Senior Year: The End of the In-Crowd

popular kids, high school, cliques, nerds, social status, Sam is a seventeen-year-old from Montgomery, NJ. When she isn’t obsessing over the New Jersey Devils, Sam is doing charity work, reading magazines, and hanging with friends. She also wishes to make an imprint on the world in the future.


For the past three years (or if you’re like me, even longer), there have been a group of guys and girls that people seem to fixate on. They come in all the different flavors: athletic, ditzy, well-dressed, attractive, whatever. You may know these students as the popular kids, or the “in-crowd.”

Parents might ask, what does being part of an “in-crowd” mean? The “in-crowd,” as you would expect, rules your school. Their opinions appear to be the only ones that matter. They win class offices, regardless of how capable they are of maintaining them. If a nerd and a popular person both held parties on the same night, guess whose shindig would be the hit?

Yet, come senior year, these students will matter much less than you would expect. How is it possible that a seemingly unshakeable hierarchy, ranging from the in-crowd to the “losers,” ever be broken? You may feel like those who have always succeeded before will end up succeeding again during their senior year, and that it isn’t right. However, you aren’t alone. Chances are, other students feel the exact same way you do about the in-crowd. Senior year, it seems, is the perfect time to express discontent.

There are many ways that the in-crowd disappears during senior year. First, and the most lasting, is success. The first half of senior year revolves around college, from the application process, to decisions, to finally announcing where you are going to school. It is likely that while you have put a large amount of effort into your academics, tests and extracurriculars, these popular students have not. As a result, many of these students end up going to colleges with less-than-stellar reputations. A common trend I’ve noticed at my school is that, when decisions are announced, more people seem to swoon over the “nerds” who get into the top universities. This being said, the major success of others is one of the main reasons being part of the “in-crowd” appears to not matter.

Second, and more blatantly, is being assertive and active. Think of Mean Girls. Though I don’t recommend feeding Kalteen bars or cutting holes in tee shirts, it is possible to diminish the “in-crowd”’s power without acting maliciously. For example, my school holds a powderpuff football game, where junior and senior girls play flag football. After the popular girls controlled tee shirt designs, practice time and the rosters during junior year, my grade felt it necessary to put the more capable class officers in charge for our senior year. When a well-known cheerleader attempted to control the tee shirt design, the officers stepped in, reiterated that they were in charge, and simply chose who they felt had a better design. No humiliation occurred, the officers’ point got across, and the cheerleader complied without complaint.

Third, and most subtle, is simply ignoring the popular students. A general perception could be that, since you are not likely going to college with those students, you might as well adjust to life without them being a complete preoccupation or strain. Furthermore, these students, especially the girls, thrive on being noticed and receiving attention. Take away that attention, and their actions will be all for naught, and eventually stop.

So, as senior year continues, don’t get discouraged about the popular girls and boys. Know that everyone is just concerned and upset as you are. If people are willing to make a change, whether it is getting into Stanford or standing up for the little guy, those seemingly untouchable kids in “in-crowd” will be nothing more than just average people.


Photo courtesy of prc1333 from Flickr

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One Response to “Senior Year: The End of the In-Crowd”

  1. Suzette Valle
    November 10, 2011 at 11:24 am #

    Excellent post! This is the same situation at my child’s high school and it’s clear across the country. It’s sad how the administration at schools don’t see how these kids manipulate things, especially ASB. You are right to say their capability is beside the point – it’s based on popularity, and this has it’s consequences as well. These same’ leaders’ are the drinkers, partiers who are help up as role models for the rest of the school. Ugh!

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