How to Write an Appeal Letter for College Admission Rejections

Generally, an appeal letter for college is a letter that you write to a college admissions office when you believe there is a good reason they should let you into their institution.

Applying to colleges can be a difficult but ultimately rewarding process; however, you may not be admitted to the university of your choice at the outset of the application process.

How to Write an Appeal Letter for College Admission Rejections

Many colleges provide an admissions appeals process, which allows students to challenge admissions choices and submit extra evidence for consideration by the school in question.

If they originally denied you admission to a university, one option for requesting an appeal is to write an appeal letter to that university. Or you can see the best way to apply without being denied an admission.

Here, we will discuss what an appeal letter for college is, how to write an appeal letter for college, and what the format of an appeal letter for college should look like.

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When you believe you should have been accepted into college but were not, you can submit an appeal letter to the college’s admissions office.

This letter may be used to explain why you did not perform as well academically as they had anticipated, or it may be used to fix an error in the transcripts that were provided to them.

It is important to understand that the procedure for appealing an admissions decision differs depending on the college or university.

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But, before you write, make sure you have a valid reason for appealing. An appeal is rarely warranted.

Do not write an appeal if you have no new information to report to a college. Ensure the college accepts appeal letters before sending one.

Your letter must include the following:

  • Write to your admissions representative.
  • Present a valid grounds to appeal.
  • Do not be furious or whiny.
  • Keep your letter short and sweet.

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“Each college has its own rules regarding admission appeals,” explains Pam Ohriner, who works in the admissions department. Foremost, a candidate should contact the Admissions Office to learn about the appeals process.

If a school accepts an appeal, find out how to file it and what information we need to do so. It’s important to remember that each institution has the authority to establish its own appeals policies. Follow their instructions to the letter.

The vast majority of schools review the appeal for additional information that was not accessible at the time of the original application.

Alternatively, it can be used to correct an inaccuracy in the initial application, such as incorrect grades, missing or erroneous test scores, or an unreported honor or award that was not previously disclosed. They may seek for evidence to support their assertions. Make preparations to dispatch them.

Finally, the likelihood of a successful appeal is extremely low. It is recommended that applicants make a deposit at the school of their choice and understand that an appeal is improbable.

How to Write an Appeal Letter for College Admission Rejections
How to Write an Appeal Letter for College Admission Rejections

Appeal Advice

The author and college admissions specialist, Reecy Aresty, argues, “Appeal is a good idea.” It is quite rare that it works! Any decision can be appealed, but my finest result was getting the school to approve a sophomore transfer application, which was my most difficult goal.

Her grades (2.8) were lower than the expected (3.0), and she was therefore denied admission. My appeals have only been successful a handful of times during my 33-year career. “I’m sure that happens every now and then, but it’s rare these days with so many programs available.”

“You can file an appeal, and in certain situations, it will be successful,” says Megan Dorsey, SAT Prep & College Advisor. I would not advise you to appeal a denial from a highly selective institution.

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Each year, these colleges are forced to turn away qualified applicants. My students have had the most luck appealing college decisions that were relatively competitive in the first place. Last year, I was involved in a student appeal at a public state institution.

Following his initial interaction with the admissions counselor, he was invited to submit essays and letters of recommendation. He went through the ACT again. If you are in doubt, call the admissions office and ask if you can file an appeal if you have been denied admission.

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Having excellent grades while also volunteering and juggling a busy extracurricular schedule may be beneficial, but it is not a guarantee of acceptance into a renowned university.

However, submitting a faultless application that clearly reflects a teen’s identity and objectives is an excellent strategy for impressing admissions officials and increasing acceptance rates.

Here are some reasons why your college application can be rejected;

The candidate lacks academic credentials.

Experts argue that high school courses and grades are the best predictors of college performance.

Most universities consider a student’s application as a whole, not simply grades and test scores, but admissions counselors want to know that students have a solid foundation to take on hard courses.

The application is lacking. 

Applications with missing exam scores, letters of recommendation, or other materials will be delayed.

Before submitting missing application components, students should review the requirements.

The school isn’t right.

Admissions officers don’t expect students to have specific professional or academic goals, but they do want them to grasp the college’s mission and how it may help them achieve them.

Before applying, be sure the college offers the type of education and experience the candidate seeks. What can teens give the college community?

Too many mistakes.

When applying to Hampton, don’t put Howard. Experts say that while some admissions authorities would forgive a tiny error, sending an application full of typos and errors suggests that the applicant isn’t serious about the college or lacks writing skills.

“Get two or three sets of eyes on your qualifications before you submit,” advises Angela Nixon Boyd, Hampton University’s dean of admissions.

The student has a history of misbehavior.

Character is important to many colleges and institutions, so if students have had issues with suspensions or anything like that, it will effect their selection, says Nixon Boyd.

Suspension is not a denial cause. A history of fighting or being disruptive in class will have a greater impact, according to Nixon Boyd.

Students with suspensions can explain them in their applications.

Demand exceeds supply. 

At Dartmouth, Lee Coffin is the director of admissions and financial help. “We have a greater number of eligible, smart, and intriguing students than we can enroll,” he says.

According to Coffin, Dartmouth accepted approximately 10 percent of the more than 20,000 applications received in 2016.

According to him, “we want to fill the class with people who will contribute to the development of the community we’re working on.” The demands of the community change from year to year and can include academics, cultural diversity, and athletics.

Teens who clearly define their interests, objectives, and potential are more likely to be considered for the freshman class if they provide a detailed description of themselves.


How to write a college appeal letter:

1. Know the appeals process

Colleges may or may not have a formal appeals process, with instructions posted on their website or included in their mailings, depending on the institution.

Alternatively, colleges that do not have a formalized appeals process may be more accommodating, or they may refuse to consider any appeals at all.

When considering whether to appeal an admissions decision, it is important to research the college’s appeals process. You may need to conduct additional research or speak with someone at the university in order to obtain additional information.

After you have learned the technique, you will be able to plan your actions. It is possible that you will not need to compose a letter for your appeal application, or that you will need to submit the material in a letter.

If you need to gather material for your appeal, such as transcripts or other supporting documents, follow the processes outlined by the admissions office. If your potential institution does not state expectations, gather whatever you believe to be the most relevant and useful information.

2. Appeal fast

If you’ve appealed and are certain that you want to do so, take action quickly. It shows to the university that you are enthusiastic about attending and are not waiting to hear back from other schools.

This shows to them that you are serious about them. Additionally, the admissions office is likely to be in charge of handling admissions deadlines and other areas of admissions planning, so make sure they get all of the information they require as soon as possible.

The department heads, the dean, and the admissions office will get your appeal letter, which will include information about you that they will use in their decision-making process about new students.

Make sure you deliver your information to these busy university officials as soon as possible because they will be making admissions decisions on a school-determined timeframe.

3. Self-represent 

It’s tempting to ask a parent, guardian, or even a guidance counselor to do this for you. But it’s ideal if the university hears it directly from you.

You are the one who participated in your schooling, took admissions tests, will attend college, and wishes to appeal their admissions decision.

Also, by representing yourself and creating your own college appeal letter, you show your possible school that you’re ready to be self-reliant.

4. Detail the circumstances.

Your letter should clarify the circumstances, and you shouldn’t worry about including too many supporting documents, as long as they are appropriate.

This shows the school that their efforts to review your appeal won’t be wasted if they accept you but you choose to attend another school.

5. Show your reality

Consider including a list of extenuating circumstances that contributed to your failure to meet the university’s criteria.

For example, if you have a chronic disease or a learning difficulty, you can explain how you’ve managed it and how it would be different at college.

This includes moving, losing a family member, or any other personal issue that impacted your schooling.

6. Be friendly

Your letter should be professional, but also personable. Avoid accusing the admissions office or getting enraged by the need to appeal.

Instead, focus on why you want to go to that institution, why you are qualified, and why you want your acceptance reassessed.

Being pleasant and friendly in your letter can help you appear more human to people considering your admission.

7. Make a backup plan just in case

Depending on the university, appealing may or may not work. If your appeal fails, you should have a backup plan.

The institution may not accept your appeal, but you’ll likely have some time to think after submitting it.

Making other arrangements can help divert you and offer you something nice to look forward to regardless of the university’s decision.


While you’re waiting, consider your alternatives. Check to see if you’ve been accepted to any other universities that you’d like to learn more about, or if you haven’t applied to any yet and still have time.

This is an excellent moment to examine several options and, if necessary, to seek additional information.


Can I ask a college why I was rejected?

You can ask why you weren’t accepted, but you probably won’t get an answer, at least not what you expected.

Why do universities reject you?

There could be lots of reasons your application wasn’t successful this time round: competition from other applicants, grade requirements, your personal statement.

Do college rejection appeals work?

Yes you can appeal rejections at many colleges. It RARELY works. I only recommend that students appeal if some key evidence was missing from the original application.

Do rejection letters come first?

No. For undergrad admissions, that is done all at one time (within a day) and everyone is notified at once if they are admitted or rejected or placed on the wait list.

How long does it take for a college to make a decision?

If an applicant completes their application after November 1 of their senior year, they will typically have an admission decision within six to eight weeks.

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