What to avoid saying to a senior


The Catalyst / Clair Sapilewski

Students are bombarded with college letters throughout their senior year.

March and April are particularly stressful months for seniors. College admission letters flew into inboxes throughout March, ensuring a steady stream of stress all March long. In April, students have to decide which school to commit to before April 1. For parents, siblings and friends of these seniors, it can be hard to contain the excitement and anticipation that comes with hearing where people will be spending their next four years. However, this extra interest that loved ones take in college decisions can have some particularly negative impacts. 

Although the classes and academic pressure on juniors may be greater, most students find that the first semester of senior year is the most stressful in high school. Being forced to discern your life’s vocation at the age of 17 is not an easy pressure to handle. Along with this comes the need to choose a college, a stressful prospect in itself. When combined with the earnest hoping for acceptances and looming dread of rejections, the perks of being a senior sink beneath the stress that comes with the title. 

In the spring months, be extra mindful of the expectations and pressures that most seniors are dealing with. Avoid asking questions about what their top choice is, and how many rejection letters and acceptances they have received. These questions put many seniors in an awkward position, especially if they do not want to disclose their present college situation. 

Instead, consider asking how they are doing, what the process has been like and if they are happy with the schools they have applied to. These are open-ended enough for seniors to choose how much information they want to share. 

It is also important to be careful around the topic of safety schools. One person’s top choice might be another person’s backup. The term implies that a school is easy to get into, and that it is mediocre and sub-optimal.

Most students will know what school they are to attend by the first of May. Although it is exciting, hold off your curiosity for just a few more weeks. Once they settle on their schools, seniors will be more than happy to tell you more about the process and the school they ultimately chose.