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Duke University
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Unweighted GPA: 3.7
SAT: 720 math
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Can My Offer of Admission Be Rescinded?

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The last few months of senior year are infamous for their strong demotivating effects on students: so much that the term senioritis has been coined to describe the general sense of relaxation and lack of responsibility that accompany senior spring. Primary symptoms of senioritis include a disdain for homework and observation of the rules.


While committing to a college may give you a feeling of invincibility, slipping grades and behavioral malfeasances don’t always go unpunished. The greatest fear of any college senior who’s committed to their dream school is that their admission be rescinded meaning the school essentially takes back its offer of admission and the student can no longer matriculate in the following school year. But does this ever actually happen, and why? Read on to learn the truth about rescinded admissions.


What does it mean to have your admission rescinded?


When a college makes an offer of admission to a student, that offer is made with the expectation that the admitted student will maintain the same quality of academic performance and behavioral conduct as they demonstrated in their application. If a student fails to meet this expectation, their admission can be rescinded. The student is no longer considered an admit and is not permitted to attend the college in the subsequent school year.


How does a student have their admission rescinded?


There are two main reasons students can have their admission rescinded: grades and disciplinary infractions, be it with a student’s high school, college, or law enforcement.


If a student allows their grades to fall to a level significantly below their previous performance in high school, or if a student commits a serious offense such as academic dishonesty (cheating) on a major test or assignment, they may be in danger of having their admission rescinded. Substance use or other inappropriate conduct by a student while on the college’s campus for admitted student events can also call their offer of admission into question.


Grades are not the only academic reason for admission to be jeopardized. If a student allows a significant decrease in course rigor or extracurricular involvement, they may be in trouble. It’s normal for presidents of clubs and captains of athletic or academic teams to reduce their involvement as the leaders for the next school year begin to assume more responsibility, but completely ignoring obligations to the point where club advisors notice is cause for concern. Additionally, dishonesty on an application about extracurricular involvement, test scores, and more can be cause for a university to rescind an offer of admission, as it not only reflects a lack of honesty on the part of the applicant, but also means the offer of admission in question was not made with a full and accurate understanding of the student’s accomplishments.



What happens if my admission is rescinded?


It’s important to remember that colleges won’t just rescind your admission without legitimate reason and fair notice. Usually, the first step in the process of having your admissions rescinded is receiving correspondence from your college. If a college receives notice of any of the above circumstances, either from a counselor or mid-year report, then the student in question will typically receive a letter from the college informing them that their admission is in trouble. (Note that severe offenses may result in a student’s admission being immediately rescinded). Such letters usually request a letter from the student providing an explanation for any problematic behavior by a certain date.


If a student complies with the requests of the school, they usually face some consequences, such as being placed on academic probation upon matriculation, but their admission is usually not rescinded. Colleges generally don’t want to renege on their offers of admission without good reason; they chose to admit their students for a reason, and will try to avoid having to undo those decisions.


It’s also important to note that while any of the above listed reasons can be cause for admission, any malfeasances on the part of the student must be fairly severe in order to prompt the school into taking action. For example, if you’re typically an A student, but have allowed yourself to earn a couple of B’s and perhaps even a C on your report card, you probably won’t receive any warning letters from colleges. D’s and F’s, on the other hand, can land you in trouble. Similarly, getting detention for a cell phone infraction or claiming to have managed 15 students in a club on your application when you actually managed 10 likely won’t matter; it’s serious disciplinary offenses and extreme exaggerations or blatant dishonesty on your application that will place your admission in serious jeopardy.



If a student’s admission is rescinded, it by no means marks the death of their educational career; the decision is not publicized in any way and won’t have any impact on the other schools the student has been accepted to (unless, of course, these schools have taken action to rescind admissions as well). Students always have the option of attending another school or a community college. If they so desire, they can even apply as a transfer student to their top choice school again. Students may also choose to take a gap year and apply for admission again.


How do I avoid having my admission rescinded?


The key to avoiding rescinded admission is to be proactive. Though it’s easy to lose motivation in the final months of high school, it’s crucial to keep in mind that your work isn’t quite over yet; your performance and behavior continue to be evaluated by the college you’ve committed to until you graduate. If you have a legitimate reason that causes your academic performance to flag, be sure to inform the admissions office at your school of your circumstances before they assume the worst. In short, even though it’s difficult, it’s immensely important to work as hard in the final few months of high school as you have the previous three years.


Not only is it important to continue working hard in your classes and extracurriculars, it’s also vital to remember that your actions now represent your college of choice, and any questionable behavior is reasonable cause for this college to cut their ties with you. Getting into trouble at school or with law enforcement, as well as posting profane or otherwise inappropriate content on social media, can have serious consequences.


You’ve put in years of effort, studied for countless tests, slaved over group projects, practiced early mornings and weekends for sports teams, and now you’re nearly there! With only months left of high school and an offer from a college, your work is almost finished. Armed with an understanding of why and how offers of admission are rescinded, you can ensure you end your high-school career strong and free of worry and enter college in the fall ready to succeed.


Curious about your chances of acceptance to your dream school? Our free chancing engine takes into account your GPA, test scores, extracurriculars, and other data to predict your odds of acceptance at over 500 colleges across the U.S. We’ll also let you know how you stack up against other applicants and how you can improve your profile. Sign up for your free CollegeVine account today to get started!


Anamaria Lopez
Managing Editor

Short Bio
Anamaria is an Economics major at Columbia University who's passionate about sharing her knowledge of admissions with students facing the applications process. When she's not writing for the CollegeVine blog, she's studying Russian literature and testing the limits of how much coffee one single person can consume in a day.