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Articles / Applying to College / Impact of Withdrawal from U. of Chicago in July to Accept Cambridge Admission

March 23, 2011

Impact of Withdrawal from U. of Chicago in July to Accept Cambridge Admission

Question: I got accepted conditionally to Cambridge in England. My counselor told me I have to put down a deposit at an American school in case my AP scores don't pan out (my conditional acceptance requires AP scores) because I won't hear back about those until July, obviously way past the point that I could commit to a U.S. school. I got accepted at UChicago, and I sincerely feel it is the only school I could be happy at if I didn't make my offer. I do plan to study very hard and get my AP scores, so if things work out and I pulled out of Chicago do you think that it would reflect poorly on my school (it's a very small school - at about 50 people per graduating class) or reflect poorly on me down the road if I were to apply to grad school there?

Congrats on your acceptance to Chicago and your (almost) acceptance at Cambridge. Don’t worry … it will not reflect poorly on your high school (or on you) if you withdraw from Chicago after getting good news from Cambridge in July. All colleges build an anticipated “summer melt” into their enrollment decisions. They realize that some students will change plans … most commonly due to an acceptance from a waitlist; sometimes for personal reasons; and, occasionally, for a reason just like yours. They understand that the U.K, admissions process can necessitate that applicants wait for AP results but need to deposit elsewhere in the meantime.


So you shouldn’t have any concerns about withdrawing from Chicago if you have to. However, it can’t hurt to do it in a nice way … with a polite note thanking the admission folks for all of the efforts on your behalf and explaining the necessity of the late withdrawal due to your Cambridge acceptance. You can also point out that you may end up back in the Windy City in four years so you hope that they’ll still have the welcome mat out for you then.

(posted 3/22/2011)

Written by

Sally Rubenstone

Sally Rubenstone

Sally Rubenstone knows the competitive and often convoluted college admission process inside out: From the first time the topic of college comes up at the dinner table until the last duffel bag is unloaded on a dorm room floor. She is the co-author of Panicked Parents' Guide to College Admissions; The Transfer Student's Guide to Changing Colleges and The International Student's Guide to Going to College in America. Sally has appeared on NBC's Today program and has been quoted in countless publications, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Weekend, USA Today, U.S. News & World Report, Newsweek, People and Seventeen. Sally has viewed the admissions world from many angles: As a Smith College admission counselor for 15 years, an independent college counselor serving students from a wide range of backgrounds and the author of College Confidential's "Ask the Dean" column. She also taught language arts, social studies, study skills and test preparation in 10 schools, including American international schools in London, Paris, Geneva, Athens and Tel Aviv. As senior advisor to College Confidential since 2002, Sally has helped hundreds of students and parents navigate the college admissions maze. In 2008, she co-founded College Karma, a private college consulting firm, with her College Confidential colleague Dave Berry, and she continues to serve as a College Confidential advisor. Sally and her husband, Chris Petrides, became first-time parents in 1997 at the ripe-old age of 45. So Sally was nearly an official senior citizen when her son Jack began the college selection process, and when she was finally able to practice what she had preached for more than three decades.

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