The final countdown… past “senioritis”

The final countdown – Sixth Formers working toward a nearing graduation, like that of Mathenge Mwangi ’20. – Mr. Jordan Hayman

Yet another contagious disease has taken our country by storm. Around the nation, the senior class of 2021 has exhibited signs of a familiar infectious phenomenon. Senioritis has hit the halls of high schools across the country, and it is running rampant. Many schools have met this challenge head-on by introducing a new way to conclude this common high school experience. 

     “Senioritis,” a term used to describe students slacking off as they approach the final days of senior year, may result in unexpected repercussions. Paul Mathers, Dean of Admission of Reed College, in the 2009 New York Times article, “A Warning: Colleges Can Change Their Minds,” stated that, “every year, when grades drop or there is some misbehavior, we send out warnings… we want them to be aware that we are considering rescinding their… admission.” 

     Still, who can blame these students for losing momentum as the end of the twelfth grade approaches? 

     Every student feels the pressures of the senior student’s rite of passage. SAT/ACT testing, application essays, and the wait for the words “we are happy to inform you…” can be overwhelming.

Senior life is like a pressure-cooker. Students often burn out. 

Senior life is like a pressure-cooker. Students often burn out. 

     In 2018, Forbes magazine noted that “nearly a dozen newly accepted Harvard applicants… had their offers of admission rescinded.” Senioritis is real. Tanya Abrams, in her article “7 Reasons to Avoid Senioritis” published in The New York Times in May 2013, stated, “Some students lose their admission offers because of plagiarism, cheating, drunken misbehavior, or arrest.” If the applicant is lucky, they might be offered the opportunity to explain the inconsistencies in their final transcript. 

     Many high schools are armed and ready to help their seniors fight the symptoms of senioritis. In his article, “Fighting That Contagion of the Classroom, Senioritis,” published in The New York Times on June 18, 2003, Marek Fuchs reported how the Woodlands High School in Hartsdale, N.Y. began their innovative program in order to conclude its high school experience with positivity and engagement. These programs have advanced and students have embraced this opportunity with creativity and passion.

     Haverford has a plan in place to save their Sixth Form students from any one of these unforeseen problems. Students formulate a proposal for a personalized project that they will execute in place of their traditional end-of-year curriculum. Sailing, car maintenance, creating a blog, or shadowing a doctor are a few examples of past projects. 

     What will the students propose to do during their time to explore the outside world? The possibilities are endless, and the experience will no doubt be priceless.