Preparing for College

Impact of Withdrawal from U. of Chicago in July to Accept Cambridge Admission

Question: I got accepted conditionally to Cambridge in England. My counselor told me I have to put down a deposit at an American school in case my AP scores don't pan out (my conditional acceptance requires AP scores) because I won't hear back about those until July, obviously way past the point that I could commit to a U.S. school. I got accepted at UChicago, and I sincerely feel it is the only school I could be happy at if I didn't make my offer. I do plan to study very hard and get my AP scores, so if things work out and I pulled out of Chicago do you think that it would reflect poorly on my school (it's a very small school - at about 50 people per graduating class) or reflect poorly on me down the road if I were to apply to grad school there?

Congrats on your acceptance to Chicago and your (almost) acceptance at Cambridge. Don’t worry … it will not reflect poorly on your high school (or on you) if you withdraw from Chicago after getting good news from Cambridge in July. All colleges build an anticipated “summer melt” into their enrollment decisions. They realize that some students will change plans … most commonly due to an acceptance from a waitlist; sometimes for personal reasons; and, occasionally, for a reason just like yours. They understand that the U.K, admissions process can necessitate that applicants wait for AP results but need to deposit elsewhere in the meantime.

So you shouldn’t have any concerns about withdrawing from Chicago if you have to. However, it can’t hurt to do it in a nice way … with a polite note thanking the admission folks for all of the efforts on your behalf and explaining the necessity of the late withdrawal due to your Cambridge acceptance. You can also point out that you may end up back in the Windy City in four years so you hope that they’ll still have the welcome mat out for you then.

(posted 3/22/2011)