to push through senioritis, the consequences of giving into it can affect your future as a college student. Colleges keep track of your progress during senior year to ensure that they made the right choice in picking you to attend their school and that you are truly a good student.


You Must Report academic Changes

Many colleges require a report if any seniors have dropped or changed any courses they committed to taking during their senior year—if they earn a failing grade or if their GPA dips below a certain threshold.

  • The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) views a negative academic change as a failure to meet the original admission contract and calls for a review of the student's overall record. The student in consideration will then be notified whether the change in their course affects their admission with the possibility of being withdrawn from the university roster.
  • UCLA policy

You May Get a Warning Letter

Colleges send out warning letters if they deem a secondary school or mid-year report of a student’s grades as unsatisfactory. These letters are usually entrenched in disappointment and foreboding in order to motivate seniors to improve their grades.

  • Bowdoin College, as quoted in the New York Times, possesses different classes of warning letters. Depending on the gravity of the student’s academic performance, Bowdoin College sends letters ranging from a simple warning to rescinding admission.
  • Bowdoin Quote in New York Times

Your Acceptance May Be Rescinded

Many colleges reserve the right to rescind their acceptance of a student if seniors perform less than desirably (plagiarizing, cheating, drunken misbehavior, arrest).

How to Avoid Senioritis

Realize that You Are Experiencing Senioritis

The first step towards becoming a college student is recognizing the symptoms of senioritis and fighting through them.

  • Brown University says one’s senior year is “one quarter of your high school career and often includes some of the most substantial college preparatory coursework” which puts how valuable that time and effort that one exerts during this time into perspective.

Learn More About the School that You Will Be Attending

You can prepare for an undergraduate career at your preferred school by learning about the campus, the classes that are offered, clubs, and maybe about the surrounding city. This will help you and your parents adjust to the imminent future of moving and making new friends.

  • Amherst College offers a telementoring program for high school students to connect with current Amherst students. These students are trained to help with admissions and financial aid procedures as well as understanding diverse backgrounds so that incoming students can be more at ease about the college process.
  • Amherst Telementoring Program

Take Rigorous Courses

Choose classes that really showcase your academic prowess and keep your interest throughout the year. Many colleges look at what courses you are taking during senior year and have prerequisite classes that need to be fulfilled before entering college, so make sure you keep track of how many years you would need to take of classes like math, foreign language, and science (to name a few). All colleges want to see you taking difficult classes and continuing that momentum into freshman year.

  • For example, Pomona College requires a minimum of three years of math and foreign language, and two years of lab sciences. They say that the most successful students to continue their education are the ones that take these academic subjects all four years. Pomona, as well as other demanding colleges, wants you to exceed the minimum.
  • Pomona expectations

Take College Courses to Get a Head Start

If senioritis kicks in because you are just that ready to start your undergraduate career, try taking courses online, through special program provided by your chosen college, or through colleges in your area. You will get a taste of the rigors of college and how you need to work hard in high school to develop the endurance you’ll need during your undergraduate career.

  • The University of Washington offers a chance for seniors to earn credit in their very own high school classrooms. Classes are taught based on the University of Washington curriculum, and the high school teachers that teach these courses use the same activities, texts, and tests. The credit earned is recognized at most public institutions and many private ones as well as the credit could be transferred to WashU.
  • UW in High School

Go Through the Admissions Checklist

Make sure you are prepared for going to college after high school by setting up a school e-mail address and username, arranging your living situation, and making your school deposit. When you have finished with either Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate tests, send in your test results to receive credit if possible.

Apply for Financial Aid and Scholarships

An undergraduate career can be expensive, so it’s always a good idea to apply for as many scholarships as you can. You should fill out the FAFSA as soon as you can in the winter before college, and you can also apply for third-party scholarships. Financial security will help alleviate the stress of going to college.

A Final Word

It's easy to become complacent during senior year, or to think that once you get accepted to college nothing else matters. Be sure to avoid this potentially disastrous mindset. This senior year college admissions timeline can help you stay on track.