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by Beverly Stewart, M.Ed.

Early college acceptance can be a wonderful thing. The pressure is off for those lucky high school seniors who have received acceptance to the colleges of their choice. But, the temptation to simply coast until mortarboards are tossed into the air is almost overwhelming. Jokingly called “Senioritis,” those tumbling grades can actually jeopardize college admissions.

It is called “rescinding the offer.” Although a student has received an acceptance, most colleges reserve the right to rescind those acceptances based on bad senior-year grades! “I have seen it happen… A huge drop in grades senior year has led to colleges revoking admissions,” says Rebecca Joseph, Executive Director and Founder of getmetocollege.org.

And it’s not just students who receive early acceptance who must be vigilant. The summer before students actually enroll in college, they will need to submit a final high-school transcript to their college, whereupon a college may then make the decision to rescind the offer. In fact, the fine print on college acceptance letters likely includes a warning to students such as, “Your admission is contingent on your continued successful performance.”

Patricia Krahnke, President of Global College Search Associates explains, “Colleges want to see that the applicant is serious about his/her academics and that they will be able to continue on an increasingly challenging academic path straight through high school and into college.”

So, how can parents keep students motivated throughout the senior year? It depends on your student…

1. Help out (a little). I am not advocating that you take over scholarship applications, for example. But I am suggesting that help in filing necessary forms, providing data when needed, and maybe running to the post office to meet deadlines can often be a real kindness.

2. Or, back off (just a bit). With senior projects, scholarship essays, and dreaded finals all looming, you may be tempted to push, push, PUSH your senior harder than ever before. Some of Senioritis, however, is a natural “push-back” by teens yearning to taste freedom for the first time. In the fall, you won’t be around to helicopter-parent them. Maybe it’s time for Junior to try and stand alone.

3. (When all else fails) Dangle a carrot. Some might call this bribery — I call it smart! Rewards for a completed project work, as long as the reward is something that motivates that student.

I hope that these strategies will help your senior regain the momentum necessary to propel him through the rest of senior year. And, don’t worry parents… June is just around the corner!

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