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Senior Year Warnings

“When reward is at its pinnacle, risk is near at hand.”  

– John Bogle, legendary investor and founder of the Vanguard Group 

Although written for investors, John Bogle’s sage advice is apropos for the next stage of The College Admissions Process during the senior year. Being exhausted from drafting college essays in order to submit college applications, a desire to “move on and just be done with the whole application thing” can create motivation to overlook the final details of completing their entire application and managing applications, like sending official SAT and ACT scores or checking online applicant portals from every college where a student applied.

Also, as Senioritis, or an utter-exhaustion about high school despite having to still complete work for high school classes, sets in (or becomes more acute), mustering the motivation to maintain grades and go to school is a daily challenge.

So, just as Mr. Bogle says, the “risk” of a misstep, like a missed assignment or a botched test, this close to “reward” or the coveted acceptance letter is great, especially given applicant pools continue increasing year over year in record-breaking numbers. In my conversations with admissions officers at both public and private, selective and not-as-selective for admissions colleges all over the United States, they’ve made abundantly clear their evaluators are more strictly scrutinizing seniors’ academics and activities throughout their senior year.

Furthermore, the record-breaking numbers of applicants also mean that wait-lists are growing, thus there’s a ready pool of seniors who are “waiting in the wings” to take an admitted student’s place, should any misstep occur. Thus, I reiterate again the need to be mindful as the propensity for seniors to be apathetic in the spring of senior year is great, creating the potential for a strategic error, from which the consequences are even more destructive.