Offer Revocation Season

This is the start of the season when we start deciding whether to revoke admission offers.  The season starts when final grades become available, and lasts throughout the summer as we receive various exam scores and transcripts from around the world.  It’s always a bit painful for us, as we have to make hard decisions in some cases.  It’s certainly painful for applicants who lose their offer.

Almost all of our admission offers are made conditionally, i.e. they depend on achieving certain final averages and grades in required courses.  The specifics depend on the school system and sometimes other individual details, but as an example an Ontario school applicant is required to maintain a minimum 78% average and no required courses below 70%.  That shouldn’t be difficult, considering most of our programs required a mid to high 80s average to even be considered for an offer.  However, there is typically a small handful of people that come up short in some way.

We look at each case individually in detail.  We look at several factors such as:  what were the grades like when the offer was made compared to now?; are there verifiable and significant extenuating circumstances?; is the applicant likely to succeed in our program if admitted, based on our previous experience?  We may get several opinions internally and try to come up with a consensus decision.

The decision to revoke an offer is never taken lightly.  We know that an offer revocation possibly means the end of someone’s plans for university this year.  On the other hand, we have a long waiting list of applicants who maybe had better final grades and would like a spot if possible.  So there’s a bit of a fairness issue involved too, and in many cases we have to be hard-nosed (uncompromising) about the conditions.

I think the most unfortunate cases are the ones where the applicant was looking very good and got an early offer (perhaps in February), and then their final grades drop significantly.  We know from talking to high school teachers that some students slack off once they get their offer, which is one reason why we hesitate to send out too many early offers.  It doesn’t help their chances of success in university if they start with a weak preparation from the last semester of high school.  And slacking-off is also not a very promising personality trait for university success.

Hopefully we won’t get too many cases to deal with this year.  We have more pleasant tasks we would rather deal with, like getting ready for the 2013 admission cycle and advising those applicants.

15 thoughts on “Offer Revocation Season

  1. So does this mean if an early admitted student keep an average higher than 78 percent cannot lose his offer of admission? (assuming that 78 percent is specified as the condition on the offer)

    • The offer is safe as long as the conditions on the final grades are met, both overall average and the individual required course grades. The conditions will be spelled out on the offer letters, because they are different for various school systems. In Ontario for 2013, I think the conditions are an overall admission average of 79% and no required course below 70%.

      • I have been told by my school that the conditional offer can be revoked if the student have really bad attendance even if the average of 79% is achieved, is that true? I just want to find out that whether or not I am safe as long as I have a final average of 79

      • We don’t receive attendance information. As long as you get the diploma, with 79%+ and no required courses <70% (in Ontario) it's safe. But if you had over 85% and got a scholarship you'll lose that if you drop below 85%.

      • Thanks a lot, I was actually quite scared when my principal told me about this, because maintaining those marks isn’t a problem I was just afraid my offer might get revoked due to other reasons but hearing that is a relief

      • Hi Prof,
        Can a University revoke the admission and ask the student to go. The student has been admitted, paid the fees got University student Card, timetable, etc and is attending the classes. University is citing that due to an error by University they have admitted this student at a lower grade than the cut-off (0.4points less)
        The student is now traumatised and seeking help

  2. when you say overall admission average does that mean your top 6 marks? including your 5 mandatory courses and the extra M or U course? what if my 7th or 8th mark is really low will that affect the conditional offer?

  3. Hi. I’ve been conditionally accepted to one of the engineering programs.
    I am an applicant from Cegep system.
    This semester, I am taking linear2, E&M, Bio1 and English, Geography and French.
    Out of these courses, grades of which will affect the final admission offer?
    I am currently having hard time with E&M right now.
    Also, will the final grade of lower than 70 be likely to be considered as a revocation case?
    Thank you.

    • I don’t remember the specific details for the Cegep conditions…you might contact your Admission Officer. Cegep grades are treated differently because they are not typical “high school” grades and are generally lower, so the 70% minimum is not exactly applicable.

  4. Hi, I am a cegep applicant and I have been conditionally admitted to the engineering program. This semester, I am taking Biology 2 and I might have a failing grade, I am also taking Electricity and magnetism and my final average is slightly lower than 70%. I have completed more than 10 required courses from cegep. (Cal 1, cal2, cal3, mechanics, waves, general chem, chem of sol, bio1, organic chem…) Would that E&M grade affect Waterloo’s consideration for revocation? Or they only uses the top 6 for the final admission average? then E&M and bio2 would be excluded from the final admission average?
    thank you

  5. Hi Professor,
    I received and accepted my offer for computer engineering at Waterloo and I was wondering how significant of a drop in marks would cause my offer to be revoked. I am wondering because my admission average dropped from a 92 to a 91, lowest mark being 80, and worry about other applicants that have significantly higher final averages that qualify for the offer.

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