Surviving Senior Year

Kingsway Graduation 2019

Kingsway Graduation 2019

As the sun rises on an early September morning, kids, filled with nervous anticipation, are up at the break of dawn preparing for a new school year. Freshmen try to fathom what the world of high school will bring, Sophomores are relieved to no longer be at the bottom of the totem pole, Juniors can’t get their minds off the exciting prospect of soon being able to drive, and Seniors are eagerly eyeing the final stand of their adolescence. Yet, for seniors, the year encompasses so much more than just school work. 

How can I balance school, a job, sports, and social life? What path after high school should I take? What can I do to ensure a year filled with fun even with the stress of the future constantly on my mind? These are just some of the questions that high school seniors must answer, and honestly, it’s a lot. 

The transition into adulthood is not an easy one, and it can be difficult for students to not crumble under the pressure. High school seniors, in a time generally perceived as enjoyable and easygoing, undergo a ton of stressors from balancing work, school, and a social life, to handling finances as they become more imperative, to simply figuring out their next steps after high school and grabbing a foothold in the adult world.

During senior year, students sometimes struggle to stay attentive and on track, contracting “senioritis”. With sights set on the future and life after high school, it can be difficult to remain focused, however, it is possible.

There are numerous strategies that can be used to help seniors with avoiding senioritis or curing it all together. John Cappolina, a guidance counselor at Kingsway, recommends keeping a daily or weekly calendar and consistently making long-term and short-term goals. Simply staying organized and knowing what they have to complete each day and week prevents them from missing due dates and since missing one assignment often creates a snowball effect leading to falling further and further behind, it truly is crucial to stay on top of things. Just by writing down goals and to-do lists, figuring out priorities and values becomes so much easier.

As a member of the field hockey and girls track team and vice president of student council, current Kingsway senior Erin Gray has her own viewpoints on what should be prioritized during this hectic year. She agrees with Cappolina in doing whatever possible to organize long-term goals and plan for the future. However, she emphasized the importance of enjoying the time seniors have left as a high school student, saying “you can’t stress out about the future too much because you have to live in the present”. She also recommends determining priorities as early as possible, staying focused, and knowing one’s limits because it can be “easy to put too much on your plate”. 

In attempting to know their limits, seniors will pick less challenging classes in their senior year to more easily balance school, extracurriculars, and possibly a job. However, Cappolina believes that students should still, “take classes that challenge you”, and “set the bar and expectations higher,” during senior year. While this may make one’s senior year more stressful, it will prepare them for college, and help them continue to learn. Another option would be to apply for a study hall to catch up on your core classes. 


alancing all the struggles of senior year with sports and a job can be overwhelming for students. If everything begins to be too much, current senior Gray suggests that you, “figure out what your priorities are,” and “think of ways to change your activities or even stop one if needed.” In some cases, it is necessary to quit an extracurricular or job in order to focus more on school. Although playing sports and working a job would look good on a college resume, students should not salvage good grades for it.

One freshman student asked, “How do you start searching for colleges to go to?” This is definitely a commonly asked question among students. Freshmen must talk to a guidance counselor, and sign up for Naviance as soon as possible. After this, they should find what they do and don’t want in a college, find what colleges interest them, and then narrow down the options.


With all that goes on during a senior year, each student prioritizes something different, but for most students, one constant in the final year of high school is the college search. Gray spoke on this, saying her piece of advice for incoming seniors is to “Start thinking about the college process early on, but don’t stress about it too much”. The majority of seniors, Gray included, emphasize simply living in the present, and even though there’s a lot going on, taking the time to appreciate the year and the things that won’t be around after graduation.

Senior year brings up a lot of questions and it’s difficult to provide all the answers. At the end of the day, every person will have their own advice on how to handle this last year of adolescence, and everyone’s unique in what they want to accomplish, both in the present and the future. The true key to success is to figure out values and priorities and take it from there. A student’s four years of high school are essential for finding their identity, and once that is learned, a world of possibilities is opened up. The high school experience is different for everybody, but one thing everyone has in common is experiencing the stress of senior year. Frankly, it doesn’t have to be this way, and as long as the right approach is taken to tackle one of the most exciting years in a student’s life, it won’t be.

Where Kingsway students apply

Letters Of Recommendation: From A Teacher’s POV