Imagine being told that you have won admission to one of your top choice colleges, an elite school where you will have the opportunity to mingle with influential people and have great job prospects when you graduate. You completed your FAFSA and have a great financial aid package lined up to take care of the cost. Then, in the late spring of your senior year, you get word from the school that your admission has been rescinded.

Suddenly, the bottom drops out of your world as your dreams go up in smoke. Why? Because you thought you could let yourself slide a little and not work so hard, because you’d already gotten what you wanted. You didn’t think your spring term activities would matter once you were in. Unfortunately, you were wrong.

Colleges Can Rescind Offers of College Admission

According to an article in the New York Times, author Laura Pappano said, “Colleges are making sure students stay on track by extending the admissions period in that twilight between acceptance and arrival on campus.”

The College Board (the authority behind the PSAT and SAT exams) notes that one year the University of Colorado at Boulder rescinded admission of 45 students who had been through freshman orientation, selected their classes, and met their roommates.

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Highlight Those Amazing Talents

If you have a special ability or skill, such as playing a sport, a musical instrument, are a champion debater, or have led your high school’s Model United Nations group, why not expand on those abilities and continue to challenge yourself for an additional year? Not only will you continue to hone your abilities, you will also assure the admissions staff at the college of your choice that you will continue to do well once you step foot on their campus.

This is especially important for student athletes who aspire to obtain an athletic scholarship. NCAA rules vary by sport, but all students are required to maintain academic and athletic standards during and after the recruiting process. It will be virtually impossible to obtain an athletic scholarship of any kind if a student doesn’t have the minimum coursework and grades during the senior year of high school.

A Head Start on Freshman Year? Sounds Great!

Senior year can also be a great time to get a jump on college credit. Does your school offer AP courses? Can you register for a single course at a local college? Some states offer formal programs for high school students to finish senior year and get community college credit at the same time.

This idea not only offers the challenge of a new academic environment, but is among the smarter financial aid strategies when cost is a concern for the student’s family. AP courses will also set the stage for the more challenging academic courses in college.

You’ve worked hard for three years to make college admission possible. Make the fourth one count too. You’re almost there, and once you’re in, you’ll want to be sure your skills are up to par so you can stay.