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

Congratulations! You got a college admissions offer!¬†You’re likely still riding the high of opening that letter and reading the long-awaited words: “We’re pleased to inform you of your acceptance into XYZ University.” So pop the confetti, get yourself a celebratory cupcake, and maybe do a little happy dance. You’ve done it!

Note that the above celebrations do not include: relax for the rest of the year. Many people think that once they’re accepted, they’re in no matter what. With a whole semester left of senior year, it’s incredibly tempting just to sit back, relax, not take things too seriously, maybe skip a couple of classes to sleep in, or not spend as much time studying–because, hey, you’ve already got the acceptance letter. No going back now, right?

Not true. The entirety of your senior year does matter. Even after you are accepted, colleges will STILL look at your grades for the spring semester. If there is too dramatic of a drop in your GPA, if they realize you’ve essentially given up on caring about your high school academics, they can (and might) rescind your acceptance. That’s right–you can get kicked out before ever even going.

High school has been a long journey up until now, and you’ve worked really hard. With the college acceptance letter in hand, it is so, so tempting to take a break–but hold out for a little longer. Just one more semester. Summer is the time to relax and kick back, not school.

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.

Acceptance is not a guarantee

If you just keep the frame of mind that the whole of your high school career is like an audition for college, it’s much easier to take the second semester seriously. As exciting as earning that acceptance letter is, as soon as you do your happy dance, stow it away somewhere out of sight and pretend your acceptance is still up in the air–because it sort of is. Keep those grades up and GPA in good shape, you’ll thank yourself on the first day of college.

A good GPA leads to good scholarships and grants

Many scholarship and grant opportunities–as well as other forms of financial aid–often have requirements that include a certain minimum GPA level. The higher your GPA is and the better your grades are, the more scholarships and grants you could qualify for. And additional financial aid never ever hurts.

Stay active during your senior year

A lot of time is spent on completing applications, writing essays, going on college visits, researching anything from degree programs to parking places on campus–luckily most of that should be done now that you’ve been accepted. This leaves you with some freed time. While there should still be a focus on academics–we hope we’ve hammered that in by this point–that extra time can be spent on doing fun (but still engaging) things.

Have a hobby you wanted to start or hone, but not the time to do it? Now’s your chance to fit in some practice time. Interested in joining a club or organization? The second semester is a great time for that. You never know what will make for a good story or skill in the future.

There are only a few months left of high school, so work hard and try to enjoy them. You’re in the home-stretch–keep on running! Extra effort will never betray you.

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