My nephew was so excited to be admitted to the University of Maryland Honors College. It is a rigorous academic program, with selective admission, and delivers high quality education affordably. Kiplinger’s ranked University of Maryland number eight in the country for top-value public colleges this year, and the Honors College is its elite program for “students with exceptional academic talents.” So, like any bright, accomplished high school senior with all the stars aligned, his response to his good fortune was to stop going to school. I’m only exaggerating a little.
Senioritis is hardly original. High schools and colleges (and parents) know it’s coming. But there are certain limits, and the colleges make it clear that they are still in control by publishing warnings in letters of admission, such as: “Your admission is contingent on the successful completion of the final year of high school.” Hopefully, your high school senior has managed to keep it together enough to finish well (or at least well-enough). But if he has really checked out, like my nephew, he may, like Lucille Ball, “have some ‘splaining to do.” Ultimately, my nephew’s acceptance was not rescinded.
Colleges do, indeed, look at the final transcript, and diploma, to confirm successful completion of high school. One admissions officer I spoke to explained that a C (or even two) on that final quarter report will not cause real problems for the soon-to-be-college student, but a dramatic decline in overall performance likely will trigger some questions from the college, which will need to be answered – with some justifiable, believable, cause (e.g., illness, serious family situation, earthquake, etc., not the shoulder shrug of days gone by, reluctantly witnessed by the parent).
Being a slacker is one reason for having your admissions rescinded, but there are others: academic suspension or expulsion; criminal arrest; lying on the college application; failure to graduate from high school; making a deposit at more than one college. It’s boring advice for students, but I’ll serve it up anyway: Seniors, don’t take your good fortune for granted. What has been given can also be taken away, so, walk the line. If you don’t want to listen to me, or to your own parents, just refer to the Urban Dictionary definition – maintain that balance between the extremes of your life right now – good and evil, decency and decadence. Behave. Abide by the law. Walk the straight and narrow. Do so, and all will be well (at least college admissions-wise).