7 Tips for Appealing an Admissions Decision

The myOptions Team

When it comes to college admissions, no one is safe from rejection. Even the most qualified students get rejected ALL THE TIME. If you are the type of person who doesn’t take “no” for an answer, perhaps you are considering to appeal the decision. But is that the right move? Before you rush off to make an appeal, consider these points:

1. Research the policy of the school in question.

Some institutions have specific protocols and/or parameters established for this process, and other colleges might not allow for it at all. Look up this information and then begin crafting your appeal ASAP. (This is not a proposal that can linger).

2. Think carefully about the content of the appeal.

Simply stating that the admissions committee has made a grave mistake is not reason enough. You don't want to write a letter that merely second-guesses the school's decision. Universities put a lot of time and care into evaluating candidates; it's not prudent to suggest otherwise.

3. Do NOT compare yourself to classmates who have received an acceptance letter.

Insinuating that you were actually the stronger applicant will make you appear bitter and petty (not attributes schools want to see in their student bodies).

4. Do NOT highlight the fact that your rank, test scores, etc. fall within the mean for admitted students.

The college likely had to reject a number of applicants who fell within those same figures. Plus, it's a good rule of thumb to avoid reiterating information that was included with your original application.

5. If you've uncovered an error or an issue with your application, that is def something you should mention.

Was there a mistake in your GPA calculations? Were the wrong SAT/ACT scores submitted? While these are rarities, they do happen. If the admissions office evaluated your candidacy based on erroneous information, it certainly makes sense to reach out.

6. It may be worth it to appeal if you have new, significant information that could boost your candidacy.

A few examples: receiving remarkably improved test scores after the deadline, winning a prestigious award, or conducting important research in the field you wish to pursue. We can't guarantee that any of these will alter the decision, but they could be worth including.

7. Pay attention to the tone of your letter.

Make sure you don't beg, whine, or make excuses. Instead, be polite, direct, and mature. State your case in a friendly and thoughtful manner. And, of course, be sure to proofread. (Now is not the time to be making typos).

Disclaimer: It’s important to realize that it's rare to see an admissions decision reversed. Sadly, the vast majority of the time, appeals don't work. That being said, just because something is difficult or unlikely doesn't mean you shouldn't give it a try. Just be sure to walk through this process with realistic expectations.

Life is full of ups and downs, rejection included. Remember that being turned away from your top choice is not a reflection of who you are or your ability to find success. If you choose to appeal a decision, that's fine. Nevertheless, we urge you to look closer at the schools to which you were accepted! We assure you - they will be just as great.

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