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THE TROUBLE WITH SENIORITIS

For many seniors, this is a long-awaited moment. With college applications finished and midyear grades already sent, plenty of students in their final semester of high school consider this a time to relax and take a break after 3 1/2 years of hard work. But it's a break that can backfire for the college-bound.

Students have witnessed first-hand seniors' laid-back attitudes about schoolwork. For many students, senioritis seems simply to be a part of senior year. Jessica Aliotta, a senior at Nardin Academy, feels that senioritis "is my reward for working hard the past three years." Many students feel the same way.

Looking back, Michael Koziol, a graduate of Starpoint now attending Niagara County Community College, says that senioritis is "like taking a long summer break before college, it's tough to get back into studying."

Caroline Lowes, a graduate of Williamsville South now attending Erie Community College, agrees. "Making the transition from high school to college can be difficult if you have senioritis, it's hard to get back in the swing of things," she said.

According to the College Board Web site, "not only does senioritis jeopardize your chances for success later on in college, it can also affect your grades ... and college admission officers pay close attention to your performance senior year."

Seniors whose grades collapse in their final semester run a risk of losing out on going to college. "It is not at all rare for a college to withdraw an offer of admissions when grades drop significantly over the course of the senior year," Mary Lee Hoganson, a college counselor for Homewood-Flossmor Community High School, Flossmor, Ill., told the College Board.

Not everyone believes that senioritis is as widespread as it is portrayed.

John Kryder, an English teacher at Williamsville East, feels that senioritis could "be a misleading term." While the unofficial definition of senioritis is not completing assignments and being lazy, "in actuality, much is still being done;" he said. Students haven't stopped going to classes, part-time jobs, sports or clubs, Kryder pointed out. He suggested that "if we (culture/society) didn't talk about (senioritis) so much, maybe we wouldn't see it so much, maybe it only exists in our minds ... is it exaggerated? Yea."

Kryder said that senioritis "disses kids; kids shouldn't be dissed!" He also suggested that kids may be asked to do too much, so when seniors start to do a little less they are accused of senioritis. High school sophomores and juniors also claim to have senioritis; perhaps it is merely "spring-itis," he said.

Not all students become less motivated during senior year. Amy Chambers, who is home-schooled with classes at Potter Road and Hilbert, said that she doesn't have senioritis, "I've got eight years of college still, so I'm not really done with school."

It can be difficult to stay motivated during that last semester. The College Board advises to "stay active and involved" in school and to "try out college" courses.

The next time seniors feel the urge to not do homework or study for a test, they may want to consider that "nearly one-third of students entering college require remedial help," according to "Senioritis can cheat students' futures" from the Cincinnati Enquirer.

Rachael Silverstein is a senior at Williamsville East.