scholarship award

What might cause my admission to be rescinded?

Making a mistake

Whether you hear about it though gossip around the high school or an article in the local paper, each spring there are whispers about the superstar student who made a mistake and learned that all the great colleges he got into have rescinded their offers of admission. More than a decade of hard work gets no reward, and the student is left feeling devastating regret. In truth, it happens every year at schools around the country, and for many different reasons. The valedictorian who was too busy to write her essays downloads a sample essay for one of her applications, and the Ivy that accepted her finds out. The spring break party that got out of hand results in 10 arrests for underage drinking, and now all the students involved have records. The top student with a spotless academic record tries to cut corners and is caught cheating on an exam. It is inevitable that teenagers with underdeveloped frontal lobes will have a tendency to make dumb decisions at some point in high school.

Many seniors think that when they get that golden letter of admission, they are all set. This is not true. Colleges and universities will often state in their offer of admission that they expect that the student’s academic and extra-curricular record to stay at a high level until he begins his college courses in the fall. If the dean of admissions sees poor grades, a suspension, arrest, or case of academic dishonesty, she has the power to revoke admission.  All those hours spent completing homework assignments, writing papers, preparing for that debate tournament, or running wind sprints – all that can be for naught if you aren’t careful about the decisions you make. So don’t blow it.

I’ve made a mistake, and my admission may be rescinded. What can I do now?

If for some reason you do blow it, there are two ways to approach the problem. You can try to hide what has happened, or you can fess up. By being the one who makes the admissions office aware of your infraction, you have the opportunity to show both that you have learned from the experience and that you are truly remorseful for your mistake. This is almost always the best approach.

If admissions officers feel that a student is being forthright, has learned from his mistake, and isn’t likely to repeat it, that student is more likely to be welcomed as a freshman in the fall. If they think that the student’s questionable behavior will continue when he arrives on campus, they’ll opt to fill the spot with a more deserving candidate. And if the admissions office finds out about your misconduct from someone else, you stand an even greater risk of losing your offer of admission. Actions always have consequences, and in the world of selective admissions, the consequences to your actions can be life changing.



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Written by Kennon Dick
Kennon Dick is a member of College Coach’s team of college admissions experts. Prior to joining College Coach, Kennon was as a senior admissions officer at Swarthmore College, Drexel University, and Johnson State College.