What To Do If Your College Acceptance Is Rescinded

college acceptance is rescinded

Preparing for college is a major milestone in many students’ academic paths. As your acceptance letters are, hopefully, rolling in it’s good to keep in mind that colleges reserve the right to rescind your acceptance in certain circumstances. 

For example, they may rescind your acceptance if they admitted you with false information or if you got into serious legal trouble after acceptance. 

It doesn’t occur very often but if it happens to you, here’s what to do if your college acceptance is rescinded. 

Why Do Colleges Rescind Offers?

It’s fairly rare for a college to revoke or rescind an acceptance letter, but it does happen occasionally. So you’ll want to be aware of that possibility as you start making your post-graduation plans. The good news is that nearly all of the reasons a college may revoke your admission are within your control. If you follow a few common-sense tips, you’re quite unlikely to run into a problem with a revocation of college admission.

6 Reasons A College Might Revoke Acceptance

Here’s a look at some of the reasons why a college might revoke a student’s admission:

  1. Senioritis: It’s fairly common for high school seniors to have a bit of “senioritis” in their last semester of high school. It’s easy to develop the mindset that you’ve already been accepted to college, and it doesn’t matter what grades you get as long as you graduate. While a few Bs and Cs might not matter to an admissions office, if your final semester is full of Ds and Fs, your admission may end up being revoked. This is especially true if you’ve been accepted to a more competitive school.
  2. Academic dishonesty: Along the same lines, a college-bound senior might not be fully focused on finishing out their high school career and turn to dishonest means of completing their work. Most universities have a zero-tolerance policy for cheating and plagiarism. If you’re caught cheating, even before you set foot on campus, it may affect your admission.
  3. Lying on your application: Colleges make admission decisions based on the information you provide in your application. So if you are found to have been less than truthful in your application, your acceptance may be revoked.
  4. Criminal behavior: While you’re not likely to have your college admission revoked for jaywalking or a minor traffic offense, severe criminal behavior can impact your college admission.
  5. Social media: Most college admissions officers are not going through the social media of their thousands of admittees, but it can happen, especially if your social media or other comments receive negative media attention. In 2017, Harvard rescinded the admission of at least 10 incoming freshmen over comments they made in a private Facebook chat.
  6. A mistake: In rare instances, a college may send out an acceptance letter to someone that it didn’t intend to admit. If this happens, the college will likely follow up with an apology and a rescission of admission.

What You Should Do

If you get a letter from a university revoking your admission, it’s not necessarily time to panic. In some (but not all) cases, a university may start out with a warning letter, which gives you a chance to tell your side of the story and give more details. These are some strategies you can employ in that scenario:

  • Consider working with your school counselor, parents, or other trusted friends and advisors to craft an articulate response.
  • If the college is concerned about past social media activity or disciplinary issues, give context and talk about how you have grown and matured since the behavior in question.
  • If the college is concerned about your recent academic performance, share any extenuating circumstances that led to a decline in your grades and detail your plan to resume academic success in the future.
  • Request an in-person meeting to plead your case if possible.

While those approaches might work, you should be aware that it is possible for a college to rescind an acceptance without warning, and you probably won’t have any legal recourse. As with many adversities, the best course of action here is preventative. Make sure that no college has any reason to rescind its application. If you keep your grades up and stay out of trouble, you shouldn’t have any problems.

Related: How Does The College Admissions Process Work?

The Bottom Line

While it’s rare, it is possible for a college or university to rescind admission, even after sending you an acceptance letter. Bad grades, academic dishonesty, or poor behavior are just a few of the reasons a college admission might be revoked. The good news is that most of the reasons for rescission are preventable and within your control. If you stay out of trouble both academically and on social media, you’re likely to find yourself on campus before you know it.

Editor: Ashley Barnett Reviewed by: Robert Farrington

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