How to Appeal an Admissions Decision

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Receiving a rejection letter can be a tough blow, more so if you are very keen on attending that particular college. You know you meet all of the college’s selection criteria and more. You’ve gone to great lengths to put together an outstanding application that was sure to impress the admissions authorities. So what went wrong and why was your application rejected? Could it have possibly been an oversight? Should you appeal the admission decision?

It’s a difficult decision to make. If you try to appeal an admission decision, it can take even more of your time and energy. It may even be fruitless. Would it be better to spend that time and money exploring your other options?

On the other hand, if you don’t pursue an appeal, you may always find yourself wondering, “What if…”

It’s not an easy decision but it’s one you have to make. These tips will help you.

When to Appeal and When Not To

If your circumstances have changed since you submitted your application, then it is worth considering an appeal. Maybe you completed a relevant course or you won an award after you sent in the application.

However, if you are planning to appeal an admission decision simply because you believe that you are a stronger candidate than most other applicants, you may be wasting your time. Yes, it may seem contradictory to advise students not to pursue an appeal when they have met and even surpasses all of the school’s requirements. However, very few colleges if any will even consider an appeal declaring ‘I am better than the other applicants’ as a valid reason to reconsider an application.

The truth is, admissions authorities are very thorough in their assessments of applicants. They pore over each application meticulously and weigh every aspect very carefully, from your grades and test scores to your personal essay and extracurricular activities. Your transcripts may be impressive but your personal essay may not have supported the promise you showed in your academic grades.

There’s a lot that goes into deciding whether to accept or reject an application. It’s not just any one thing. Appealing the decision simply because you think you deserve the admission more than the others may not give you the results you are hoping for. Far better to channel your energy into applying elsewhere.

If you have you have your heart set on attending a particular college, a better way to proceed would be to inquire as to why your application was rejected. You can then work on improving your weak points and submitting a stronger application during the next admissions cycle.

How to Appeal an Admission Decision

Do your research first

Every college has its own rule regarding appeal requests. Before you put any time and energy into drafting an appeal, first take the time to read through the admissions section of the college website.

Some colleges state very clearly that their decision is final and binding. They will not review any applications, no matter what the reason. In this case, pursuing the matter any further will more is simply not worth it. Use your energy and resources instead to explore your other options.

Other colleges may not mention anything about appeal requests, leaving the decision in your hands. In this case, you could contact the school and make inquiries over the phone or in person.

Still, other colleges give detailed guidelines as to how to proceed if you wish to appeal the decision. If there are instructions posted on the site, make sure you follow them implicitly.

Also, go through the rejection letter you received again. If it says outright that the decision is final, it may be better not to spend any more time on pursuing the matter. If there is no mention of a finalized decision, there is hope yet.

Act Fast Once You’ve Found the Information You Need

If you have received a rejection letter, it means that the school would have already sent out their acceptance letters too. Most of the seats may be filled up already. You need to act fast and send in your review request before all the seats are filled. Once that happens, there is just no way to accommodate another student no matter what.

You must proceed with either filling up the online appeals form or contacting the admissions office immediately after receiving the decision. The sooner you start the process, the sooner you will know whether an appeal is even possible. You’ll also know what information you need to submit to be re-considered.

Also, when you submit your appeal to the college early, you are more likely to hear back from them early. This gives you plenty of time to explore your back up options if your appeal is not successful. If you wait too long, you could miss out on those deadlines. That leaves you with either taking an unnecessary gap year or enrolling in a last-choice college.

Be Very Specific About The New Information You Wish to Present

The most common reason that colleges would even consider an appeal request is if there is some new information that has come to light after you submitted your original application.

Whether the new information is regarding an award you’ve won, a vocational course you’ve completed or revised GPAs or test scores, make sure you present the facts clearly and concisely for maximum impact. You want the person reviewing your application to be impressed enough to overturn their original decision. Don’t forget to send in all relevant documentation to support this new information.

Put in the Appeal Request Yourself

When you are asking a college to change their decision about you, it is imperative that the request comes from you personally. That means not from your teachers, parents or anybody else. By all means get their help if you need it, whether you need help to figure out how to proceed or you need help to put together a stronger application, but that’s it. The appeals letter must be written and submitted by you and no one else.

Colleges do not care much for your parents or teachers appealing on your behalf. They’d rather hear from you directly so that they can review and re-assess your work and your skills.

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