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When Should You Appeal a College Admissions Decision?

rejection stampWhile many students celebrate April 1 and the release of college decisions, students who were not admitted into their school of choice  may have a different feeling. For some students (and parents) the disappointment that comes with a refusal may lead to the desire to take action and appeal the denial decision.

Does this sound like you? If so, you should ask yourself if it is actually worth your time to appeal a decision. First, make sure to check on the college’s website to see if the college even accepts appeal requests – some do, some don’t. Second, understand that very few appeal requests are actually granted. Lastly, think about if it is actually worth your time to appeal and if you have good reason to justify the appeal.

What is your reason?

– Are you upset with the decision and think it is unfair?

– Did one of your friends or classmates get in and you don’t understand how they got in instead of you?

– Did you get in to another great school and feel that the school that rejected you was incorrect in their decision?

– Were your parents alums or donors and you feel that the school must not have considered that?

These reasons alone are not reasons to appeal an admissions decision. If you try, the appeal will likely get turned down.

However, if you still feel that an appeal is warranted make sure you meet the following criteria.

– Do you have new information to share with the college? When colleges review appeal decisions they are looking for new information. They have already reviewed your application, and taken into account all of the information that you shared with them (including your grades, essays, letters of recommendation, interview, etc.). Unless you are presenting something new, you should probably not plan to appeal a decision

Has something drastically changed with your application since it was sent in?  If you discovered something substantial was missing from your original application (not by fault of your own) or there was an error in the reporting of grades or test scores chances you may have grounds for appeal but again there are no guarantees.

Admissions decisions are emotional, particularly the deny decision. Know that it is okay to be disappointed, frustrated, and want to know why you weren’t offered admission but make sure to be realistic and understand that the decision will likely stand and the chances remain slim of it being changed with an appeal.



Reader Interactions


  1. I transferred from OU to the OSU, I have been trying to get in the college of communications. They will not take my transfer credits for over all gpa. Only credits with them. Which is freshmen, 30 credits. I have never made below a C on grades but this my Math class I failed. Yet, I can’t freshman forgiveness because I am a senior. What should I do? They want me to change my major, but I don’t want to. So, just received denial again and I want to appeal. How and what do I say?

  2. Hi, Samone,
    The receiving college (in this case OSU) has the right to determine which credits are accepted and under what circumstances. If they are transferring credits according to established policies, I’m afraid there is not much you can do–especially if your appeals have failed. You will have to move to Plan B. The lesson in this is a transfer is not always a wise choice, as it can severely hinder your progress toward a degree. Transfer students often lose credits and must take a longer time (and more tuition money!) to complete their degrees.
    I wish I could be more optimistic. I wish you all the best.


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