Last month, I received an e-mail from one of my students, who was worried because she got a B+ in AP Calculus. She had received an acceptance letter from Stanford in December, and as is the case with all colleges, the offer of admission is conditional on the student maintaining her academic performance through senior year. As I explained to my very conscientious student, a single B grade on her transcript, especially in a challenging AP class, would not threaten her admission to Stanford. Now if she had ended the semester with straight C grades, there would be cause for concern.
Unlike my anxious senior, many students think that because they have worked so hard throughout high school, they have earned the right to slack off senior year, especially in the last few months. By now, their mid-year grades have been submitted to colleges, and some students have already been accepted at their favorite school. Why not kick back and enjoy life?
Do you really want to risk everything you’ve worked so hard for these last three and a half years? Every year, colleges around the country rescind admission offers. You are admitted to a college based on the information in your application, and if there are any changes, you need to let the college know. If you have dropped a class that was listed on the transcript you submitted to colleges, your application has changed. Colleges receive your final transcript during the summer, and you don’t want to find out in July that you no longer have a place in the freshman class.
There’s another reason to keep working hard in school. It makes the transition to college level work easier. If you start procrastinating during senior year, it’s difficult to get back to good study habits when you arrive at college, where there will be lots of distractions and no parents reminding you to finish your history paper before you go out for pizza with your friends.
If you’re waiting to hear from your favorite college, you may be feeling especially anxious during this next month. Some students deal with the anxiety and uncertainty about where they will be next year by distracting themselves in unhealthy ways. This is a good time to learn how to manage stress by eating well, exercising and getting enough sleep.
While you do need to keep your grades up, making sure you have some fun throughout high school will help you avoid burnout. Just don’t go overboard quite yet. Summer is only three months away, and you will have plenty of time to play before you go off to college.