Does the rejection letter really mean it’s the end of your quest for admission to Dream U? Do colleges ever change their minds? The short answer is “no.” When desperate families try to appeal a rejection, their efforts almost always end in more disappointment.
The college admissions process is thoughtful and decisions are very deliberate. If your application was border-line, you would have been put on the college’s wait-list. A rejection is an unmistakably clear message. Colleges strongly discourage appeals because they are time-consuming and rarely end with good feelings on either side.
Allen Grove at www.about.com shared some reasons that don’t make the grade that families have tried to appeal rejection decisions:
• You’d like the admissions folks to take a second look at your application.
• Your friend with similar scores was admitted.
• Your grades and scores fall within the norms for the school’s admissions standards. (You need to realize that grades and scores are only one part of the admissions process.)
• You’re convinced that you’d be a great match for the school.
• You got into some “better” schools, so the rejection doesn’t make sense.
• You feel the decision was unfair.
• You learned that your great-uncle attended the school that rejected you.
Many colleges publish their “Appeals Process Policy” on their websites. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s policy states decisions are only reviewed if “a) a provision set forth in the UNC Admissions Policy has been violated; or b) the decision not to admit the individual or to rescind admission resulted from a material procedural error in the admissions process.” The procedural error refers to the possibility of incorrect information being recorded in a student’s application folder. The first step is to verify that all the appropriate materials arrived; test scores, transcript(s), letters of recommendation, art portfolios, etc. The second step is to confirm that the high school transcript and the test scores are correct. Colleges try very hard to keep students updated on their application status. Most will notify students electronically and via mail if something is missing. Ask your guidance counselor to make the first call to make sure your folder was complete and then reconfirm yourself.
When is an appeal legitimate?
There are really just two reasons that truly warrant an appeal:
• When there is significant new information that you truly believe would have impacted the admissions decision, such as a debate championship, national award or honor or a dramatic increase in your most recent test scores.
• You are now aware of a clerical error on your transcript or another part of your application. This doesn’t mean you should request an appeal if your rank moved two digits because of first semester grades.
The best advice here is probably to accept the loss and move on to another college that can’t wait for you to move in next August.