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The Perils of Senioritis

Dropped Classes and Plummeting Grades Carry Significant Consequences

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Ahhh, senioritis. College acceptances are in, the decision has been made and now there's nothing left to do but kick back, relax and not bother going to class or doing homework anymore, right? Oh so very wrong. The stakes are higher than simple disengagement. High school counselors hammer the message home every year: Kids who flirt with excessive senioritis are putting their college acceptances in jeopardy. The University of Washington rescinds about two dozen acceptances every year, according to the New York Times. Connecticut College sent 13 warning letters to incoming freshmen in 2008, and booted one who had been accepted under early decision. And they're hardly the exception.

A single "C" grade won't make a difference, although your child may get a "we are disappointed" letter from his university dean, which is not a great way to launch one's college career. Make it a "D" or two - or cheating, drunken pranks, suspension or expulsion - and your child is courting serious trouble. At one California high school, the class valedictorian cheated on her English final the day before graduation. She was expelled just hours before she would have donned her cap and gown.

The sudden derailment of college dreams isn't just traumatic, it couldn’t come at a worse time. Although students must commit to a college by May 1, the decision to revoke an acceptance is based on senior year transcripts, which come out in mid-June. At that point, it's too late to do much. Once an acceptance has been rescinded, the only recourse may be spending a semester or year at a community college, and reapplying. The letter of revocation will include information on how to do reapply. But the best recourse is to make sure none of this happens in the first place. Fortunately, there are some ways to do that.

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