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Articles / Applying to College / Will Low AP Bio Grade Mean Rescinded Acceptance?

April 24, 2020

Will Low AP Bio Grade Mean Rescinded Acceptance?

Question: I recently was accepted to my top school for nursing. I even received a scholarship. However I recently found out that I failed my AP Bio midterm. I talked to my teacher and she told me i was still passing this semester. I talked to my guidance counselor and she said they don't receive our actual midterm test grades, they just receive mid year GPA and grades in subjects. This means they see that I passed AP bio and they see whatever average I have in it.

My overall average has increased since Junior year. I'm just worried that if I have a lower grade in AP Bio, for example a C or a D, would that result in me getting declined? My other grades are high, and at the time of acceptance they did not know I was challenging myself with AP Bio.


Is there still a chance they will decline me? They know AP Bio is a hard course, and I am still passing. Also my overall GPA has increased since Junior year.

As your guidance counselor correctly explained, the AP Bio exam is not a deal-breaker. Colleges are focused on course grades, not on exam grades. However, you said that you have “passed” AP Bio but you don’t say the actual grade you received. Did you “pass” with a C or above or with a D? Colleges are not happy with D’s, and it’s possible that a final course grade of a D could be a problem for you. A C (or even C-), however, should not be.

Is the AP Bio class over now or are you just halfway through? If it’s the latter, make every effort to earn a C or above for your final grade. I see that you already talked to your teacher about your grade, which was smart. Keep those lines of communication open ... go for extra help if offered and ask your teacher about extra-credit options if you fear that your course grade is sliding down to D territory.  Another option would be to seek out either a free peer tutor (some schools offer this) or a paid adult tutor.

Although your college probably won’t automatically rescind your acceptance—and your scholarship—if you earn a D, you may have a fight ahead of you. And if you do end up with a D in the class despite your best efforts, you’ll want to be able to “document” everything you did to try to stay afloat ... i.e., meeting with the teacher, going for extra help, getting tutoring.  Also point out to your college that your overall GPA has gone up.  If the college folks see that you weren’t slacking, it will definitely work in your favor. However, because the course you’re struggling in is AP Bio and your intended major is nursing, a D in that class is bound to raise concerns. So do the best you can to finish the year with a C or above. Do you think that you can?

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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