What is a Rising Senior?

teen girl standing in front of university entryway

Rising Senior Definition

A rising senior is a high school student who has completed their junior year and is entering the summer leading up to their senior year. You can think of it as being an incoming senior, or simply a "senior" given they've finished their junior year. 

All of this leads to additional questions and potential points of confusion. As already mentioned above, I think most have traditionally referred to these students as either "incoming seniors" or "just seniors." But now what do we call sophomores heading into junior year? Is everyone given the "rising" tag during the summer?

Not to mention that in the days of honors, advance placement, gifted and talented, and more, "rising" can easily be thought of to only apply to a select group of high-performing seniors—as in "accelerating" etc.

Why Should People Care?

Every industry is prone to terminology or "jargon" for a lack of a better term—words and phrases that might not be entirely understood, or perhaps even misunderstood entirely. I mean, we have gone to great lengths to describe what afk means in Roblox, explain Minecraft lingo, and more. 

Schools and educational institutions, which ironically are the places to help us learn and understand, are no different!

So, the plain reason is that it's nice to know what someone is referring to when they're speaking. But besides being able to simply converse and not be confused, the term seems to be popping up more and more.

For example, you might see summer programs advertised as being designed for "rising seniors." Or maybe even colleges and universities using the term on their websites to describe particular events and activities. 

Looking at the below trend, you can see the obvious growth of people searching for the meaning and definition, and while it might not be a term everyone is using everywhere, it's certainly raising questions:

screenshot showing popularity of the term rising senior

Here are some examples of where the term is currently being used:

So, all things considered, if you or your child have recently heard the term flying around, and perhaps felt overwhelmed by both not knowing what the term meant and the potential thought that your teen hadn't been branded a "rising" senior, we hope this helps!

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Ryan has been in EdTech and with iD Tech for 13 years—building experience, expertise, and knowledge in all things coding, game development, college prep, STEM, and more. He earned his MBA from Santa Clara University after obtaining his Bachelor’s degree from Arizona State. Connect on LinkedIn

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