In Some Cases It Is Possible to Appeal a Rejection But It's Rarely Successful
You were denied admission to your top-choice college. Now what? Most students and parents accept the bad news and move on, while others want to know why. In some cases it is possbile to appeal your admission decision, and every year many students take advantage of it. Success stories are few and far between, but overturning an admission decision is not impossible. There is anecdotal evidence that appeals can be successful. So the question remains – should you appeal your admission decision?
There are a number of factors to consider. For a lot of students, the fact that only a small (read: small) number of decisions are overturned is too daunting. We’re talking single digits here. For others, it’s a last chance to prove that they should be admitted.
At IvyWise, we generally discourage students from trying to appeal their college rejections. It’s a process that rarely yields the results students are looking for, and it takes away from the process of evaluating offers from colleges where you were accepted. Why waste your time on a college that has said it won’t offer you admission when you have others that have? Rejection is never easy and takes some time to process, but the best course of action is typically to just accept it and move on. However, in some cases it is possible to appeal an admission decision. If students do choose to appeal, it’s often because that school was their absolute top-choice and they can’t imagine going anywhere else. (This is why it’s very important to apply to a balanced college list of best-fit colleges, any of which you’d be happy to attend.)
Each college has its own appeals process; some are more formal and detailed, while others make no mention of it on their website. And some may not allow students to appeal their decisions at all. It’s important to know what a college’s policy is should you want to appeal your decision.
If you decide to go ahead with it, the appeal should come from you (the student); not a parent, teacher, counselor, etc. The college wants to hear from you as to why they should consider overturning your admission decision. Don’t forget to be very specific so colleges have all the facts. Make sure everything is in writing and that you provide backup documentation if you can. And you better do it quick! The enrollment deadline is May 1st for all colleges and universities.
Our most important piece of advice is that whether or not you decide to challenge your admission decision, don’t let that rejection define you. No one said that rejection is easy, and it may take some time to get over it. Wherever you decide to enroll, try to put your best foot forward. Think about how you can further your education best and make an impact on campus.
If you do choose to move forward with a decision appeal, may the odds be ever in your favor. But remember – it’s imperative to have a backup plan in case the appeal doesn’t work out. We always advise our students to apply to a well-balanced list of 10-12 schools that they would be happy to attend. You should already have some other college choices that would be a great fit for you!