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Mixed News For College Applicants

By CityTownInfo.com Staff
May 7, 2009

The news for college applicants is both optimistic and cautionary: If you haven't been accepted to a college you like, many schools still have plenty of room available for late applicants. But if you have been accepted, watch your back: This year, colleges and universities are more likely to rescind offers to senior high school students who slack off during their final semesters.

U.S. News & World Report writes that according to the National Association for College Admission Counseling, more than 250 colleges still have openings for freshmen students this fall. In addition, nearly all of the 1,152 community colleges across the country are accepting applications throughout the summer.

Late applicants will still be held to the same admission standards that a school normally expects; for example, a minimum grade-point average. Moreover, those applying now can expect more limited scholarship opportunities.

According to Inside Higher Ed, more colleges had openings in the last two years, but this year's total is exactly the same as in 2005 and one higher than in 2006.

Nevertheless, those who have been already accepted to colleges should not assume that the rest of senior year does not matter. USA Today reports that those who don't finish high school with a strong academic record may even have their college acceptances withdrawn.

Since many colleges have admitted more students this year than in the past, admission officials facing over-enrollment may rescind offers to students who haven't maintained their grades. Additionally, some colleges have admitted less students and plan to draw heavily from their wait lists. But in deciding who will be considered, admission officials are more likely to scrutinize academic performance during senior year.

"The stakes have compounded exponentially this year because of the uncertainty we're facing," explained Doug Christiansen, dean of admission at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, who was quoted in USA Today.

Revoked admission offers are not a new phenomenon. According to NACAC, 69 percent of the admission offers that were rescinded in 2007 were the result of final grades 69 percent of the time, while disciplinary problems accounted for 25 percent.

Yet this year, officials expect the phenomenon to grow. Sue Wilbur, director of undergraduate admissions for the University of California, anticipates that about 50 admission offers may be withdrawn at each of their nine campuses. "All campuses are very carefully managing their numbers to come in on their enrollment targets," she remarked.

This would mean bad news for some students expecting to begin college in the fall. Since some high schools mail out final transcripts late in the summer, college applications could be rescinded as late as August -- which may not even leave enough time to apply to those schools that still have openings.

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