Senior slump, senior slide, senioritis. Whatever you call it, the urge to slack off in your senior year of high school can be overwhelming. Now that the pressure of college admissions is off, it can be all too easy to lose direction and motivation. But with the finish line in sight, now is not the time to slow down!
Senior year can be an extremely productive and satisfying time if you approach it with the right attitude. Here are eight tips to help you stay focused as your high school career draws to a close.
You may think that once the acceptance letter arrives, you’ve got it made. But universities do look at your final grades, and if there’s a significant drop they may question whether you’re ready for college. They can put you on probation, reduce financial aid, or even rescind their offer—so don’t give them a reason to second guess their decision!
For most students, college is a lot more academically challenging than high school. You’ll need top-notch study skills to succeed in your classes, so use this last semester of high school as a training ground for your first term of college. Now is the time to fine-tune your note-taking, work on time management, become a grade-A studier, and refine your writing skills. If you improve your techniques now, you’ll be ahead of the game when college starts.
Once you fall into a slacker mentality, it can be hard to get out. We all know how difficult it is to get back into the swing of things after a long summer vacation. Don’t make it harder by slacking off during your senior year, too!
If you're taking Advanced Placement or other college-level classes, you may need a certain grade or test score to get college credit. Doing well in these classes can help you place into more advanced courses, graduate early, and spend less on tuition—all very good things. (Check with your future school about its requirements.) Studying hard now can make a big impact on your college career.
Pick up Stefanie Weisman’s Secrets of Top Students: Tips, Tools, and Techniques for Acing High School and College for tips to make academic excellence a part of your student’s life.
Many students struggle with boredom in their final year of high school, making it hard to stay motivated. To avoid this situation, try rounding out your schedule with courses that interest you. Consider taking classes in subjects you’ve never tried before, or choosing electives in your favorite subject. This will help you stay focused and may give you a head start on choosing a major. Getting an internship or a job, or participating in an extracurricular activity can also give you a renewed sense of purpose.
The clearer your goals are, the easier it is to maintain your motivation. Write down your goals for this semester, and be specific about how you're going to achieve them. For example: What grades do you want in each of your classes? Do you need a specific GPA to maintain a scholarship or financial aid? What skills do you want to improve on before heading off to college?
As a high school senior, you’re probably spending a lot of time thinking about the future—it may seem like high school’s already a distant memory. However, it’s important to stay focused on the here and now. Use a day planner or calendar or create to-do list to keep track of your responsibilities and break up large projects into manageable tasks. Concentrate on doing your homework, completing projects, and studying for tests. And after all that is done, go ahead and spend a little time fantasizing about your life as a college student.
After all, you’ve worked hard to get into college, and you deserve to treat yourself. Make sure to set aside some time to hang out with your friends, go to social events, and do other fun stuff. Just don’t make the mistake of treating senior year as one big party.
Get the best tips for the high school to college transition with The Naked Roommate: And 107 Other Issues You Might Run Into in College.