If you’re like most students, you see the word, “Congratulations!” on the first line of your college decision letter and read no further. In one short word, they’ve told you what you want to know. You now know what college you will call home this fall. The stress is over! Let the good times begin! Well, I am here to rain on that parade just a little because that sense of relief can turn to complacency and, gasp, senioritis and colleges that giveth reserve the right to taketh away!
The cautionary sentence buried somewhere in your acceptance letter indicates that they assume you will continue the SAME level of academic performance that got you accepted in the first place. Yea, yea, they “have” to say that, but would they actually rescind a college acceptance?
YES, they can and will. That cautionary language in your acceptance letter is your warning. Consider these two very real students:
Larry (not his real name) was accepted to College A, a school that accepts only one-third of its applicants and has SAT scores (mid 50th percentile) between 620 and 740 (28-31). After being accepted, Larry went on a trip abroad with his high school foreign language club during spring of his senior year. The students missed a week of school to go on the trip. The other week of the trip was over the school break week, but an international act of nature forced the closure of air space that kept the students abroad for a third week. Upon returning home, Larry got sick and missed a few more days of school. Larry, a conscientious fellow, worked diligently to catch up, but his grades slipped a bit. Much to his dismay, he got a letter from College A letting him know that his acceptance was in jeopardy. They gave him the opportunity to submit an explanation which Larry did, accompanied by a letter from his language teacher who chaperoned the trip and his physician who saw him upon his return. Larry was ultimately fine, but not without some real anxiety in there!
“Eric” has been accepted to one of this nation’s most selective liberal arts colleges. He is a recruited athlete and fantastic student. Between the time he applied early decision and his mid-year grade report, all of his grades went up and were somewhere in the A to A+ range except one class, his weakness, which went from a B to a C+. Sure enough, Eric got a warning letter from the institution, again giving him the opportunity to explain himself and his situation but warning him that faltering on his otherwise strong academic performance could mean losing his spot in the freshman class. You can bet that Eric is approaching his work with renewed seriousness but sweating it out just a little bit right now.
The moral of this story is simple. Enjoy yourself, have fun, this is a great time in your life, but disregard for the kind of work that has gotten you into college could yield results that you won’t like! Have fun…work hard.