Senioritis: Signs and Symptoms of High School Senioritis

How to recognize when your teen has given up on school.

Senioritis can be a serious problem.
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Senioritis, according to the Urban Dictionary, strikes during a teen's senior year of high school. It's a condition that zaps soon-to-be graduates of motivation to do any of their work.

While senioritis isn't an actual medical condition, it is a phenomena that can be a big problem. As seniors look back over their high school life, they may declare they're done. They lack the desire to do their homework and their grades decline.

They also become apathetic about attending school. They may skip classes or refuse to attend for several days at a time. 

The Consequences of Senioritis

Senioritis gives teens the false belief that they'll graduate even if they don't do their work. So rather than worry about their grades, they spend their time hanging out with friends.

Many of them incorrectly believe that college admissions officers won't look at their final semester's transcripts. But to their surprise, some seniors who have already been accepted into higher education lose their opportunity to attend because of failing grades during their last semester of high school.

Other seniors, engage in risk-taking behavior. They skip school to experiment with drugs and alcohol. Or, they begin driving recklessly. They assume they're invincible and immortal. 

Parents may notice the signs of senioritis about midway through a teen's senior year, but the warning signs may show up sooner.

A sophomore with senior friends, for example, may jump on the bandwagon long before his high school career comes to a close. 

Signs of High School Senioritis

  • Poor grades
  • Incomplete assignments
  • Misses curfew repeatedly
  • Cuts classes often
  • Increased absences from school
  • Concern from teachers and school administrators

Symptoms of High School Senioritis

What to Do If Your Teen Has Senioritis

Relaxing enough to enjoy their last year of high school doesn't have to be a bad thing. But unfortunately, some teens lose all their motivation and the results are devastating to their future.

Keep a close eye on your teen's behavior throughout his senior year. If you start noticing signs that he's giving up, get involved. Make it clear that his behavior could have serious consequences.

Talk about the importance of finishing high school strong. Discuss his attendance record and final grades and the fact that colleges are likely to review his final transcripts. 

Even if your teen isn't planning to go to college now, remind him that he may want to go at a later date. Additionally, talk about how a future employer may request copies of his transcripts as well.

Make some of your teen's privileges contingent on his hard work. If he wants to use the car on Saturday night, make sure he's got his work done first. Just like a future job will motivate him with a paycheck, use incentives that will keep him motivated to keep doing his school work.

Seek Professional Help

Occasionally, senioritis may be a sign of a more serious problem. A teen who is really anxious about the future, for example, may stop doing her work. Or, a teen who is sad about high school ending, may grow depressed

If you are concerned about your teen's mental health or risky behavior, talk to your child's physician. Your teen may benefit from therapy to help support her as she makes the transition into adulthood.

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