Conditional Offers: What You Need to Know

Posted by Sam on February 11, 2016

Academic Success | Journey to the Centre of York

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As graduating high-school students become more and more excited with the approach of June, one important part of university will be occupying their — your — minds: offers of admission from your universities of choice. Some of you will have already received an offer, while others might still be anxiously awaiting that notification. Either way, you might be wondering how you will ever manage to narrow down your choices to one program and school. Yet it’s important to keep something else in mind . . . many of the offers you will undoubtedly receive are conditional.

What does that mean? Let’s find out.



What conditions do I have to meet?

Conditions can vary, so it’s important to take a close second look at your offer and any important language it might include. Conditional offers usually encompass components such as:

  • passing certain prerequisite courses
  • maintaining a set GPA
  • providing relevant supplementary paperwork, evaluations or portfolios
  • being eligible to graduate

Image displaying the phrase: "I agree to the terms of service"

How do I know what GPA to maintain?

Canadian high-school students who receive an offer are directed to a webpage dedicated to informing newly admitted students of their conditions and next steps. This site provides lots of information, including how to check and meet your admission conditions. There’s an area on the page where you can enter your home province and the program(s) to which you have been accepted. Once you have provided that information, you will see the specific courses you need to complete, the diploma required (from high school) and a note about the admissions GPA used and the final GPA required.

At York, offers are extended based on your most up-to-date grades in the six courses required for your university program of choice. That means that if you’re currently enrolled in a grade 12 prerequisite course for your program, and therefore don’t yet have a final grade in that course, York will calculate your GPA based on the equivalent grade 11 course for the moment. Depending on the time of year, York will be calculating your admission average using a combination of grade 11 and grade 12 marks (typically January through early April) OR using all grade 12 courses (typically late April through July). Final conditions are checked once your grade 12 final marks are in and processed (typically in July). York will use these final grades for the calculation of your GPA and to determine your potential scholarship eligibility — so keep working hard!

What happens if my GPA slips?

That depends on your offer and your program of choice. Most programs allow some flexibility for small changes in GPA from the time the offer is made to when the final grades are received. Highly competitive programs will often demand that applicants maintain the same average on finals as they required for a conditional offer of admission based on midterm or interim grades. In general, always aim to uphold or raise your GPA, and a last push of hard work might even result in a higher entrance scholarship. Don’t give up!

Man walking in school field fist pumping the air.

Summer school is another option if it was just a class or two that brought your GPA down. Just make sure you remember to give York a heads-up, so that the University knows to wait for your summer school marks to come in, rather than just for your final exam grades, typically received in early July. Forgetting this step could mean the difference between a retained or withdrawn offer! You can also always contact York’s Office of Admissions to double-check the GPA you should be aiming for. Make sure to have your York reference number on hand, so the assessors can look up your file if needed.

My conditional offer is ending soon, but I haven’t yet decided that this is the university I want to attend. What should I do?

Applicants currently enrolled in Ontario high schools have until June 1 to accept their offer of admission, whereas applicants from out-of-province high schools have until May 1 to accept. We recommend that you accept your conditional offer to York on MyFile by or before the deadline date indicated on your offer letter, so that it doesn’t time out. If you end up deciding that another university makes for a better fit, you can always cancel your acceptance of York’s offer and say yes to a different university. This way you don’t lose your conditional offer and keep your options open!

Is there anything else I should know?

Instead of a conditional offer, you might also receive an alternate offer. For example, if you don’t meet the requirements for a Psychology BSc in the Faculty of Health, you might receive an offer for a Psychology BA instead. In this case, if you end up raising your GPA, you may still be eligible for your original choice — as long as you have completed all the necessary prerequisite courses. There are lots of options!

If you have any other questions about conditional offers, feel free to comment below, tweet @yorkustudents or post to York’s Facebook page. Best of luck with your final months of grade 12!

(NOTE: This post is a revamped and expanded version of a post published by my blogging cohort Megan Collins on February 10, 2015.)


Sam recently graduated with an Honours BA in Communications.

See other posts by Sam