Should You Even Appeal Your Rejection Letter? Only if it meets these 3 criteria

You apply to your dream school. You know this is the school where you’ll thrive and become the best version of yourself. You put your heart and soul into your essays. Gather the best recommendation letters. You kill the interview. A few months later, you get a decision letter.


Now what?

SocratesPost got you the Skinny on How to Appeal a Rejection Letter.

This week, we reviewed a College Checklist podcast featuring Shirag Shemmassian (B.A. from Cornell, Ph.D. from UCLA who was among the 1% that successfully appealed a rejection from UCLA). He now helps students successfully appeal a rejection decision.

We gathered the best takeaways on how to make your case for admission when you’ve already been rejected.

Here are the 4 bad reasons to appeal. Telling the admissions committee any of these four will not sway them to admit you. If your reason for an appeal relates to any of these, you should probably not submit an appeal letter.

  1. Pointing out the admissions committee might have missed a memo about you, especially if it was on the application. For example, do not write them saying they must have missed your perfect SAT score if you already included in on the application. Admissions officers don’t like being told that they’re doing their job “wrong” by unsuccessful applicants!
  2. Getting into another prestigious school. Just because another selective school accepted does not mean your dream school to which you’re appealing will think that’s a good reason for accepting you. For example, don’t tell them, “Yale wants me, so you should want me, too!” Every college looks for different traits each year in their applicant pool. Selectivity and prestige have nothing to do with fit.
  3. Saying it’s plain unfair. If another student from your high school gets into your dream college that rejected you, don’t write to that college saying “it’s unfair” and you are just as good as they are. To some extent, every college knows that admissions is “unfair” because there are way too many qualified candidates for the number of available seats. Pointing out the unfairness will not strengthen your profile – it might only make you seem whiny.
  4. Re-listing achievements in your application in paragraph form. Don’t use the appeals letter as an opportunity to elaborate on the same achievements you included in your application. Some students believe that by writing them all out in paragraph form, somehow the admissions officers will find that more compelling. No. They’ve already seen that in your application.

What, then, are some good ways to go about appealing? If you feel that you’d be an excellent fit at the school and you still really want to go there knowing your chances of a successful appeal are slim, here are the 7 best ways to communicate it.

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