Senioritis may not be a diagnostically recognized malady according to the AMA, but students and parents alike can probably give support to its real life existence. Particularly when students breathe the ah exhale of an early college acceptance and think they’re safely and assuredly in, they might want to think again. A dip in grades, even after acceptance, can turn that college yes into a no.

GPA Basics

In its simplest form, grade point average is calculated by assigning a numerical value to letter grades and dividing the resulting number by the number of courses taken. In a 4.0 scale, A equals 4.0 and F equals 0, with the other grades falling in between. For example, a student taking six courses and receiving the following grades: A (4.0), A-(3.70), B(3.0), C+(2.30), C(2.0), D- (.70) would add the numbers together and divide by six to receive a GPA 2.62 for that grading period. However, additional weight is granted for Honors and AP courses, and some classes have more credit value, so it is important to calculate GPA based on the individual school system. Colleges understand that high schools factor GPAs differently and transfer the myriad complexities into their own GPA calculators.


GPA is only one factor that determines college acceptance. Among the many other components considered are class ranking, course selection and content, SAT and ACT test scores, extra curricula activities, community involvement, individual strengths and talents, recommendations, essays and the overall fit for a student to a college.

Early Action or Early Decision

The GPA colleges first consider is the one they receive with a student’s application. Since many students apply Early Action or Early Decision, they may hear long before spring that they are accepted to the college of their choice. For those applying Early Decision, the process is over. By simply applying Early Decision, they promise to attend if accepted. Students applying Early Action may receive a positive response early, but they maintain the right to choose another school, if they desire. However, accepted students in either category also commit to maintaining their academic standing. Therefore, colleges can rescind offers of acceptance and financial aid awards if a student’s grades suddenly plummet. Colleges do indeed look at senior year grades.

Additional Contingencies

In addition to a drastic change in senior year GPA, colleges may also revoke offers of acceptance if a student demonstrates a profound lack of judgment or character. Students have lost college opportunities for being arrested or involved in cheating scandals. The discovery of lies on an application or evidence that a student has double-deposited by saying yes to two schools may also be reason for a college to reconsider.

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