Congratulations! It’s an accomplishment to be accepted into college. Now, finishing high school is all you have left to do! When you have that acceptance letter—or stack of acceptance letters—in hand, celebrate. Bust out the break dance moves and sound the party blowers.
But don’t get too carried away. After you receive a college admissions offer, you become extremely susceptible to senioritis. Its symptoms include slacking off in class, not studying for finals or AP exams, staying out late on weekdays, and sleeping through your classes. It’s contagious, too. If your friends are goofing off, brace yourself; you have a high risk of catching senioritis.
If you don’t think senioritis sounds too bad, think twice. It could have lasting effects on your academic career. Class is still in session, and your acceptance to college is not written in stone. You heard that right. Maintain high grades and stay out of trouble, because colleges reserve the right to revoke your admissions offers if you fail to finish high school well.
Yeah, it happens. College acceptances can be turned into rejections because of silly mistakes seniors make in their last semester. In 2009, 21% of colleges retracted at least one admissions offer.
In most cases, universities change their decision after receiving dismal final transcripts. The National Association for College Admissions Counseling found that of all rescinded admissions offers, 68.7% were due to final grades, 26.7% were due to falsified information on applications, and 25% were due to disciplinary issues. In other words, your admissions offer should still stand as long as you don’t neglect your classes, didn't lie on your application, and don't act out.
But it’s not just about your admissions offer. What if you get into real trouble? Like the kind of trouble that doesn't just affect your high school transcripts?
Toilet papering someone’s house might be funny in the moment, but arrests will stay on your record. Criminal convictions can also compromise your eligibility for financial aid, making it even more challenging for you to afford your dream college.
According to NACAC, Wilkes University of Pennsylvania—and many other colleges—offers merit-based scholarships to students based on their class rank at the time of application. Unfortunately, the school’s dean of enrollment revealed that most recipients end up losing between $1,000-3,000 in aid because their class rank plummets by the time graduation rolls around.
It isn’t uncommon for schools to cancel scholarships because of fallen grades and disciplinary issues. Did you receive an athletic scholarship to a particular college? Take your commitment to the high school team seriously to avoid having it revoked. Skipping practice to go to a beach party sounds a little less enjoyable now, doesn’t it?
Your college of choice will review your final transcripts and any disciplinary issues you may have had to make sure that you worked hard through high school graduation. This means that even after you receive an admissions offer, you’re only halfway there. In those last few months of high school, show up and do your work. Then, go have fun with your friends (but stay out of trouble).