When Do Colleges Rescind Acceptances?

I am a senior and got accepted to BU as ED. Before they accepted me, they asked the counselor about my senior grade drop. However, I got two more C compared to my previous grade. So will I get rescind…?

@Sally_Rubenstone So I’m a senior right now and I’m wondering whether I will get rescinded. I’ve had pretty ok grades, all semesters I had like 2-3 B’s. I have a pretty intense chronic medical condition which really caused a lot of that. But my senior yr first semester my condition got really bad, I couldn’t walk, had a lot of complications/side effects of my medications, and was almost hospitalized. Overall, I had a pretty bad semester and could never focus on schoolwork and ended up with a bunch of B’s and one C. I had a moderately rigorous schedule with 3 AP classes. Where can I explain this when the schools I applied to will inevitably see my mid-year report.

Sorry to hear about your medical situation. It’s been a tough enough year for almost everyone without that added challenge.

While explaining this situation to college officials would certainly put your dip in grades in perspective, you have to be careful. If you tell them what you’ve told us here, the college folks may worry that you won’t be ready for college next fall … that your condition may make it difficult to take on classes that are more demanding than your current ones and also make it hard for you to adjust to the overall demands of leaving home and starting life on your own.

So I suggest that you send an email to all the colleges that you’ve applied to that briefly says that you’ve had some serious medical issues to face this fall but that they are behind you now and won’t affect your college future. (If you think that your school counselor would write this letter for you, so much the better. )

If you’ve ALREADY been accepted at any colleges, it sounds to me that your drop in grades isn’t serious enough to lead to a rescinded admission. But if you have NOT been accepted anywhere yet, the college officials will probably be concerned by this downturn and thus SOME explanation is warranted. Just be careful not to provide information that suggests that you may not be prepared for college life in the fall due to these health problems.

On the other hand, if you feel that you MIGHT be plagued by continuing poor health, then your health needs to be your priority. So you might want to consider a gap year which might give you time to recovery fully or to manage your illness without the stress of starting college at the same time.

Best wishes on a happy 2021 and, especially, on a healthy one.

My son was accepted EA to Stanford in December. He had an UW 4.0. Fall semester he has been takin 5 AP classes, 4 synchronous with his regular high school teachers and one AP though a non-synchronous, self paced option because it was not available at his school due to his schedule. He got all As in the 4 APs through his school, but he is likely to get a C in the non-synchronous AP. He had an A going into the final but mixed up the last day to take the final for this class. The last date was on Thursday, but finals week ends on Friday. He had planned to take the final on Friday morning, and realized that he has missed the final. This will drop his grade to a C.

So my main question is whether we should proactively reach out to his AO and explain the situation. It was clearly his mistake, but not due to academic slacking. He will be taking the same classes next semester and I am sure he will be able to do well.

@itsallgood123–Your son will be fine. He should definitely explain this situation to his Stanford admissions rep, taking the blame for the deadline snafu, though it’s fine for him to cite the confusion caused because the finals week ended after his exam deadline.

Stanford will understand, especially because the pandemic has thrown such a monkey wrench into so many high school experiences, and because–presumably–your son will raise his grade in this class in the spring. (College folks really care only about final grades; not semester grades, though it will still be helpful for your son to explain why this one mid-year grade is atypical.)

Congrats to him and to you on his acceptance, and try not to keep worrying about this.


I was accepted to a highly selective LAC (with mediocre first semester grades). I am taking eight difficult APs.

My father was diagnosed with a rare, aggressive and incurable form of blood cancer in late winter. I have lived with him as a single parent since I was two, so the news that we only have less than a year left together was understandably devastating. My mother and step-father of five years have gone through an arduous divorce all year, and he has recently become abusive towards the two of us (law enforcement is involved). Although I do not live with her, my mother’s mistreatment has become a huge source of stress. To make things worse, I have been enrolled in completely online school all year–not a nice combination with ADHD. And I had to suspend my involvement in ECs/volunteering because I cannot risk giving my extremely immunocompromised father a cold. I can’t even see my friends.

My grades were awful this year, but I am confident that I can pass (get 4s/5s) on all of my AP exams. Would the admissions committee consider this to be a sufficient excuse? I’m horribly depressed, my school had a prom that I had to miss. Everyone has forgotten that I exist. It feels impossible to get out of bed every morning, much less work. I’m sorry if this came off of a vent, but I am really stuck in between a rock and a hard place.

@vermonofflorida -I’m so sorry to hear about the situation you’re in. No one–and especially a teenager–should have to face so many hurdles at once.

Admission officials at the LAC you plan to attend WILL certainly be sympathetic, BUT they will also be very worried that the circumstances that have affected your ability to perform in school this year might continue when you are in college. Granted, you will presumably be taking classes in person by then, which would eliminate the current difficulties of your online courses. However, there will be OTHER stresses that come with moving away from home, navigating a college community and its new demands, and possibly worrying constantly about your father from afar.

If your father is no longer alive in September then a fresh start may be well timed for you. But if he is able to hang on–and, hopefully regain some quality of life despite a dismal prognosis–you may not want to be away from him, and you could be extremely distracted if you are.

So your best bet right now would be to contact your admissions rep tomorrow (Monday) at the LAC you plan to attend, and tell him or her exactly what you’ve said here, asking for advice. You might want to strongly consider a gap year for the reasons noted above. Also, if the admissions rep tells you that you may lose your place in the freshman class due to poor senior grades, you can suggest that you take a year off and also sign up for a community college class in each semester just to get back on track academically.

There’s no doubt that admission officers will be empathetic, but ultimately they may feel that you should not be starting college in a few months with all of the personal issues you’re juggling. So lay your cards on the table and ask your admission rep what your next steps should be.

Best wishes to you as you face the hard times still to come. Things will get brighter, but you probably have some tough stuff to endure before they do.

I was accepted to UMass Amherst, and I am currently struggling in AP calc. I got a B for first semester but I might get a C for this semester. The rest of my grades have stayed the same this is the only drop in grade. Could this drop in grade get my college admission rescinded?