For students who have been accepted early decision or who have already put a deposit down on their regular acceptance choice, it can be tempting to enjoy senior year and slack off. Colleges do not often revoke admissions acceptances, but there are occasions when they do. In this blog, we will discuss the importance of finishing your high school education on a strong note, and in which instances schools renege on their admissions decisions.

Reasons to Revoke a College Acceptance

According to Money Magazine, colleges only reverse about one to two percent of their admissions acceptances each year, so it is the exception and not the norm. Through 2009, NACAC (National Association for College Admissions Counselors) tracked data on the percentage of acceptances that were rescinded by colleges, but has not released similar information since then.

However, it is important to note that it does happen every year, and in the fine print of almost every student’s acceptance letter, there is some language reserving the college’s the right to revoke your acceptance.

Here are some of the reasons for rescinding a college acceptance:

Grades Drop Dramatically

It is one thing for a straight “A” student to receive one “B” in the second semester of senior year. But a significant decrease in grades from the transcript presented for admission could be cause for concern. For each student, the situation is unique, depending on the grades you had presented at the time of admission and the selectivity of the college. For any student, receiving “C’s” or “D’s” requires explanation of any extenuating factors that impacted academic performance.

Stephen Lee, associate vice president for enrollment management at West Virginia University states, “Because of the way the offer of admission often occurs halfway through the senior year, (admission) is contingent upon successfully completion of the senior year in a manner that’s consistent with how a student applied.” Colleges accepted you as a certain type of student, and they want you to remain this student throughout your high school education.

Disciplinary Trouble

This can include academic cheating, legal issues (such as underage drinking), or any other serious lapse in judgment. In 2003, Blair Hornstein infamously lost her acceptance to Harvard after it was discovered that she had plagiarized several articles that she’d written for her local newspaper. The Harvard Crimson cited that “Harvard admission is contingent on five conditions enumerated for students upon their acceptance—including one which stipulates admission will be revoked ‘if you engage in behavior that brings into question your honesty, maturity, or moral character.’”

Keep this in mind before making any lax decisions about plagiarism, cheating on tests, drinking or using drugs, or engaging in activities that could result in disciplinary action. In addition, note that colleges often examine your social media presence. Guard your social media and digital footprint against anything that could reflect poorly on your character.

What to Do if You Find Yourself in Trouble

Most colleges send a warning letter and give students the chance to explain themselves before a college acceptance is revoked. Heed this warning seriously and follow-up with your college. If your grades take a steep drop, you will have to explain the extenuating circumstances for this change, beyond mere “senioritis.”

Colleges receive your final transcript at the end of senior year, and they do read them. If you see that your grades are slipping dramatically, speak with your guidance counselor. It may be best to contact the college in advance to explain why and how you are taking action to improve these grades, such as maintaining a work schedule and working more closely with your teachers.

If you get into disciplinary trouble, be honest with your college and report it before they hear about it through other channels. Get ahead of the problem by explaining your actions, how you have tried to remedy the situation, and how the incident will not be repeated.

Receiving your desired college acceptance is a thrilling experience, and senior year can be a wonderful time for celebration and independence. However, keep in mind that your future depends on completing your high school education with integrity and diligence. You need to prove to your college that you can handle the path of academics and freedom that lies ahead. Equally as important, continuing to engage in your academics will best prepare you for success in college.

As you embark on this new life journey—Collegiate Gateway wishes you all the best!