College & Career

By Monica Bator
Whitney Young
and Melissa L. España
Northside

Come second semester of every year, many seniors slack off on their school work and neglect assignments.

“After so many years of school we try convincing ourselves that we deserve timely breaks—even if it comes at the cost of our GPAs and attendance,” says Doug Brewster, a senior at Whitney Young.

This may seem to be a drastic move, but after months of preparation for ACTs and SATs, writing college essays, interviewing for scholarships and maintaining extracurriculars, most seniors feel burnt out.

“It’s like the moment everything is sent in, we should be free to enjoy our last year however we please,” says Patrick Easley, another Whitney Young senior.

However amazing this theory may sound, a nosedive in grades will leave colleges wondering if you are as committed to your higher level education as your application made you seem. Colleges and universities search for promising students, and for this reason, most schools specifically state in their acceptance letters that they have the right to revoke an acceptance if grades drop.

Northeastern Illinois University (NEIU) takes senior grades seriously because it’s what determines class rank, a huge factor during the admissions process.

“When ACT scores don’t meet a university’s standards, schools such as NEIU take senior grades into consideration,” says Jacqueline Young, a student who works at the NEIU admissions office. “So if a student is serious about receiving a higher education, they will make sure to do well in their second semester.”

Also, giving up on senior year will make it more difficult to cut off bad habits when college rolls around. Seniors may have a hard time finding the motivation to continue keeping up with their grades, but Walter Payton senior Andrew Lionikis says it’s important to stay on top for his own benefit.

“Sure, we don’t have colleges to worry about anymore, and most parents would have backed off, but that doesn’t mean we have to,” he says. “I’m not saying we should be bent out of shape about grades and school, but do your best because it’s your last bit of time in high school. Nobody wants to fall apart at the finish line.”

Besides, letting yourself go during the final year only reaps temporary benefits. More time on Facebook or snoozing for 12 hours will only enhance your life in the short-run. Winning scholarship money or finding a job is largely based on your performance in school and can help lead to a more comfortable lifestyle in the future.

“Allow yourself a little bit of relaxation, but don’t make yourself out to be a student who ceases to try once a goal has been reached,” says Matthew Ziarno, a senior at Whitney Young.

Remember, school is still important second-semester of senior year! (Getty Images photo)

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The Mash is the Chicago Tribune's newspaper and website written for teens, by teens. The paper is distributed for free each Thursday at Chicago-area high schools and is written largely by high school students.

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