How To Write A College Appeal Letter

No student wants to receive a thin envelope from their college of choice. Usually, this means that you’ll only find a rejection letter inside, rather than a packet of information about confirming your admission to the school. Although most decisions are final, you may want to challenge their choice by sending a college appeal letter. Sometimes, a letter appealing the rejection actually convinces a school to give you a chance, even though they initially decided not to accept you as a student.

Most students don’t even realize that this is an option, an colleges typically don’t get many letters appealing their decisions. Here’s how write such a letter if the school you want to attend rejects your application:

Read the rejection letter carefully. Most rejection letters are form letters that simply say they chose to give student spots to more qualified applicants. However, some colleges will actually give you reasons why you’ve been rejected. These are points you want to emphasize that you can change. For example, if you’ve been rejected because of your poor high school transcripts, you may want to send them your more recent grades (if you’ve been motivated to start achieving better grades).

Be professional. Although you might feel hurt and angry that you weren’t accepted, avoid accusations, whining, and long-winded letters about your situation. You want to make a personal connection to the letter’s reader, but being professional is important.

Avoid repeating information from your application. The college’s decisions committee already looked at that information and determined that it wasn’t good enough for entrance into their school. Instead, focus on things you might of left off the application, details that have chanced since you last applied, and other circumstances that you may have not included the first time around.

Address the letter to the right person. If the letter gets to the wrong department, those college staff members won’t be able to help you. If you’re unsure how to address the letter, call the college’s admissions office and ask. Be aware, however, that many colleges have pages on their websites devoted to their preferred appeal procedure (here’s an example).

Thank the college for reconsidering. It always pays to say thank you! Let them  know that you appreciate the time they spent evaluating your application initially and the time they will spend reconsidering their choice.

Remember, even with a great appeal letter, the college might still say no. If the college has already received a number of letters of intent from students they’ve already accepted, there may simply be no more room, even if you are convincing. Be prepared by applying to other schools so that you’ll be sure to receive at least one acceptance letter. For more appeal letter tips, check out College Planning Simplified. You can also find tips for applying to college, so that you aren’t rejected in the first place, from the U.S. Department of Education.

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