When Not To Appeal Your Admission Decision

Applying to colleges can be a truly stressful experience that can get even worse when you find out you didn't get into a school you really wanted to attend. Should you appeal your admission decision? Will it do any good?

By Laura Allan

admissions decisions appealing tips

When looking into how students are picked for admission to colleges, you're bound to see a few very basic facts. Generally, admissions people know exactly what kind of person they're looking for and if they don't see it, they don't pick that student. Also, admissions offices don't usually change their minds. That being said, if you're not picked to go to a specific college that you really wanted, you might feel like appealing your admission decision. Maybe things have changed in your last few months of high school. Maybe you're a different person now than you were. Though it's hard to hear it, there are no additional slots held for students whose decisions are overturned, so often you're just applying to a school that is already full with new students. There are a few cases where you may want to try, but let's look for a moment at when you do not want to appeal.

You Won Generic School Awards

While winning a few awards for your writing or science projects can feel pretty good, they're just not enough to change the mind of an admission board. The fact is that a lot of students around the country get those same exact awards, so it doesn't really set you apart. Even if the award is unique to your school, that still doesn't help. If the board has never heard of the award, they have no way of rating how relevant or impressive it is, so it'll just be skimmed over.

You Raised Your Grades

There's nothing bad about raising your grades during your last few semesters in high school, but it doesn't get you closer to being admitted. Senior year tends to be a time when all students find things a little easier or have the drive to do a final push. So even though you see A's and B's, an admission office is still going to see those grades you got the year before and just take it as a student who got some easier classes senior year. However, if you've retaken the SATs or ACTs and those scores are significantly higher, it may be worth putting in another application.

You Added a Few New Extracurriculars

It's fun to try new things in high school, and it's good for your community if you get involved in volunteer work and charities. Still, as great as it is, it won't get you into a college that has already refused you entrance. There are a huge number of charities in the world, and there are a huge number of volunteers that are involved with those groups. A few extra charities or activities you do outside of the classroom will not stand out against other applicants with the same kinds of extracurriculars.

You Think Your Essay Wasn't as Good as it Could Have Been

You've taken more advanced English courses now, and maybe you feel like you're a better writer than you were. Maybe you're thinking back on that essay you submitted and you're cringing. But the essay is only a small portion of what you are judged by. Even with a stellar essay, a student with bad grades and no extracurriculars will still not get into many colleges. Just changing your essay will not convince the a school you've made some major life change, which is what they are looking for in appeals.

You Really Really Want to Go

It's very hard to accept that we've been turned down from a place we really want to attend. You may want to apply over and over again until you are let in. But if you keep doing that, you might be in for a very long wait. You sometimes need to just take a deep breath and start looking at your other options. If you are dead set on going to that college, you still have a chance. Look into local community colleges or two-year schools and then try transferring once you've had some more experience there. Make sure you keep your grades high and try to work on extracurriculars before you reapply.

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