What is generally considered a "safe harbor" against admission rescission?

This is the season when some high school seniors get worried or stressed about whether a decline in academic performance can cause an admission to be rescinded. This is alluded to in the “senioritis” thread.

While some schools (e.g. UCs) give specific conditions of admission (e.g. 3.0 GPA with no D or F grades in previously-reported senior year course work), many schools vaguely say something like “we expect you to maintain your academic performance in senior year”.

For schools without specific conditions, it appears to be generally accepted that it is *necessary/i to have the following (unless previously reported to the school for consideration before the admission decision):

  • No D or F grades.
  • No changes to previously-reported in-progress course work.
  • Graduation from high school.
  • No significant disciplinary or criminal issues.

But lots of students worry about getting one or more C grades, or more B grades than they are used to getting. What level of senior year academic performance (relative to previous academic performance) is generally accepted as being a “safe harbor” from rescission?

While you have listed the criteria I see often here, the safest bet is to continue your classwork and actives at the same level you were achieving prior to your college acceptance.

Of course… but in the “senioritis” thread, many are of the opinion that it is ok for a high school senior to relax a bit (obviously not too much) and enjoy his/her last semester in high school. And it appears that many colleges have the same opinion, based on the common assumption that rescission is rare except when the necessary conditions listed previously are not met. But how much leeway colleges do give seems to be an undetermined question.

What people have posted in UMich’s forum about UMich’s expectations is no more than 3 Cs, no Ds, no Fs. No specific other criteria.

No, no; that’s too exhausting. No one can keep up a HS pace forever. It’s just not humane. HS seniors have a right to slack off. They deserve a vacation after all their hard work.

I think this is fine, as long as you contact the university and update your schedule. Of course, it’s kinda like getting a C, changing one or two classes isn’t a problem, but changing several (or changing out of a critical program) would be.

For example, at most schools, switching out of Calc BC into Calc AB isn’t a problem, but at others, switching out of a 2nd or 3rd year of a language would be.

Both of my kids did. It was only one more semester.

If they wanted to slack off senior year, they should have taken a less rigourous course load. Perish the thought!

Agree with those who say…don’t slack off. That is the best “safe harbor”.

The other thing…rescission is one issue, but some kids are awarded merit scholarships based on their GPA…those kids need to check to see if their senioritis might end up losing them thousands of dollars, or prevent them from attending a college entirely due to the costs without that aid.

@FallGirl Thanks, I agree, too. I was simply trying on some of the responses I’ve heard here for fit. They didn’t. Fit, that is.

If kids can’t keep up a pace they’re trying to show off, then maybe the pace is a bit too fast in the first place. Everyone has times a “crunch” occurs, but it shouldn’t generate semester disasters.

If you’re going into a program with high powered math expectations and you get a D or F in your senior year in your advanced math class, you can be rescinded. There was a case here some years ago wrt Caltech. If you earned that D in math and you’re heading to art school, likely it’s not a problem. (I know of one case like that.)

Lol. Yes, they do deserve a vacation. In our house, it was called “three months off in the summer.”

Based on the responses, it appears that there is no consensus about how much of a generalized GPA drop in senior year (assuming no D or F grades, etc.) tends to be tolerated by colleges that vaguely say that “we expect you to maintain your academic performance in senior year”.

@nrdsb4 The response was sarcasm on JOD’s part. He has made his view’s on senioritis clear in another thread.

As for what colleges will tolerate, obviously it varies. Colleges have gone to the effort to admit a student, so they want that student to come. OTOH, college can be a challenging transition for some. They don’t like to see indicators that a particular student may have difficulty managing that transition.

Given the vagueness of many colleges’ conditions and lack of consensus on what that means, we can therefore continue to see posts from students worrying about getting rescinded because they got a B grade or few in senior year after three years of straight A grades.

@MidwestDad3, Yes, I know. That’s why I said “LOL.” :wink:

The best protection against senioritis is to choose your senior year courses wisely. If you were maxed out on homework junior year, then remember that in addition to your course work senior year, you will have the equivalent of another class writing your college applications, particularly if you’re applying to many schools that have supplements. My daughter’s first half of senior year was hideous, with APs, cross country, NMF essay (she stressed out more over this than she needed to) and college applications. She warned her younger brother and he actually listened, choosing to drop one of his APs and a language class in favor of more arts. Of course, that’s probably why he was deferred from Brown ED, but sanity is worth more than four years at Brown! He didn’t suffer nearly as much his first semester as his sister did.

thanks massmomm for your thots. My jr. daughter is planning on taking 5 AP, 3 honors and a zero-hr. class senior year. Good Grief. i’ll bring up some of these ideas.

This will not be decided by a majority, or even a consensus. My thoughts for a “safe harbor”, from the proposed baseline:

  • No grades below a "C" (so "C-" is not good!)
  • Fewer than 3 grades below a "B-"
  • GPA maintained above a certain threshold for each term (3.5 or 3.0)
  • No unreported (to the university) changes to planned or in-progress courses. No significant deviation from planned work.
  • Graduation from high school.
  • No significant disciplinary or criminal issues.

In reality, probably 2 grades below a “C”, if the rest of the grades hold up, would be tolerated. Similarly, a drop in gpa, if it were recovered, would be bumpy, but likely not fatal.

The reason that there’s no consensus is because we’re dealing with over 3,000 educational institutions here AND because most colleges probably rescind admission on a case-by-case basis after considering a range of factors. They don’t want to give hard and fast rules because they want to have some leeway to make decisions. I think that the standards you set forth in the OP - no D or F grades, no unreported/significant changes, graduation, and no disciplinary issues - is probably as good as it’s going to get as far as general guidelines go. (Significant chances would be signing up for all AP or honors classes, reporting that to the college, and then changing the second semester schedule to like 6 credits of PE or dropping to all average-level classes - probably not changing AP French to AP government or deciding to take a creative writing class instead of computer applications).

The fact is, admissions rescission is pretty uncommon. The students who wander on here asking if their admission is going to get rescinded over letting an A drop to a B are either being purposely ridiculous OR they are suffering from being super-stressed out and paranoid about the whole process (given some of the odd stuff I’ve seen here, I have complete sympathy for them).

I agree it definitely depends on the school. The word we heard from others from Georgia Tech was if you got a 1 C they would look at it ,decide from there but it probably would be ok. More than 1 C or worse and you need to have a back up college. However I think there are a lot of colleges that are not going to care if you get a couple of C’s senior year.