The High Cost of Senioritis
If you think an acceptance into college means you can slack off for the rest of your senior year of high school, think again. Some colleges and universities are actually revoking admission to would-be freshmen who have chosen to let their grades drop their final semester of high school.
Perhaps the greatest number of recent rescissions came in 2006 from the University of Washington (UW). After reviewing the transcripts of students who had been accepted for the spring, 23 “slackers” were given the boot while another 180 received warnings for their declining senior-year performance.
In June and July of 2007, a few California schools began following UW’s lead. UCLA has, as of this writing, already revoked about 25 freshmen admissions and expects to withdraw another 90 by the end of the summer from the entering freshman class of about 4,600. According to Wu Tran, Director of Undergraduate Admissions at UCLA, students are expected to maintain a B average and not get below a C in any of their core classes.
Wondering what qualifies as “slacking off” during your senior year? The director of admissions at UW stated that the 23 seniors fell into one of three categories:
- Those who failed a required course
- Those whose grades fell from A’s and B’s to C’s D’s and F’s
- Those who listed challenging senior courses on their applications but later dropped the courses or failed to complete them.
So what options do once-accepted-now-rejected students have? Depending on why their admission was revoked they can delay their admission for a year and attend another college in the meantime or — if they’re lucky — agree to be admitted on a probationary basis.
Students also have the opportunity to appeal the decision and sometimes it works. One lucky student whose admission at UC Santa Cruz was revoked for getting one D was reinstated when she “fessed up” before final transcripts were mailed and said she would never do it again. Because of her otherwise excellent record the school cut her a break.
Of course it’s best to not have to resort to begging and pleading. Instead avoid being in that position by not letting any of your grades fall apart during your senior year. If you are having some academic problems consider talking to your teachers about tutoring or extra-credit work to improve grades.
If you don’t think you’ll be able to avoid a problem (such as getting a D in a core course) inform the college(s) in advance along with an explanation of extenuating circumstances that may have affected your academics — such as a death in the family or a personal illness. Colleges want students to self-report any academic troubles rather than finding out problems themselves when they review your transcript. Coming clean will increase your chances of avoiding a revocation.
For most seniors however there’s no need to give up all the fun of your last year of high school. If you maintain a steady pace keep up with your homework and study for tests you’ll no doubt be fine. A touch of senioritis never hurt anyone!