Many high school seniors breathe a sigh of relief and let “senioritis” set in once they finally have their college acceptance letter in hand after the long grueling application process, but can colleges revoke admissions after a student has already been accepted?

Although higher education institutions prefer not to and luckily rarely have to, it is important to known that it is possible for colleges to rescind their admissions offer even after an acceptance letter has been delivered. In fact, the majority of college acceptance letters declare that the admission is contingent on the successful completion of the remaining year of high school and diploma. Therefore, the following is a detailed explanation of why a college may revoke admission and what to do if acceptance is annulled.

Common Reasons Colleges Will Revoke Admission

Although most institutions will not rescind an incoming student’s admission solely based on a slight academic slip-up in grades as the result of senioritis, it is a possibility when a student’s grades suddenly plummet without valid extenuating circumstances. After all, recent studies indicate that the most common reason that colleges revoke admission offers is final senior grades that do not maintain the same level of accomplishment that is expected. College admissions committees may also withdraw an acceptance offer to a student who has been suspended or arrested, was fraudulent on their application, has double deposited at more than one college, or has failed to graduate altogether.

How to Cope with College Acceptance Being Withdrawn

In most cases, colleges will not revoke an admissions offer without informing the student that their acceptance is in jeopardy and giving the individual a chance to explain themselves. When this occurs, it is important that students respond to the college as quickly as possible by phone or send a letter to explain what happened. Since students often do not learn that their admission is in question until the summer and do not have much time to make other academic plans for that fall, it is essential that students be proactive about the precarious situation by speaking with an admissions officer immediately.

Students must be prepared to supply the college with a clear explanation free from excuses, take responsibility of the situation, admit to any mistakes or lack of effort, provide any supporting documentation, and share what they have learned from the experience. Depending on the specific situation and the explanation provided, colleges may decide to admit the student anyway or accept the student on a probation period for the first freshman semester. In more severe instances, it is also common for colleges to suggest students take courses at an area community college, earn good grades, improve any behavioral issues, and then reapply for a transfer after one to two semesters.

While most seniors do complete their final year of high school successfully and without any cause for alarm, the National Association of College Admissions Counseling reports that approximately 21 percent of colleges nationwide will revoke admission for students annually. Since the higher education system is experiencing a record number of qualified applicants and extremely long waiting lists, many colleges are becoming less willing to take a gamble on students who are not living up to the potential they initially saw. Therefore, it is important for individuals to remember that colleges can revoke admissions for any significant changes in grades or behavior and the acceptance letter still requires a strong finish!

Related Resource: What should my SAT Scores be in Order to be Accepted into College?