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Senioritis, Its Symptoms, and How to Treat It in Your Greek Chapter

It’s more terrifying than Sarah H.’s playground Cooties.

It’s more deadly than the mythical Dragon Pox of Harry Potter lore.

It’s more debilitating to your chapter than the electric flu is to Detective Pikachu.

We’re talking about the dreaded, very bad, no good malady known on campuses across the country as Senioritis.

Don’t be complacent. You may think you’re safe, but you’d be surprised to learn that several of your fellow chapter members are infected right this very moment.

Halloween may be over, but the horror of Senioritis has real consequences for your chapter.

Symptoms for juniors and seniors include academic laziness, increased lounging and partying, and slacking in chapter duties. Brothers and sisters with Senioritis tend to say things like, “I’ll get to that term paper next week,” and, “Whaddaya mean? Those underwear on the floor are clean!”

Drooling is common among the infected.

Chapters may find that younger members have that go-get-em attitude, and what they lack in experience they make up for in gusto. Yet the older, more experienced members keep getting lazier and lazier.

If only there were a way to get everyone on the same page. Then upperclassmen could guide the younger members as chapter leaders and match their energy. The chapter would thrive like never before.

Don’t call the doctor just yet. OmegaFi happens to specialize in treating your chapter management doldrums.

Let’s talk Senioritis, Its Symptoms, and How to Treat It in Your Greek Chapter.

Wearing Pajamas to Class: Academic Chapter Management Struggles

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Study hours can only do so much. Chapter scholarships can’t totally contain the Senioritis epidemic.

If you don’t manage your upperclassmen members toward academic success, they’ll find a way to ride that minimum GPA line. And that’s exactly the problem.

You can’t exactly yell at them if they’re meeting the chapter minimum. But it certainly doesn’t bode well. They’re playing a dangerous game with their grades that can affect their futures and that of the chapter.

After all, they’re only passing until they’re failing. Bad study habits lead to more bad study habits. This sets a terrible example for younger members. In other words, it’s contagious.

The academic chair must strive to keep members’ GPA up. Here are some ideas they can implement to get your seniors going:

  • Offer incentives for members who keep their GPAs above the minimum, like chapter house room preferences, reserved parking spaces, and dining hall seating choices.
  • Set up peer-to-peer tutoring in your chapter, with upperclassmen tutoring younger members.
  • Throw special social events when the chapter reaches overall GPA milestones.
  • Start a friendly GPA contest with other chapters on campus.
  • Engage seniors and juniors in brainstorming chapter academic success initiatives.
  • Encourage use of pledge class academic chairs to combat negative influences on grades.
  • Avoid social events on school nights.

Academic chairs can do a lot to help stave off Senioritis, but they can’t do it alone. The best academic initiatives in chapters bring members together and make studying a team sport. When everyone works together, and there’s more accountability, every member shares a part of your classroom success.

Members’ Academic Forgiveness Is Unforgiving to Your Chapter Budget

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“It’s all good, I’ll just retake the class,” a senior member tells you.

Here’s the problem. This member told you the same thing last semester, and the semester before.

At this point you’re not really sure how long they’ve been in school. When you ask their age, they get shifty, offer a vague “back in my day . . .” and slip off to an early bird buffet. Some of your alumni seem younger by comparison. You’d use the term “career student,” but honestly, you never actually see them go to class.

The problem is this: When members drop or retake classes after the add/drop date, they may get their grades forgiven. But this will exponentially increase how much they’re paying for tuition, textbooks and other university fees.

If members become overburdened with punitive costs, getting them to pay membership dues may be a tall order for your chapter treasurer to manage.

Members prone to dropping classes should consider taking fewer credit hours per semester, if possible, or to mix easy and core classes.

The academic chair can coordinate with the treasurer to offer a seminar on the cost of seeking grade forgiveness or withdrawing from classes after the drop deadline. Help members understand the undue strain this can have on their tuition bills, and how it’s ill-advised for members of Greek letter organizations to take on unnecessary debt.

Members should budget for school with the same careful planning and attention to detail as their treasurers manage chapter finances.

Pull Upperclassmen Up by Their Converse Laces

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It may seem backward, but giving upperclassmen members more chapter responsibilities can actually help eradicate Senioritis.

Okay, this isn’t always true.

If you take a lethargic senior steeped in core or capstone classes and elect them president, your chapter may very well implode. But if you place upperclassmen members into specific, manageable roles with goals they can feel good achieving, it can motivate them in the chapter and the classroom.

They can, for instance, serve on committees, run for officer positions with fewer responsibilities, and volunteer at chapter events. Keep your upperclassmen members mentally active, and the habits they build to achieve chapter goals will carry over to their coursework.

When possible, encourage upperclassmen to work on chapter initiatives and goals together. Like all aspects of Greek life, building a team culture of success provides a crucial cornerstone for your chapter.

The symptoms of Senioritis can compound for your upperclassmen, leading to lousy grades, unpaid dues and poor chapter participation. Take Senioritis seriously, catch it early enough, and you can manage a healthy chapter for all your members.

How do you encourage consistent effort among your members in academics and chapter life? What chapter management tips would you add to our list? Get out your prescription pads and let us know in the comments below!

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