Student who has been in a school the longest time

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Hello everyone,

I'm trying to find a way to say that a 'student is the one who has been in a language school the longest time; he enrolled before everyone else in this school now.' I thought of "most senior student" or "the oldest student". The problem with "the oldest student" is that it refers to 'age', and I'm not talking about 'age', but period of time studying. My question: Does "most senior student" sound natural/correct in the examples I made below?

a. Anna is our most senior student now. She enrolled four months after we opened the school.
b. John is one of the most senior students in the school.

Thank you in advance!
 
  • Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    Many of us have never attended a school where you can join at a random time and stay as long as you want to so I don't think anything simple is going to seem very natural. We also wouldn't pay the teachers to teach no one for four months and then just Anna for some time after that. We wouldn't open the school unless there were enough students to form a class.
    We are likely to think: Why has she been there such a long time? Why has she been there longer than the other students? Is she a poor learner?
     
    Thank you for your answer.

    The context is that of a 'private' language school (which exists all over the world - including in the USA) in the way I explained in the O.P.

    Why has she been there such a long time? Why has she been there longer than the other students? Is she a poor learner?
    Because she decided to continue until she completes the whole course. Some students quit because of their jobs, families or personal/financial problems or simply because they decide they don't need to learn anything else. They're happy with what they learned. It doesn't imply being a poor learner.
     

    Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    I know it's a language school, but I would expect many students to start and finish at the same times regardless of what sort of school it is.
    Why would we have a special phrase which is only useful when all the other students in the class quit? It should be an extremely rare circumstance.
    She is the sole survivor of our English language course. All the other students had to drop out.
     

    Juhasz

    Senior Member
    English - United States
    I think that "most senior student" and "longest attending student" sound about equally natural - but neither sounds especially natural, perhaps for the reason Myridon suggests. It's true that we have schools that enroll students at different times, but those situations are not nearly as common. This is just to say that there's no fixed expression for use in this example. The meaning of both phrases (longest attending, and most senior) is fairly clear. If I were trying to express this idea, I'd probably restructure the sentence and say something like: "Anna has been studying here longer than any other student."
     

    Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    "Has studied English the longest..."

    Packard has studied English the longest of all my students; unfortunately he is not too bright and can scarcely get by in the language.
     

    Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    I think that "most senior student" and "longest attending student" sound about equally natural - but neither sounds especially natural, perhaps for the reason Myridon suggests. It's true that we have schools that enroll students at different times, but those situations are not nearly as common. This is just to say that there's no fixed expression for use in this example. The meaning of both phrases (longest attending, and most senior) is fairly clear. If I were trying to express this idea, I'd probably restructure the sentence and say something like: "Anna has been studying here longer than any other student."
    I avoid using the word "senior" entirely. It seems to have two distinct meanings that cannot be differentiated by the context.

    Senior: An elderly person.

    Senior: A student in the last year of high school.


    It was a brilliant tactic for a senior and significantly cut down on his responsibilities in the house. Truly a senior moment. (So which "senior" is this?)
     
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