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Staying Motivated

One poor test grade. Two late assignments. Three missed classes. For some students, the first telltale signs may begin as finals week draws near. For others, their inception may hold out until mid March. And for a lucky few, they may never start.


Also referred to as senior slump, senioritis is a feeling of academic apathy that creeps up on students during their final year. And while its symptoms can vary from student to student, its consequences should not be taken lightly.

Recognizing Symptoms

If your student experienced a senior slump during high school, you may recall the tiredness, crankiness and disengaged attitude that surfaced. Similarly, a collegiate senior slump may include:

  • Oversleeping
  • Missed classes and assignments
  • Low test scores
  • Forgetfulness and lack of concentration
  • Boredom and disinterest with academics
  • Low motivation for studying
  • High interest in having fun and socializing
  • Moodiness

What is Going On?

For many students, there may be multiple precipitating factors leading to a slump. Students may be stressed or anxious due to a challenging semester or at the prospect of not finding employment or doing well in graduate school. They also may unsettled with the possibility of losing friends and the comfortable setting of campus life they have come to enjoy.

Other individuals may be concerned about losing autonomy due to moving back home or they may feel sad at having to say good-bye to loved ones because of relocation for graduate school or a job.

Bad Input = Bad Output

A week of senioritis may have little effect on grades and/or physical and mental health. However, prolonged senioritis can be damaging. Grades can be significantly lowered. At the extreme end, graduation may even be compromised.

In addition, professors asked to write letters of recommendation or serve as resume references may be put in an awkward position if contacted by students who have been truant or performed poorly.

Tips for Avoiding or Minimizing a Slump

Supporting a senior who may be in a slump or heading for one is important. The following tips can help students ward off or minimize its effects:

  • Avoid overload by scheduling courses, work commitments and co-curricular involvement accordingly
  • Focus on success - a completed project, good test grade, scheduled job interview
  • Have a "to do" list and prioritize
  • Focus on wellness - eat healthy, exercise and find ways to de-stress.
  • Have an optimistic outlook.

BW Can Help

If a slump continues or is severe, a student should visit Counseling Services.