How to write an appeal letter for college.

A man writes an appeal letter for college.

To be denied entry or dismissed from school can be emotionally devastating, but you might have the chance to appeal that decision. Learn how to write an appeal letter for school.

Nearly all colleges and universities have an appeals policy that permits students to submit, in writing, any extenuating circumstances that admissions or disciplinary boards should consider. If you feel that a decision that affects your future was made without all the necessary information, use the appeals process to state your case.

Learning how to write an appeal letter for college can be daunting, but fear not — with these simple tips, you’ll learn how to write a college appeal letter in no time.

What is an appeal letter for college?

An appeal letter for college is a letter you send to your college’s admissions office. This letter gives you another chance to make a case for why they should overturn your admissions decision.

You can use this letter to provide new information and explain any extenuating circumstances you experienced that caused you not to perform as well academically.

Although the appeal process is different for every college, most colleges will only review their admissions decision if you have new information that wasn’t included in your original application.

Steps for how to write an appeal letter for college.

Your appeal may be your last shot at reaching your educational goals, so make it count.

The school’s administrators will consider what you say and how you present your situation in the final decision. There are tools that will help you generate and sign a professional-looking PDF. You can also find tools to create a high-quality PDF appeal letter using Adobe Acrobat online services.

Below you can read about the steps you can take to write an appeal letter for your college.

What to include when writing an appeal letter for college.

An appeal letter should include an introduction, two body paragraphs, and a conclusion, staying between 250 to 300 words in total. This can be tricky because you want to make sure you are touching on everything that needs to be explained while at the same time keeping your letter brief. Below is a list of the things you will need to include in an appeal letter for college:

What to avoid when writing an appeal letter for college.

When writing your letter, remember to avoid being accusatory toward the admissions office and their decision. Keeping a friendly and humble tone can be helpful for those reviewing your letter.

In addition, you may want to avoid the following:

Best practices to write a college appeal letter.

Although an appeal letter doesn’t mean the admissions committee at your college will automatically review and reverse their decision and accept you, there are certain ways you can improve your letter and make a strong case for yourself. Here are some ideas to help you write and create the best school appeal letter possible:

Understand the appeals process.

Remember to check whether your school accepts appeal letters. You’ll want to research the specific process for your college. Although many schools list this process on their website, some may not, so you may need to prepare to do some digging — and even reach out to someone from the school to get more information.

After you learn more about the process, you can plan what you need to do and what information you’ll be required to present. Some schools may ask you to only send a letter, but others may require you to send transcripts or other paperwork.

Appeal quickly.

Don’t take too much time to prepare to appeal the college’s decision. Although a school website may not specifically share how long they’ll accept appeal letters, most schools will typically only read them for three to four weeks after releasing admissions decisions.

That being said, you should still take a few days to think about what you want to write in your letter and process your feelings of confusion, sadness, or anger about the school’s initial decision.

Represent yourself.

By writing your own letter of appeal, you also demonstrate honesty and responsibility for your education. The admissions committee will always want to hear directly from you and read your own words since you are the one who will be attending the college.

Explain the situation in detail.

Present the facts you believe they were unaware of when they made their decision. Explain why this new information should affect it. You can also clearly outline your plan to remedy any issues that contributed to the problem.

In general, remember that the purpose of your letter is to explain your situation. You shouldn’t feel the need to include many details unless they’re relevant to your main point.

Reveal your reality.

Be honest about your circumstances. If there’s anything about you personally that affected your previous education and you have documentation to prove it, you can include it in your letter.

You may also want to add any other extenuating circumstances that had an impact on your academic performance, such as a learning disability, the loss of a family member, or other difficult experiences.

Be kind and friendly.

While writing your letter of appeal, don’t forget to keep a friendly, respectful, and humble tone. Being polite and approachable can help you seem more professional and human to those reviewing your admission and avoid offending them.

The letter voice should also be positive. Dwelling on your rejection too much can be off-putting, but using an optimistic tone can show your passion for attending this school.

Successful academic appeal letter sample.

May 5, 2023

Dear Dean and Members of the Admissions Committee,

I am writing to appeal my rejection from Ivy University. Although I understand that you may have received hundreds of appeal requests, I have valuable information that wasn’t available when I first submitted my application. I have since received my SAT retake score, which has improved considerably.

The SAT score that I submitted was 1250, and on a retake, I scored 1500. When I first took the SAT, I was experiencing a health issue that significantly affected my ability to focus and study. However, once I was able to get help from doctors to diagnose my condition and begin treatment to keep my illness under control, I knew I could perform better on the test and improve my score.

It has been my dream to attend Ivy University ever since I was a little kid. I always have known I wanted to be a journalist, and I know this institution would be the best match to help me accomplish my goal.

Thank you for taking the time to read my letter and considering me for admission to Ivy University.


Jane Doe

What else can you appeal in an appeal letter for college?

Although the most common letter of appeal is written to request committees to reconsider a college admissions decision, you can raise other things in an appeal letter for college.

As mentioned above, different colleges set different formal policies and procedures for reconsidering decisions like admission, final grades, or even suspension. Colleges may change grades based on errors, arbitrariness, or prejudice, and a letter of appeal can help provide evidence for grades to be changed.

On the other hand, if you are suspended from college, you may have the opportunity to appeal the decision. This entails requesting that your school reconsider your suspension and explain why it should be reversed.

More resources on letters and applications.

Now that you know how to write an appeal letter for college, here are more resources to help you on your journey:

There are many ways that quickly creating a high-quality custom PDF can make your life easier. Take a moment to explore everything you can do with Adobe Acrobat today.