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Posted at 6:30 AM ET, 02/16/2010

Senioritis: Minor affliction or serious disease?

By Valerie Strauss

My guest today is Jerome A. Lucido, vice provost for enrollment policy and management at the University of Southern California.

By Jerome A. Lucido
You’ve worked hard throughout high school, taken tough courses, climbed the ladder from college prep to honors to AP. Along the way, you’ve posted an enviable record-strong grades, good to great test scores, and a solid record of school and community involvement. You’ve registered for a senior year of AP or other advanced courses. And then it dawns on you.

This is it--your last year of high school. You’re on top of the heap and you’ve earned it. Your applications for admission are in. You may have already earned admission to one or more colleges through an early admission program. You will never pass this way again.

Suddenly, it seems less serious. Suddenly, the routine seems absurd. Suddenly, you’re infected with senioritis. You’re enrolled in five solid courses, but your concentration is on the senior prank, the senior trip, prom, and, well, this and every last weekend you have with your high school friends.

Your study time decreases. You drop a class or fall back from your AP courses. You party randomly, maybe even during the school day. It’s a disease without treatment. Nearly every senior gets a small case. Some get it bad. But there are serious side effects.

For students on the admission bubble, performance in the senior year will be the determining factor in the admission process. For those with admission letters in their hands, actual enrollment depends upon continued high school performance at the level that earned them the admission decision. A dramatic drop in grades, the failure to complete the senior year curriculum identified in the application, or both, can be fatal conditions.

The worst days of my career as a dean of admission came on those days when I wrote to promising students to say that I had to rescind their admission decision due to a lack of performance in the senior year.

True, only a few students die this way from senioritis, but a great many suffer through less than average collegiate freshman years because their study habits, their concentration, and their dedication...in a word, their discipline, has eroded.

So, dear senior, enjoy your final year. Revel in the status that your hard work has earned you. Live all the unforgettable senior moments. But let your inner compass - your academic integrity - guide you through this final year. Finish strong. And let there be no doubt that you are ready for both the freedom and the rigor of college life.

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By Valerie Strauss  | February 16, 2010; 6:30 AM ET
Categories:  College Admissions  | Tags:  college admissions  
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Comments

Along the lines of this, CBS Radio reported that a Utah state legislator wants to save money by canceling 12th grade. His reasoning is that kids goof off in 12th grade.

Posted by: edlharris | February 16, 2010 10:48 AM | Report abuse

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