College admission decisions are rolling in every day now, brining both tears of joy and tears of sorrow.
College admission denials can be painful, even if expected. Many students (and parents!) are very distraught after receiving an admission rejection and feel the need to submit an appeal to the college. If a student decides to move forward with the appeal process, they should be aware of what the college is looking for in a request.
The first step towards an appeal is to review the campus appeal process. Most colleges have very clear appeal directions posted on their website. DO NOT CALL THE ADMISSIONS OFFICE. Many students (and parents!) are tempted to call the college to ask why the student was denied admission in hopes of addressing this point head on in their appeal request. Do not ask this question because colleges can or will not give a direct answer. Most colleges will not be able to point to one solitary item which caused the admission denial.
When reviewing an appeal request, colleges are looking for “new and compelling evidence not previously included on the initial application” and/or a “situation beyond the student’s control.” Below are examples of both items.
Examples of items that are NOT new and compelling:
- Improving one or more grades in Fall or Spring semester of senior year
- Correcting errors on the application (i.e., AP courses were not input correctly, grades were input incorrectly, any academic information that was not included in the original application)
- Increased extracurricular activity in senior year
- Winning an award or distinction since time of application
- Student was admitted to X College so they should be admitted to Y College (i.e., student was admitted to UCLA but not UCSD).
- The student really-really-really wants to go to that college !
Examples of new and compelling evidence not within student control: (NOTE – these situations DO NOT guarantee an appeal overturn, these are simply examples of the types of situations that colleges may be flexible with)
- New or worsening medical condition that will require the student to remain living at home (student must attend local college)
- Death of an immediate family member which results in student being required to take on leadership role in family, necessitating student to live in a particular geographic region
- Recently established extraordinary financial hardship (student needs to attend an affordable college option)
Appeal Process Overview:
- Be sure to follow the campus directions precisely. Most colleges have very clear appeal directions posted on their website.
- Most college have very short windows to apply (usually within 15 days of the admission decision).
- Most colleges will only review requests submitted in writing (no phone calls or in person visits).
- Most colleges will require documentation to verify new and compelling situation.
- Colleges do their best to respond quickly but the process may take a few to several weeks for the student to receive an answer.
- Once answered, appeal decisions are final. The student cannot appeal the appeal.
What to expect:
Every appeal submitted is reviewed, but traditionally the number of appeal requests resulting in a change of admission decision are extremely low. For example, several UC’s receive 150 to 200 appeal requests and will approve less than 10. Due to COVID-19, this year may be different.