Senioritis and What to Do About It

You’ve turned in the last of your college applications and even received admission to some of your top choice schools. Now, with the reassurance of a bright future ahead of you, it’s finally time to relax and enjoy yourself. That project or English essay can wait and you don’t need to study so hard for that upcoming math test. In comes senioritis, the infamous name coined by high schoolers for the decline in motivation and performance in one’s senior year of high school.

 It’s understandable. After all, the overarching reason for performing well in high school was to increase the chances of gaining acceptance to college. Now that decisions are out, a little senioritis can’t hurt, right?

Well, not quite. You’ll notice that in all your admission letters, what was offered to you was something called conditional or provisional admission. What this means is that you’ve been accepted to your college of choice on the basis that you follow through with certain requirements. Generally, this includes maintaining a specific GPA, fulfilling basic graduation requirements, and submitting documents by the required deadlines. 

For example, take UC Berkeley’s 2019 conditions of admission:


  • I understand that I must complete all senior-year courses listed on my application with a minimum unweighted 3.0 GPA for each term, and earn no grade lower than a C for any individual courses.

  • I will graduate from high school/secondary school.

  • I will submit all required official documents in a timely manner for admissions verification (review documentation requirements below).

  • I will notify Undergraduate Admissions via the Undergraduate Admission Update form available on MAP@Berkeley if:

    • I do not meet the 3.0 GPA condition for any term of my senior year.

    • I receive a grade lower than a C in any course

    • I have made/will make changes to my senior year class schedule.

    • I am having difficulty sending a final transcript from my school

Not only must you maintain a 3.0 both semesters and earn no grade below a C, you also must notify UC Berkeley if any of these conditions are violated. In fact, failure to fulfill these conditions can lead to your admissions being revoked. That’s right: the 4 years of painstaking effort you put into high school could be negated by a particularly bad case of senioritis. 

 Other consequences include the loss of financial aid and scholarships and the possibility of academic probation in your first semester. According to the electronic acceptance agreement signed by every student, colleges have the final say in deciding whether you will be attending their college or not, and if they see reason to rescind your acceptance, they will. 

Luckily, this is totally avoidable! Here are some strategies and tips to combat senioritis. 

Keep a schedule and set goals for yourself. When you’ve set goals and broken down the steps needed to accomplish something, motivation comes very easily. Bring structure to your week by scheduling specific times for studying and extracurricular activities. For example, if you want to get an A in AP Calculus AB, set specific times throughout the week to go through practice problems and review your notes. Clear goals help tremendously with motivation and getting started.

Talk to your counselor about how you’re feeling. Chances are that your high school counselor has seen senioritis pop up countless times. Usually, articulating the problem to somebody else is the first step to solving it, and your counselor, with all their experience, will definitely have some genuine advice and encouragement to help you get through your slump. 

Remember to set good habits for the future. College is likely the first place where no one will be telling you what to do - this independence, unfortunately, can be a double-edged sword. With the plethora of new experiences and activities in college, many freshmen struggle to balance their time. Use your senioritis as a good opportunity to practice motivating yourself and building good study habits so you can hit the ground running in the fall. 

The pull of senioritis is powerful, but remember your priorities. You don’t want to lose your chance at attending your college of choice because of something entirely preventable. You have all summer to have fun, so make sure that you finish your very last semester strong!