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Articles / Applying to College / When Do College Rescind Admissions?

March 20, 2005

When Do College Rescind Admissions?

Question: Under what conditions would a college take back an acceptance?

Colleges do not like to renege on admission decisions but will do so on occasion. This most typically happens when a student's grades drop SIGNIFICANTLY after the student is admitted. In other words, if an A student suffers a bout of senioritis and drops to a B average, it's not a dealbreaker. But if the grades plummet to C's and D's (or worse), it can be. If there are extenuating circumstances behind this change in GPA (e.g., an illness or family crisis), they should be explained by the school counselor. The college will probably be sympathetic and stand by their original acceptance, sometimes putting the student on academic probation when the school year starts.


Colleges may also revoke acceptances if the student is suspended from school or arrested outside of school. Again, because the college does NOT want to do this, the case will be carefully evaluated and the verdict will most likely depend on the nature of the infraction and the circumstances surrounding it.

Finally, if a college should discover that an applicant was dishonest on his or her application, that is likely to lead to a rescinded admission, too.

Best wishes. I hope all your admission news is good.

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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