College Admissions Rescinded – How to Protect Yourself

By now, you probably heard about U.C. Irvine’s decision to rescind 499 students admissions offer to attend this coming fall. As you can imagine, this is not a good thing for those students, nor is it a position you want to be in. So, what can you do? It’s the schools right to accept and then rescind an offer, right? Absolutely, it is! But note, this has happened in the past at other schools. You see, rescinded offers can happen for cause, as well as no cause. The University of California, had a problem with their system, where 28,000 students received acceptance letters by mistake in 2009. A couple of years ago, one of my client’s was attending Freshman Orientation weekend with their daughter and a group of students engaged in under-age drinking while on campus that resulted in them being sent home and their admissions rescinded. Then we have Harvard, who rescinded a group of students admissions offers in June of 2017 because of obscene meme’s posted on social media. As you can see, it can happen for a variety of reasons.

In the world of project management, we call this a known unknown risk; meaning we know it is a risk factor, so, we can now plan for it in the event it happens. Because families don’t think of this as an option, they are blindsided when it does happen; leaving them unprepared, frustrated, lost and confused. As a result, all college-bound families should have a contingency plan in place when planning to transition from high school to college. The goal is to mitigate the impact of this happening, since it is out of their control. Nothing is absolute, but here are some tips families can follow to ensure they have options and are not left out in the cold.

  1. Don’t let “senioritis” take over your child. Admissions is granted prior to the completion of student’s senior year. This doesn’t mean students can forget their studies and stop doing homework. Letting their grades tank could result in a rescinded offer, as schools require final transcripts upon high school graduation. According to a study by the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC), colleges say final grades are the reason for revoking admission 68.7 percent of the time.
  2. Meet obligations, but verify weekly. This is what I teach leaders constantly, “trust, but verify.” You can’t do everything and be everywhere. Schools are funneling tens and hundreds of thousands of files, paperwork and information every year and things can happen. After you submit required paperwork, documentation and pay necessary fees, call the school on a bi-weekly basis to ensure all is in order, nothing is missing and nothing has changed.
  3. Never let your child stop managing their brand. Once graduation time has come, students often lose sight of responsible decision making. They look at the summer as “free time” and a time to let loose and have lots of fun. This is fine, but it need to be within reason and not result in any legal encounters (run ins with the law). Nor should it produce irresponsible social media posts that don’t represent the values of the school or scholarship organization your child will partake in.
  4. Don’t get too comfortable during Freshman Orientation. Freshman Orientation and other campus related invites and activities are additional opportunities for the school to further evaluate whether or not your child is a good fit for their school. It’s like “being on the clock” at work while attending a networking or corporate event. Irresponsible behavior and illegal actions are unacceptable! It’s never too late for a school to rescind their offer.
  5. Have a double backup plan. Families should apply to multiple schools, giving them options. If acceptance was granted, there is a great chance an opportunity still exists, if the original offer was rescinded. Now, the money opportunity may not be the same, but that could be negotiated if your child possess the qualities the school is willing to pay for. As a last resort, attending a community college and transferring later to the school of choice is a way to still start college in the fall. This gives you time to recalibrate and work through the unexpected changes, while being productive at the same time.

Some of these options require sacrifice and/or may not be ideal, but it at least gives your family options. This is better than having no options and stressing about next steps in the midst of the chaos of having your admissions offer rescinded.

“The time to be ready, is never the time to get ready. You must always stay ready!”

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