March 2007 Newsletter
Senioritis, a common ailment amongst high school seniors that affects their performance typically in their second semester and once they have been accepted at the college of their choice. The disease may result in symptoms that affect grades, withdrawal from extracurricular activities, and unacceptable social behavior. It can also manifest itself in a student focusing on social activities and ignoring all other priorities.
It is April 5th and you have received a letter from the college of your dreams. The envelope for an acceptance is typically thick, but you are not assuming that since this one is relatively thin that it is a rejection. Your heart rate is accelerating, and as you tear open up the envelope, you see the first word “Congratulations” and you’re ecstatic! The letter reads:
Congratulations! The Admissions Committee takes particular pleasure in informing you that you have been admitted to the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.
Serious thought precedes our decision to admit a candidate. During the past several weeks, we have reviewed your application and the supporting materials your counselor and teachers have sent us on your behalf. We selected you because of your excellent record and your promise for future success. You are well qualified for admission to Northwestern and will make a significant contribution to the life of the University.
We are very proud of the Northwestern community and happy that we can now invite you to become a part of it. It is a community that nurtures scholarship, leadership, and mutual respect. Our students thrive during their four years here and go on to become leaders in the professions, the arts, and community and national affairs. We invite you to join us in September and become part of this important enterprise.
Once again, please accept our sincere personal congratulations on your acceptance to Northwestern University. If we may be of any help to you during the next few months, please feel free to contact our office.
After almost four years of hard work and dedication, this is a thrilling letter to receive. You should be proud of your academic and extracurricular accomplishments, and you should feel satisfied that those accomplishments have been recognized by the college of your dreams. You put the letter down, and all of a sudden you begin to feel guilty and apprehensive. You know that your grades have dropped significantly this past semester, and you have heard that this could have a detrimental affect on your college admissions. In fact, your guidance counselor made a point of telling you that acceptance letters always include a statement that your senior year grades must be consistent with the work you have done previously. However, this particular letter does not make this statement.
What your guidance counselor told you is absolutely correct! In the very last paragraph of acceptance letters most colleges have a sentence such as, this acceptance is contingent upon you successfully completing your senior year courses. Whether or not this statement is included in your letter, your admission is still contingent upon you completing your senior year courses at the same level that you have previously demonstrated. This means is that if you are an A student and you have been accepted at the college to which you applied, your senior year grades need to be consistent with the grades that appeared on your transcript when you were admitted. Dropping from straight A’s to B’s will most likely still be okay, but C’s, or worse D’s, may cause a college to mail you another letter in June asking you to explain your grades. In some instances, the follow-up letter will inform you that based on your final transcript the college has rescinded their offer of admission. This is not a good place to be, especially since it is past May 1st, the deadline to reply to another college to which you’ve been accepted.
While the dean of admissions at most colleges and universities tries to project the number of students who will accept their offer of admission, this is not an exact science and there are times when a college finds itself in a position that they have accepted too many applicants. As a result the college may not have the dorm or classroom space to accommodate the number of students who by May 1st submitted their deposits. In an effort to be fair to the incoming class, and to the college itself, the admissions committee then reevaluates the accepted pool by reviewing final transcripts.
You cannot afford to suffer from senioritis. Throughout your school career you have worked diligently in all aspects of your life. You have also spent time and energy working at the college admissions process. Senior year is a time for you to build on your strengths, talents and experiences both academically and through extracurricular activities. Your senior year is a time for you to prepare for all of the challenges that lay ahead in college and in your future endeavors. So, make the most of your senior year, have fun, but stay focused, and your dreams will become a reality.