Beating Senioritis

(courtesy Thinkstock)

It doesn’t seem like it now, but spring is right around the corner. And once college applications are in, it might not feel like a big deal to let your academic performance slip. After all, the hard part’s over, right?

Think again. “Most, if not all, colleges and universities require submission of and consider final grades,” says Donna Mattiello, director of academics at Nutmeg Conservatory for the Arts in Torrington, CT. Here are three reasons to continue to shine during your final semester of high school, even when you’re feeling the effects of senioritis.

Focus Forward (But Not Too Far Forward)

Dancers are known for their strong work ethic and desire to succeed. But after the mental, emotional and financial strain of SATs, college applications, essay writing and auditions, try reinvigorating your focus rather than letting yourself drift into daydreams of freshman year. “Do you have an end-of-year performance to look forward to?” asks Mary Lisa Burns, dean of dance at New World School of the Arts College in Miami, FL. If not, consider organizing one yourself, as a celebration of your friendships and growth throughout high school.

“Graduating high school seniors deserve to enjoy the time they have left in school,” Mattiello says. “But make sure to always get your schoolwork done before socializing.” These skills, she adds, will carry over to college and benefit you during your undergraduate career.

Academics Are Always Important

High school students planning to study dance in college need to stay focused on two levels: artistic and academic. “It’s tempting to think of academics as running in the background,” Mattiello says. “But your career could be on the line if the school rescinds its offer due to bad grades.” She suggests thinking about academic success as an important element of a performance career.

If you take advanced placement classes, or other classes that can be transferred for college credit, declining grades can jeopardize your ability to use the credits as a head start on your undergrad requirements. “At the New World School of the Arts High School, classes can count for both high school and college,” Burns says. “So it’s vital to keep those grades up!”

First Impressions Matter

If the college you’re planning to attend notices a significant decline in your final-semester grades, there are various ways it can respond. “The school might send a letter

requesting the student to provide an explanation, and the letter could become part of the student’s permanent academic record,” Mattiello says. “Admissions might also notify appropriate faculty so that the student is carefully watched as an incoming freshman. And, it is possible that admission might be revoked.” Your first few weeks of college should be fun and exploratory, not full of worry that the dance department faculty already knows your name from your records.

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