My son has always gotten good grades through his HS career and is ahead of his peers in math and science. He was originally trying to get into the US Naval Academy and, to that end, chose to take honors Calculus and AP Physics his senior year to try and look as good as possible. The Naval Academy did not pan out and he was accepted and committed to another college, and offered a pretty good scholarship.
He struggled a lot in both of these classes, but especially in Calculus. While it looks like he will have a C in AP Physics, it is looking very likely that his final grade in Calc will be a D. He has never gotten a D in anything and it is not from "senioritis" - he worked hard and just could not get it.
Would this cause his college to change their minds regarding acceptance or the amount of the scholarship?
Colleges can rescind admissions and scholarships at their own whim anytime so it's very important to get ahead of this problem as soon as possible. The last thing either of you want is to find out that he is not going to matriculate into the college you sent your deposit into this month.
The typical rule of thumb is that college have expectations that the admitted student keep their coursework and GPA on autopilot and maintain their grades until graduation. They do not like it when incoming freshmen mess up during the last semester of graduation. I think it's safe to say that if you are an A student and you finish up with a mix of As and Bs, you are in the clear. But if you have Cs and Ds, you are now living at the mercy of the college that accepted you. These days when Waitlists are incredibly long and deep with qualified applicants, colleges know that swapping out someone with a waitlist candidate is much easier than taking a risk on someone that poses any sort of risk of struggling at college or graduating on time.
I asked my dad who had shared a story with his friend's daughter who got accepted into UCLA as a development candidate, meaning that she was a VIP because her family donated $2.5 million to UCLA to secure her place in the class with the office of the Provost. But she had senior-itise at her private NE Boarding school and got Cs and Ds the very last term. She made the assumption that dad bought her a seat at UCLA so it was a done deal. But her UCLA admission was rescinded over the summer after graduation and she ended up at city arts college. I don't think this affected the girl as much as the parents who had spent a fortune with private K-12 education and lost their donation on top of it.
Contact the college immediately before your son graduates and be completely transparent and honest with them. I think you have to go into the discussion with a loaded gun, so let them know that your son will enroll in a community college or an online school like Outlier.org this summer and complete either Calculus with a passing grade or both Calculus/Physics with passing grades (if he ends up with non-passing grades) prior to matriculating this fall. If you do not have a plan to correct this, you will be at the mercy and discretion of the college. They will not have a conference with you and discuss with you corrective solutions with you, unless you reach out to them first! Otherwise you might receive a letter/email informing you of their final decision which is not appealable after the fact.
Good luck to you both.
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