What Actually Goes On Behind The World Of Senior Release


A brief look into what senior release appears as on a powerschool schedule.

Kiran Matthews, Entertainment Editor

Senior release is one of the high school mysteries that you hear upperclassmen mention throughout the year, yet most Charlottesville High School students don’t really know what is going on behind the scenes. First- and second-year students see senior students coming in late and often leaving after 5th-period classes to head out for the day. The common belief is that these students are simply skipping, yet the senior release lanyard on their necks gives the honest answer to the phenomenon. 


Senior release is just one thing that isn’t readily mentioned in mid-year presentations or listed as a class option altogether. Most students take the regular 7 classes during their senior year in high school, as credits need to be earned and classes fill student time productively. Senior release acts as an optional alternative to these regular classes and an opportunity for senior students to come in later during morning hours, or leave a little earlier at the end of the school day. The release period is allocated for singleton and block period schedules. It fits into your schedule just as a typical academic class would. Students are granted the anonymous release with a signed slip from a parental figure and a signature from Dr. I. School counselor David Wilkerson adds, “With admin approval, seniors are permitted to depart school before the end of the school day and have fewer than 7 classes. Released seniors must leave the school.” 


Many of you may be asking, well, wow, that sounds great; who wouldn’t want to miss school? But the answer is a little more complicated than that. Senior release takes the place of a typical class period, so there are plenty of pros and cons that come along with the privilege. In terms of an academic focus, senior release does show up on one’s transcript, which colleges and workforce representatives will see during the application process. While it is not looked down on in an administrative way, some colleges would like to see students taking more classes during their fourth year rather than missing valuable in-school material. Many students are given a chance to explain their choice in application notes, as many students use the time for other interests they pursue outside of school. 

Mr. Wilkerson also adds, “Many seniors leave school early in order to go to a job. In our experience, the most successful senior release applicants have a specific plan for how they will spend their time outside of school, all the while focusing extra energy on the classes in which they are enrolled”. Senior release does, in fact, allocate more time to do assignments for other classes. Many seniors use the opportunity to go to work during regular school hours or, in some instances, take care of family responsibilities if needed. Senior Justine Brown comments on her own senior release experience, saying, “I love it! I often workout or go for runs on the mornings I get to go in late. It was also great in the fall for sleeping in and catching up on work”.


As the time for scheduling decisions for the following academic year approaches, many of you may be interested in a little extra time for yourself. If you’re one of those people, reaching out to your guidance counselor with questions is a great idea. It’s crucial to have a one-on-one conversation with them to make sure senior release is a good decision for you, and to make sure you meet all the requirements for release time. Seniors must be in good standing and also have completed all their health and P.E. credits before even thinking of taking up the opportunity. All said and done, senior release remains a fantastic option for those who have other responsibilities during the day and need that extra time to get things done and prepare themselves for future years of their academic careers. 


With scheduled meetings with counselors coming up in the next few weeks here at C.H.S., now is a great time to consider your options and talk to your parents and counselor about future possibilities with release privileges. Go Black Knights!