How Should Senior Year in High School Be Spent?

How Should Senior Year in High School Be Spent?

Would senior year in high school — or, at least, second semester of senior year — be better spent doing something different than just going to classes? If so, how do you think it should, or could, be spent instead?

In “How to Cure the New Senioritis? Make Yourself Your Senior Project,” Ned Johnson writes:

As most college-bound high school seniors learn where they’ve gotten in and decide where they’re going, many feel that the pressure is off. Whether they are celebrating acceptances to their dream schools or coping with rejections, nearly all realize at this point that the die has been cast: The push for high school grades that used to drive everything suddenly matters much less.

“Senioritis” used to have positive connotations for students. It meant coasting through their last semester in high school in anticipation of college entry in the fall. Today that mood has shifted. Many students — and their parents — have been driven to believe that high school is merely a four-year audition for the right college. A result? Eighteen-year-olds who feel their lives are not really driven by them.

Rather than being a time of freedom, the new senioritis is characterized by a sense of purposelessness.

Without an external motivator (reward of college admission or threat of college denial), far too many students have little idea of what to do or why.

…I see the end of senior year as an opportunity for kids to figure out their inner motivation, post college acceptance.

For kids who have been grinding for too long, the second semester can be downtime to recharge. But I also encourage students to use this time with intention, as it will help them enormously to be in touch with what matters to them. They can make themselves their senior project. Here are some suggestions.

Students, read the entire article, then tell us:

— Do you agree with this writer that high school can seem like “merely a four-year audition for the right college”?

— How should schools rethink senior year — or, at least, the second semester of senior year? Why? How do you think you would most like to spend that time?

—Should the end of senior year be, as this author says, “an opportunity for kids to figure out their inner motivation” via one of the paths he suggests? If so, which one appeals most to you?

— What is senior year at your high school like? Do students who are about to graduate have different roles, privileges or responsiblities than those in other grades? What could your school do to make that time more meaningful or interesting?

Students 13 and older are invited to comment. All comments are moderated by the Learning Network staff, but please keep in mind that once your comment is accepted, it will be made public.