At PracticalAdultInsights, we're committed to delivering accurate, trustworthy information. Our expert-authored content is rigorously fact-checked and sourced from credible authorities. Discover how we uphold the highest standards in providing you with reliable knowledge.

Learn more...

What is Senioritis?

Michael Pollick
Michael Pollick
Michael Pollick
Michael Pollick

A strange thing often happens during the senior year of a high school or college student. The excitement of starting a new career or higher educational path can overwhelm the routine realities of school life, making even the most exciting graduation rituals seem less and less appealing. This general feeling of apathy or malaise is informally known to both students and faculty as senioritis. Senioritis can strike anytime during a student's senior year, but generally it appears during the final months of the second semester. By that time, many seniors have already been accepted to colleges or have solid prospects for a entry-level career position. All that stands between a graduating senior and a new chapter in life is paperwork and ritual.

Senioritis is not a serious medical condition, but there are elements of senioritis which resemble depression and social withdrawal. Senioritis sufferers often become apathetic towards school-related activities, such as sports, extracurricular clubs, and performance-oriented classes. Faculty members may try to counteract senioritis by assigning major projects towards the end of the semester or producing a class play or talent show. The results, however, can be variable. Students with severe senioritis may simply be marking time until graduation, which doesn't exactly bode well for instructors.

Not all seniors attend classes regularly.
Not all seniors attend classes regularly.

Another effect of senioritis is a more casual attitude towards class attendance. It is not unusual for graduating seniors to enroll in so-called "Mickey Mouse" courses, electives with minimal requirements and little effect on a student's overall grade point average. Others with senioritis may decide that a school's truancy policy no longer applies to a student with only weeks to go before graduation. As long as a senior has completed the required courses to obtain a diploma, failing a few elective courses due to excessive absenteeism shouldn't be a major concern. Some colleges, however, have exercised the right to rescind admission offers to students who fail to demonstrate educational discipline during their final semester as seniors.

Students in advanced placement courses who are overwhelmed may have feelings of senioritis.
Students in advanced placement courses who are overwhelmed may have feelings of senioritis.

Not every senior experiences senioritis in its most blatant form, but many do feel bittersweet towards their final days as students. For some, the thought of not seeing their friends on a regular basis causes feelings of depression or nostalgia. Others see the final days of their senior years as an opportunity to settle accounts before they leave their hometowns for distant campuses or careers. Senioritis can trigger some unexpected emotions, as students prepare to close one chapter in their lives and open a new one without the familiar environs of a school building to guide them.

Michael Pollick
Michael Pollick

A regular PracticalAdultInsights contributor, Michael enjoys doing research in order to satisfy his wide-ranging curiosity about a variety of arcane topics. Before becoming a professional writer, Michael worked as an English tutor, poet, voice-over artist, and DJ.

Learn more...
Michael Pollick
Michael Pollick

A regular PracticalAdultInsights contributor, Michael enjoys doing research in order to satisfy his wide-ranging curiosity about a variety of arcane topics. Before becoming a professional writer, Michael worked as an English tutor, poet, voice-over artist, and DJ.

Learn more...

Discussion Comments


I had terrible senioritis, but managed to keep my grades up, fortunately. It was made much worse by the fact we had a gorgeous spring that year, with day after day of beautiful weather. Made it twice as bad.

I really do sympathize with those who suffer from senioritis, but you've got to stay on track, anyway. It's tough, but I promise you can make it until graduation!


i am a senior and i have very bad senioritis... and breath in morning


I really don't feel like I had much of senioritis in high school. I was more than ready to get out of high school and, well, do anything but go to high school! It isn't that I don't love learning, I actually love to learn, I just didn't do well socially at my high school. I mean it was nothing tragic, I did not get picked on constantly, I just had a select few friend's, and that was it. I was really shy, and didn't do any extra-curricular activities, so I am sure that was part of where my social issue stemmed.

I think if you are very socially involved in school or at least socially involved with your peers, or are exceptional student or athlete or whatever, I can see having senioritis. When you feel like just an average, run-of-the-mill, nothing outstanding kind of person, one may not experience much senioritis. At least I didn't, and I felt like I was just an average person, kind of just there in high school, but not really socially there. I love academic's, but I am not the smartest person, so I didn't ever feel like the sky was my limit and I had so many options to choose from.

Of course I am more confident than I used to be, and so I do feel better about myself and what I have done and will do, but I still haven't done anything worth mentioning, besides trying to be a good Christian, and just overall kind person.


I think one of the reason I may not have graduated college was the senoritis crept up on me early. I did get an associates degree, but after that, the classes got more serious and more difficult, and all my worries seemed to avalanche on top of me until I just felt too overwhelmed and ended up dropping out of college. I am of course really disappointed in me and my decision now, but back then it was a big relief to just be able to breath and to just live my life without so many worries.

I guess if you have a good idea about what you want to be, you may not have so many worries, but I had a lot of things that I liked the idea of, but not anything that I could see myself doing or anything that really had me excited and/or passionate.

Since it has been like six years now since I dropped out of school, I am ready to go back, but I am still not positive what I want to do career wise. I think most people are unsure but as long as I pick something that interests me and makes me happy, I am sure I will be fine. Most of all my worries seem to come from thinking about starting a whole new life after college. So in my case I feel like I got senioritis my sophomore year and the beginning of my junior year of college.


@JessicaLynn - That's a pretty clever way of beating senioritis! You pretty much skipped your whole senior year.

Judging from my experiences in high school and college, senioritis pretty much only hits high school students. Most of the time when you're a senior in college, you have major projects due right at the end. And usually if you don't do the project, you'll fail the class and not graduate.

I don't know anyone that got senioritis in college!


I actually never experienced the dreaded "senioritis." When I was in high school, I was able to go to the local community college as a senior.

My county had this program where any student with a "B" average could attend community college as a senior for both high school and college credit. All you had to do was take a certain college course to do your senior English requirement!

I had a great experience, and I got a whole year of college credit out of it. So obviously I wanted to work hard up until the end of the semester to make sure I passed my classes and got the credits I had paid for!


My senioritis came upon me when I received scholarships and was granted admission into college during my last couple of months of my senior year.

For me and my friends our senioritis meant not skipping class but not depression either, I think after all of our hard work, our senioritis meant becoming more social less academic. So we became more slack, but I must say we did not get too wild and crazy in the realm of slackness.

So although it wasn't a complete change, it was a change strong enough that my friends and I could tell a difference. I think my senioritis was a good thing as it helped spend more time with the people I would not see regularly for years, if ever.

And as it turns out I am still friends with a core group of friends from my high school, which my husband thinks is crazy. He can't believe we still make time for each other living in different states especially considering it has been ten years since high school now.


I think every senior gets some form of senioritis their second semester. I live in a state that usually has a lot of snow days during the course of the school year.

As seniors, you don't have to make those days up at the end of the year. The year I graduated from high school, we had more snow days than they ever had before. As seniors we absolutely loved this!

Even though it is hard to concentrate, it is important to keep your grades up. If you are counting on any kind of college scholarship, you will need to have good grades throughout all of high school.

Just getting good grades your first three years and then really goofing off your last year won't cut it if you are planning on some good financial help.


By the time I was a senior, I had almost all of my courses that I needed to graduate done. I only a had a few easy classes in the morning, and then was able to work in the afternoon.

I don't think I had too much high school senioritis because I wasn't there very much. A lot of my friends were on the year book staff and they spent a lot of time goofing off because they were anxious to get out of there.

The state I live in has made some changes in the last few years requiring more credits to graduate from high school. This probably doesn't cut down on feeling like you have senioritis, but it does make you work harder to get all your requirements done.


@robbie21 - I'm glad things turned out well for your friend! I think there would be less senioritis if more students had "real" jobs (pretty much anything but food service) and experience in the real world.

Smart teachers try to overcome senioritis with creative assignments, not just big ones. I took a lot of AP classes in high school, so after the exam, we had a few more weeks of school and felt like we were "done."

My English teacher handled it the best. She assigned us to make movies of the books we'd been studying. It kept us busy and had us learning new skills and thinking about the books in a new way.


You don't even necessarily have to fail any classes to have your admission rescinded. People think that's just a myth, but it's not.

A friend of mine had worked very hard her first three years of high school, but only for what it would get her. She never had any intrinsic motivation or cared about learning anything. It was all about prizes for her.

After her college applications were filled out, she thought her work was done, especially once she was accepted to a very good school. She calculated what she thought was the absolute minimum work needed to keep her admission from being rescinded and got, I think two C's and two D's. Guess what? She miscalculated!

I think it was in June that she found out her admission had been revoked. She had already turned down the other schools that had accepted her, of course. Her parents handled it really well; they made her get a full-time job and go to evening community college classes. That made her realize there was a real world out there that didn't care about prizes! She even got some career ideas from her job and is in a four-year school now.

Post your comments
Forgot password?
    • Not all seniors attend classes regularly.
      By: Christian Schwier
      Not all seniors attend classes regularly.
    • Students in advanced placement courses who are overwhelmed may have feelings of senioritis.
      By: Creativa
      Students in advanced placement courses who are overwhelmed may have feelings of senioritis.
    • Boredom is often felt by students who have senioritis.
      By: ChenPG
      Boredom is often felt by students who have senioritis.
    • Teens dealing with senioritis have a general sense of apathy about their studies.
      By: Gina Sanders
      Teens dealing with senioritis have a general sense of apathy about their studies.