Two Readers’ Questions: Can My Admission Be Revoked After Being Accepted?

I have two questions that I wanted to answer related to a similar subject: colleges revoking admission after already accepting a student. The short answer is that a university may cancel your acceptance for any reason they see fit. The longer answer, though, will explain why this situation can be rare and what you can do if you're in danger.

Let's start with Kristen S who has this concern about her latest ACT result:

I took the ACT in February of Junior Year (I'm a senior now), and I got a 30. Last fall I was waitlisted by a lot of schools, so I took it again in December. Today I got the results. I went from a 30 down to a 26 somehow. Are colleges I already got into (and the one I plan to attend) going to revoke me? I'm really scared! What's gonna happen to me? Their admissions council is EVIL and I'm scared they will change their minds...

Don't worry, Kristen. The great thing about the ACT (unlike the SAT) is that you get to choose which scores to send. In other words, if you have a bad ACT score, you can choose not to send it to any college and they'll never know about it. As evil as their admissions council may be, what they don't know won't hurt you.

However, even if the college did receive the lower test score, I am not sure this would influence them at all. A higher test score could be a way to bump yourself out of a waitlist, but I don't believe that a lower one will hurt you. At least, I've never heard of a student who has later had his or her admission revoked on the basis of a poor test score after acceptance.

Revocation after a poor semester of grades, however, is another matter. Refer to this question from Shaun M:

I was accepted to a college already, but I'm failing a lot of classes this senior year. I've asked around about being rejected because of my grades and some say yes you can get rejected and others say not to worry about it. So I want a real answer. And also they said a final transcript is needed and I'm wondering what will happen if i just dont send it. Thanks!

To start, if you don't send in your final transcript, the college will likely put an "academic hold" on your record, which means you will not be able to sign up for classes. The school needs proof that you actually graduated from high school, and will not allow you to be a student without your final transcript. You must send it in.

As for the policy on post-acceptance rejection for poor grades, it varies from college to college. Check your acceptance letter and look for a clause that says something like, "your admission is contingent on your continued successful performance." While they will likely forgive a very slight slip in grades, multiple F's sends a message to the admissions committee that you may not be ready to attend college yet.

I highly recommend you contact the college directly and ask what their policy is, what will happen, and what you should do. The admissions office is there to help you and will do their best to figure out a way to keep you admitted if it is possible. Ignoring the problem and hoping the college won't notice will not work. If you are proactive in trying to work with the university to find a solution, you may be able to avoid getting your acceptance revoked.

Thanks for your questions, Kristen and Shaun. If any readers have questions they would like me to answer (either privately or on the blog), feel free to use my contact form.

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