In life, it’s a guarantee that you will not get everything you want. This applies to toys, dates, vacations, and, for some of us, college applications.
So what should you do when the college you want to enter turns you down?
After the despair, the disappointment, the bitterness, and the crying, you might be thinking about submitting an appeal. This may not be a bad idea, but there are things you have to consider.
Before you pen an appeal, find out if the college accepts appeals. Not all colleges will, as a matter of policy.
It should be mentioned outright that most appeals are unsuccessful. However, if you still want to try in the off chance that they will see your reasoning, go ahead and do so.
If the college you want happens to consider appeals, how should you go about writing one?
What Your Appeal Letter Should Have
Things you can do to make your appeal letter more appealing are pointing out omissions or mistakes, supplying new information, or adding personal information. It can be one or the other, or even all three if you deem it necessary.
Omissions or Mistakes
Perhaps one reason why you were rejected was because your GPA was not reported correctly. Or things like your extracurricular activities, special honors, or some awards or citations were left out. Sometimes even the littlest things can make a big impact where your application is concerned.
Take note that some colleges will only consider this if the GPA was miscalculated by a full letter grade.
Let’s say you surmise the college rejected you because your SAT or ACT scores weren’t that high. Perhaps you did retake the SAT or ACT again and scored higher the second time.
Some colleges will only consider this if the SAT or ACT score has improved significantly.
If you have nothing else to bolster your case, you can include personal information. Take the case of Kevin Adler who was able to successfully appeal a rejection by UC Berkeley.
In his letter, Adler talks about many things, including his ambition, his admiration for UC Berkeley, and even mentions extracurricular activities like his involvement in an anti-drugs movement and the tennis team. He even mentions his mother’s battle with breast cancer.
He also throws in personal reminiscing of what his father told him about the school. He was able to combine all that into an appeal letter that worked.
What Not to Include in That Letter
Almost as important as what to include in the letter are things that should NOT be included in the letter.
Leave the negative emotions out of it. This is a formal letter after all, not an agony column. Yes, you were hurt by the rejection. You felt bitter and disappointed. Frankly, they don’t care about your emotions. Including how frustrated you were in that appeal letter will not only make your letter read like a drama piece, it will also create a poor reflection of your character.
Also, do not mention comparisons. Let’s say you happen to know someone who has a lower GPA, SAT and ACT scores, but was somehow accepted into that college. Or that a college just as prestigious as them accepted your application. It won’t do you any good to mention these. You are practically telling them they made a mistake.
Remember that your letter has to be compelling, not emotional.