Myth: The Second Half of My High School Senior Year Doesn’t Matter

After you submit your college applications, it can feel like it’s time to finally relax. And many do just that – they fall into the trap of feeling like the second half of their senior year in high school simply doesn’t matter. After all, the colleges have your grades, your SAT/ACT scores, your extracurriculars – they’re not going to look at your second semester’s activities… right?

Wrong! Colleges can and do follow up with students regarding their second senior year semester. Even if you’ve already received an acceptance letter, schools can rescind offers!

So how do you avoid succumbing to senioritis? Keep these things in mind during the last few weeks of your senior year!

A high school student sitting in a classroom working on an assignment.

Your Second Semester of High School Senior Year Matters

Colleges ask for your grades, extracurriculars, achievements, test scores, and volunteer work until January 1st (or November if you apply under Early Action or Early Decision) as part of the application process. This leads some students to believe that the last semester of their high school career doesn’t matter. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Slacking off during this semester can actually lead to consequences.

1. Colleges May Review Your Second Semester

Colleges and universities will often check in with a student’s progress in their senior year even after applications have been submitted. In some cases, schools may even ask for updates on your activities and grades. And, if you’re on a waitlist, a poor semester could result in you not getting a call back.

2. Acceptance is Not a Guarantee

An acceptance letter isn’t a guarantee of admittance. Colleges have the right to rescind offer letters for certain irresponsible behaviors and bad grades. Schools that offer Early Action and Early Decision, for instance, tend to request transcripts months later. They may also check your social media. If you say something they deem inappropriate or you let your grades drop out of the sky, you could receive a letter that your offer to attend the school has been rescinded.

3. Good GPA = Scholarships and Grants

It’s not all about the acceptance letters! Senioritis can impact your ability to win scholarships and grants. By slacking off during January to June, you could very well be passing up free money. The higher your GPA and the more activities you take part in, the more likely you are to receive that free financial aid.

4. You Could Fail to Graduate

And, of course, if you slack too hard in your senior year, you could fail to meet the requirements to graduate high school! The last thing you want after acceptance to your dream college is to find out you might not be able to attend as you need to retake some classes this summer to get your high school diploma.

Do’s and Don’ts of Your Second Half of Senior Year

So what should you be doing during your final semester of high school? And what should you be avoiding? Here are a few tips to keep in mind:

Do: Stay Active

You’ve kept up with your extracurriculars for years – this isn’t the time to quit them! Be sure to continue those clubs, sports, and activities and finish out your high school career strong. The connections you make in these groups can also be strong networking connections down the line, and you don’t want to burn bridges early.

You should also stay on top of your homework assignments, hobbies, and other responsibilities.

Don’t: Forget to Complete College Prep Tasks

The application process wasn’t the end of college prep! You’ll still have a few important college prep steps including:

  • comparing financial aid offer letters to see which school gave you the best deal.
  • visiting campuses after receiving your acceptance letters.
  • making your final decision on a college by May 1st.
  • submitting your deposits to the college you choose.
  • and completing other tasks to ensure you’re ready to attend college in the fall.

Do: Keep Applying for Scholarships

Now is also a great time to be applying for scholarships and grants. Many awards will have their deadlines in the coming weeks, so be sure to get those applications in as soon as possible to have a chance at winning. You may have to complete interviews for some scholarships, too, so schedule those quickly to get ideal slots.

Don’t: Post Inappropriate Things Online

This is the time to celebrate your achievements. You are about to graduate high school. You’re going to be attending college in a few months. Now may be a great time to conduct a social media audit to ensure your social posts are positive and that any comments, videos, or celebrations online will show you in a good light.

Colleges can and will look at your social media. If a school deems the things they are seeing as inappropriate, it could land you an unexpected rejection letter or a withdrawal of your acceptance letter.

Do: Enjoy The Final Months of Your Senior Year

You’ve done it! You’re here! You’re about to embark on a new adventure, meet exciting new people, and go off on your own. But you still have a few months to enjoy being a kid at home. Be sure to enjoy it! Celebrate your achievements with family and friends, get out of the house, and have fun.

As your high school career comes to an end, you want to take time to reflect on your past 12 years. Enjoy the time you have left at your current school, and plan for your future. Part of that is continuing to give your education your all.

One task to add to your to-do list this spring is to apply for those scholarships. Don’t know where to look? We have you covered with our Scholarship Search Tool — get started for free!