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Keeping Seniors Motivated during Second Semester

Written by Bethany Todd, in collaboration with Laura Barr

How do parents and teachers keep seniors motivated after they’ve submitted their college applications?

Once college applications are submitted and graduation is in-sight, seniors tend to lose motivation. Teachers have reported that during second semester students tend to “drift-off” or not act like their usual selves. This change in behavior comes because some students believe that all they have to do is pass, and therefore, don’t put forth the same amount of effort as the first semester. Parents and students should understand that students need to do more than just pass. In fact, colleges can actually revoke their offers! It is important that seniors continue to be encouraged to continue to strive for excellence.

At this point in the year, what matters to seniors is graduating, moving on, and capturing their high school memories before they are gone. Schools and teachers should use the second semester to boost school morale, build student leadership, make school improvements and engage in mentoring. If teachers, parents and administrators understand the natural inclination to “drift-off”, then they can plan for this time of the year to be different. Let’s engage our seniors and make the second semester something to look forward to!

What teachers suggest:

  • Making learning relevant and interesting. Appeal to their curiosity.
  • Teachers and parents should continue to also set high expectations.
  • AP exams and motivation to not pay for college courses keeps kids motivated.

Ideas for administration and teachers

  • Utilize class time for seniors to “teach” class
  • Instill leadership-based classes
  • Conduct project-based learning
  • Set-up meaningful projects that allow reflection and opportunities to leave a  legacy
  • Provide choices and incentives such as leaving school early
  • Set-up mentoring in which seniors mentor local freshmen or even elementary and middle school-aged children
  • Take field trips!
  • Wonder, discuss, and hold forums on topics that are important to seniors, utilize the guidance team.





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