What Do You Do If Your Teen Has Senioritis?

By Brooke Newell

Time sure does fly! Now that the holidays are over, it is hard to believe that in a few short months high school graduations will be here. Soon parents will be watching their child walk down the aisle at graduation and begin the next stage of his life. I know for parents, it probably seems like just yesterday you were searching for the perfect preschool for your child, and now he is already planning where to move next.

Students have already taken the SATs and ACTs and have already applies to colleges and filled out scholarship applications. But, what if your child catches a case of senioritis? According to Merriam Webster Dictionary, senioritis is defined as an ebbing of motivation and effort by school seniors as evidenced by tardiness, absences and lower grades.

Jen Homard, former assistant principal of curriculum at Buchholz High School, believes that there are many causes of senioritis. She has seen cases of senioritis occur sometimes as early as October or November of a senior year! But it tends to “break out” at the start of second semester (the end of January), and seems to get even worse after Spring Break.

One such reason for this is that many students are anxious for the next chapter in their life to begin, whether it is college, technical school or a career. Students work extremely hard through all of their years of schooling and they are ready for a break. Additionally, seniors tend to be more stressed, not only from coursework, but also from major life decisions that tend to be made that year. What college should I attend? Am I going to live at home next year? What do I want to do with my life? How will I pay for college? Most students Homard has had contact with seem to willingly admit they have some degree of senioritis at some point during their senior year.

As parents, you need to help your child prevent this common syndrome that can creep up on your high school senior. It is important to realize that colleges are serious about the candidates they are selecting.According to an article from The New York Times, author Laura Pappano explains that colleges take senior year performance into consideration, even after the acceptance letter arrives in your mailbox.

Parents, administrators and teachers can all work together to help with senioritis. Homard feels that parents should keep lines of communication open with their child, their child’s teachers and school counselors.Also, she feels parents should encourage their child to participate in as many school events as possible, so they stay grounded and focused on the moment. Teachers and administrators are keeping a close eye On students’ grades, so they don’t drop to the point that graduation, scholarship offers and college entrances may be in jeopardy. They are also encouraging senior events to take place and they are available for students to talk to, for both guidance and assistance.

Below are some great tips to help your senior be successful for the remainder of their year!


By Jen Homard

1. Help your child recognize that there are many people who can help in the process of making major decisions (family, guidance counselors, favorite teachers, school administration, coaches, etc.).

2. Help your child stay on top of assignments and study for tests.

3. Encourage your child to enjoy the special events that are unique only to seniors (Grad Night, Senior Prom, Senior Picnic, Senior Breakfast, Senior Awards Night…) – they’ll only happen once in his lifetime!

4. Break the year into smaller increments (even weekly segments), so that the larger events and projects will seem manageable.

5. Have your child set positive, attainable long-term goals, to give herself something to remain focused on for her future (for example, getting into specific classes her freshman year of college, graduating high school with a certain grade point average, acquiring a specific number of community service hours before graduation).