Senior Year: The Madness Within


KC Skeldon, Reporter, Editor

Fall can seem overwhelming, what with the return of classes and the challenge of balancing extracurriculars.  Senior fall, however, has an entirely special insanity.

With the various stages of high school come certain stereotypes. Are freshmen clueless? Yep. Are juniors neurotic? You betcha. (Do sophomores matter? Maybe….?) Are seniors completely relaxed? Yea—Oh, sorry, I just remembered that I still have three more supplemental essays, government reading, and shoot, I still need to schedule that last college interview.

So, in a word, no.

Everyone hears, from freshman year onward, that senior year is the time that you can finally coast. You’ve fulfilled your math, science, history, and foreign language requirements; all you have to do is pass English and whatever electives you choose to round out your stress-free year. Plus, parking in the senior lot! So awesome!

Or, you could go crazy.

Senior year, of course, offers the most opportunities to take AP classes. You may want to pack on the Advanced Placement courses, because, after all, you could earn exemption from college 101s, and—

Wait, college?

There’s that to think about, too. Keeping your course load reasonably demanding and your grades up are both still important, because fall of senior year? You’re still not out of the forest of peril and despair that is the college application process. In fact, unless you apply Early Decision or Early Action, you probably won’t be out of it until April, giving you…up to two months of senior year to fully enjoy your top-dog status!

Ah, college. You’ve got your Common App, which I’m betting you didn’t finish in August (your guidance counselor is sobbing right now). Assuming you’ve conquered your Common App essay (which is, you know, not time-consuming at all), you’ve probably also got supplementary essays for certain schools, and you know exactly what you have left to complete, because you know exactly where you’re applying as soon as you hit grade twelve. And you should really think about scheduling interviews, because you just know everyone else is going to be doing it. Wait, you didn’t visit all of your schools back in sophomore year? (Is that possibly what sophomore year is for?) Better take a few days off school to sit in on classes to make sure you’re not applying to a dump.

You better be keeping up with extracurriculars as well. Colleges get turned off by applicants who don’t follow through on activities all four years. Keep in mind, they want to see leadership, so you better have pushed your way to the head of the pack.

You’re going to need money for college. Twenty or so hours a week is a sensible amount of time to be working. Totally manageable.

Of course, all of your teacher recommendations are in, because teachers don’t have lives. You know what their favorite parts of the summer were? The moments when they experienced the pleasures of sitting down with your activity sheet and thinking about school. Teachers love thinking about school during the summer. We all know that. And they’re always assigning essays, so they must be overjoyed to finally get the opportunity to write a few! (Or thirty. No seniors should be complaining about summer assignments. You probably spent a third of the time on those that it takes your junior year teachers to get all their recs finished, and those are just the ones kids remember to request before the school year lets out.)

At least you’re done with standardized testing. Unless, you know, your math score is fifty points lower than the bottom of the average range of scores for your dream school. Yeah, you’re going to want to do a little studying.

Then there’s that National Honor Society application. You’ve got a little over two weeks to get yet another recommendation (this time, from someone who knows you outside of school. If you don’t have a sports coach to write one for you, ask your boss, because that’s the perfect way to shut him/her up in the middle of a rant about how much work time you’re missing for college visits). Two weeks is, frankly, not a Ms. Manners-approved length of time. Better start typing that essay as well. Make sure to record all of your activities, which may take you as much time to do as the activities themselves.

So, we can see that the fall of senior year is just as bad, if not worse than junior spring. It’s not all coming in late to class with Starbucks and still getting parking (I find that I have to wake up twenty minutes earlier than I did before I drove to school in order to safely get parking). Your future is still decidedly uncertain (the senior year oxymoron of choice). Your dreams may be crushed, you may get four hours of sleep a night, you may start hallucinating a purple person running around the cafeteria. But you know what?

It’s all practice for college.

Be afraid.


If anyone figures out the purpose of sophomores, please tell me.