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Scary Bedtime Stories, Urban Legends, and Revoked Admission Offers

Okay, seniors.  Sit down and let me tell you a scary story.  There was once a high school student who worked really hard, got straight A’s and was accepted early decision to her first-choice college.  She then decided that, since she had already been accepted, she could enjoy her “senior spring” and forget about keeping her GPA up.  She had a great time, finished her semester with straight C’s, but wasn’t too worried (commence eerie music).  Then, on a dark and stormy night, she received a letter from her college.  With trembling hands, she tore open the letter and, with horror, read “our institution has decided to revoke our admission offer based on your poor spring performance.”

We’ve all heard of a friend of a friend of a friend who knows someone whose poor senior grades caused their college to withdraw their offer, but that’s all urban legend, right?

Do colleges really care about your grades senior spring?

They certainly do.

A 2010 report from the National Association for College Admissions Counselors (NACAC) reported that 22% of colleges reported revoking admissions offers for the previous year.  The report found that, on average, there are about two dozen revoked offers each year (NACAC ’10 28).

What accounted for these colleges revoking admission offers? 

The 2010 report doesn’t go into detail, but NACAC’s 2008 report states that 68% of the colleges that revoked offers for admission did so because of final grades (NACAC ’08 45).  The takeaway is that it ain’t over until the ink is dry on your high school diploma.  Until you walk across the stage, shake hands with your head of school, and return to your seat as a high school graduate, colleges can still withdraw an offer to attend their institution.

How much can I slack during my senior spring and still attend my college? 

That is a question I will happily refuse to answer.  There is no formula I know of that colleges use to determine when to revoke an admission offer.  I would rather point you to the bigger picture.  How well you finish something says everything about what kind of person you are.  Everyone can start a race well; it’s the ones who finish strong who can be proud of their accomplishment.  For some of you, this next semester will seem to go on forever.  I promise you, it will end.  Have fun these next few months, but also stay the course, keep your eyes on the prize, and make sure you finish well.  You’ve worked too hard to do anything else.


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