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College Admissions: Avoiding Senioritis and Spring Meltdown

Monday, March 17, 2014

 

It’s an insidious and highly contagious disease. No one really talks about it, and the American Psychological Association doesn’t recognize it, but nevertheless, it exists. It affects only a small subset of society, high school seniors, and strikes almost exclusively in the springtime. The Miriam-Webster Dictionary defines Senioritis as “an ebbing of effort by school seniors as evidenced by tardiness, absences, and lower grades.”

Parents are often caught by surprise because it hits after the stress of college admissions season and can affect even the most conscientious students.

The Symptoms and Risks

It can start out innocently, a history paper deadline missed, a low grade on a test, breaking curfew. But, if left untreated, it can result in plummeting grades, school suspensions, and in some cases, arrests at parties involving drugs and alcohol. What many students don’t realize is that their college acceptance is contingent on maintaining the same level of grades that they had when accepted and a clean behavioral record. Colleges CAN and WILL rescind an acceptance if final grades are significantly lower, a suspension occurs, or the student is involved in a misdemeanor or felony. Schools are required to send your final grades and an update on any behavioral infractions to colleges. Appear in the police blotter, and a local parent with a student on your college’s waiting list may send it in to admissions-it happens all the time.

Prevention

What can parents do? First don’t ignore the early signs. Speak to your children about the importance of a successful senior spring and the risks of veering off track. It is understandable that seniors feel a sense of relief after working hard for four years to achieve their college goals, but now is not the time to risk it all. Senior projects, internships and community service trips can help direct seniors who feel the need to experience life beyond the classroom. Family projects or excursions can also be a good diversion. If you have been thinking about going green in your home or taking a summer family trip-put your senior in charge of researching and executing the plan.

Treatment for Severe Cases

If the worst does happen and grades plummet or your child is involved in a disciplinary incident at school or in the community, you need to be ready to deal with the situation. When a college rescinds an acceptance or expresses concern, the student needs to write a substantive letter explaining what happened and taking full responsibility. He or she should then detail what they learned from the situation and why it will not happen again. In some cases, it may make sense to travel to the college and meet with administrators to emphasize your commitment to higher education and being an upstanding member of the college community.

Cristiana Quinn, M.Ed. is the founder of College Admission Advisors, LLC which provides strategic, college counseling and athletic recruiting services for students. www.collegeadvisorsonline.comThis article was originally run on February 25, 2013

 

Related Slideshow: Best Ski + Snowboard Colleges in the East

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Middlebury College

Middlebury, VT

With Stowe and Sugarbush nearby, finding challenging terrain is not an issue at colleges in northern Vermont. Students at Middlebury enjoy the Snow Bowl, owned by the college, for a quick few runs when they are not up for a car ride. In less than a half hour however, they can hit the slopes at Sugarbush or Stowe. You will need to be a top student to get into Middlebury though; with an acceptance rate of just 18%, the college is among a handful of the most selective liberal arts colleges in the country.

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University of Vermont

Burlington, VT

Heading north, in the picturebook city of Burlington on the shores of Lake Champlain, you will find the University of Vermont. Famous for producing both Alpine and Downhill Olympic skiers, UVM is a mecca for winter sports lovers. Buses head from campus to the slopes on the weekends, and students tune their skis in the dorm hallways at night. Sugarbush and Stowe are the most popular ski destinations for UVMers, but Smuggler’s Notch and Jay Peak also draw sports classes and snowboarders looking for slopes off the beaten path. UVM is different than most state schools in that 75% of students come from out-of-state, the university boasts an amazing honors college, it’s home to a ground breaking environmental studies program and a highly rated medical school.

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St. Michael's College

Colchester, VT

Nearby in Colchester, St. Michael’s is a hidden gem among Catholic colleges in New England. St. Mike’s has a warm, pretty campus with a wide variety of majors, including business. Easy access to Burlington and all the same ski areas as UVM, make St. Mike’s a great option for students wanting a small college with reasonable acceptance rates and a nurturing academic environment.

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Dartmouth College

Hanover, NH

For skiers and snowboarders who can make the Ivy League cut, there is really only one college: Dartmouth. Whether you race cross country or are a downhill enthusiast, Dartmouth’s long tradition of elite athletics will ensure top notch competition. Dartmouth has their own “SkiWay”, but it’s not on campus and most students prefer the challenge of a bigger mountain. Since Dartmouth sits close to the New Hampshire/Vermont boarder, there are quite a few options for big mountain skiing, with Killington and Okemo less than 45 minutes away.

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New England College

Henniker, NH

New England College in Henniker is a tiny, ski lovers’ gem. For students who prefer a small college with very personal attention, NEC is a great choice. Those with learning differences will also find a warm and accepting environment with professor mentorships and all the tools necessary to succeed in college.  Students at NEC form a tight knit community and can often be seen heading off with boards tucked under their arms in groups each afternoon to hit the slopes at nearby Loon or Waterville.

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Plymouth State University

Plymouth, NH

Plymouth State offers another option for boarders and skiers in central New Hampshire. With easy access to Waterville, Loon, Cannon and even the North Conway area, there are many choices for big mountain skiing. The college sprawls up the hillside in the quaint town of Plymouth, which is filled with shops and restaurants. With a medium size student body, reasonable acceptance rate and low tuition, Plymouth State is easily accessible for many students.

 
 

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