College Application Booster​®: High School Seniors, Get ahead on your college application!

Do my senior grades matter?

Jan 3, 2018

After getting that acceptance from a top-tier college or university, even the most disciplined students feel the temptation to relax a bit during senior spring. However, after three-and-a-half years plus of sustaining the level of hard work and discipline it takes to get into top schools, the small but dangerous threat of getting an offer rescinded looms large. So how much can your senior grades slip before it puts your acceptance in jeopardy?

If you let your grades slip too far, transfer from AP classes to easy electives, share offensive content on social media, etc., you may receive a warning letter asking for an explanation. This letter will not lead to rescinded admission as long as it receives an apologetic response, a good explanation, and a subsequent correction of the behavior. However, in a few cases, the letter can put you on academic probation for your freshman year, or ask that you defer for a year and demonstrate renewed commitment to academics.

Schools only rescind admission with no warning for a few reasons – if you fail or get a D in a class, if it’s discovered you lied on your application, if you go wild during their admitted students weekend, or if you get suspended from school or arrested. As with job applications, arrests for minor traffic violations are not included. If the arrest or disciplinary action was for participation in nonviolent political protest, many colleges have stated they will not rescind admission. If your school has not made a statement to this effect, we advise calling the admissions department before participating.

How can you catch senioritis safely and avoid even a warning? Here’s what we tell our students: you will not hear from your college for a drop of less than one full letter grade. Yes, even the Ivies. This gives you a margin of two ticks to play with: a subject where on average you get A’s can slip to B+, an A- to a B, a B+ to a  B-, and a B to a C+ (but remember not to get more than one or two C’s). Dropping more than one AP class is also a risky move.

You shouldn’t need to pull all-nighters or study the whole weekend during senior spring. That being said, there’s a big difference between skipping an assignment here and there and skipping a week of class. Read your class syllabus carefully and figure out what tests and assignments are most important to your grade. All in all, don’t slack off, but get some sleep and don’t stress.

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