The Ivy Coach Daily

August 18, 2023

Reasons Why Colleges Revoke Offers of Admission

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Every offer of admission from a top university is conditional.

Originally Published on January 22, 2018:

Can a college rescind an offer of admission? Yes, you bet a college can change their minds and revoke a student’s conditional offer of admission. And we do use that word ’conditional’ because every offer of admission that a college extends is conditional (do read that fine print, or, sometimes, it’s not even so fine!) — conditional on a student demonstrating the same academic work, integrity, and achievement that they demonstrated when they applied, conditional on a student not getting into trouble with their school or with the law, conditional on the integrity of every component of the student’s application, and more.

As our regular readers may remember, several years back, before even the Varsity Blues scandal, Harvard University rescinded offers of admission to many students admitted to its Class of 2021 because they made highly offensive remarks on a Facebook forum for admitted students to Harvard’s incoming class. These students deserved to have their offers of admission rescinded, and, at the time, we at Ivy Coach saluted Harvard for doing the right thing. Indeed, Harvard did the right thing even when it didn’t necessarily paint the institution in the best light for offering admission to these students in the first place.

Can Colleges Rescind an Admission Offer?

Around May through June of every year, our seniors at Ivy Coach have some free time on their hands. They’ve been accepted to college in the Early round, typically in mid-December. Sure, they’re still excelling in their coursework and continuing their extracurricular pursuits. But the stress of the college admissions process is off.

So they contact us to see how we’re doing because they miss our names in their inboxes. Our emails flood their inboxes over the summer months, and now that they’ve earned admission, nothing remains to be said. So they find excuses to email us — you know who you are! One of the most common emails we get reads like this: “I was wondering if my admission can get revoked because I’m getting a B in AP Computer Science right now.” The answer is that colleges are highly unlikely to revoke an offer of admission because a student gets a B. Can a C lead to a rescinded admission? Yes, but it’s unlikely that a B or even two Bs will lead to a rescinded offer. Colleges know students are human and don’t want to upend their lives for a single B.

Drop in Grades, Behavioral Issues Are Leading Causes for Rescinded Admissions

But colleges do rescind admissions decision — every year. It happens. A Business Insider piece on colleges pulling acceptances citing Ivy Coach details a significant drop in grades, criminal charges, disciplinary issues with the high school, academic integrity issues, poor conduct while on campus for events like admitted students weekend (you’d be amazed how many students drink alcohol during these visits and get in trouble), and uncovered lies (e.g., false self-reported test scores on an application) can lead colleges to change their minds and revoke an offer of admission.

Student Should Keep Up Their Grades and Behavior

So what’s the lesson? After receiving an offer of admission, breathe in and out. You did it! The stress is off. But it doesn’t mean students should drop any coursework (a college must be notified of any change in coursework). It doesn’t mean a student’s grades should plummet. It doesn’t mean a student should get in trouble with their high school or community. It’s simply not worth the risk because every offer of admission is conditional.

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