Appealing an Admission Denial

Good Reasons to Prefer One School Over Another

Students wanting to pursue a college or university undergraduate degree, or graduate school, medical school, or some other professional school often have very good reasons for preferring one school over another. Some students may simply want to get into any school, anywhere. But other students may only be able to attend one school in their area, for family, work, financial, housing, transportation, or other reasons. And many students would prefer to attend a specific school because of family ties to the school, friends attending the school, special programs the school offers, employment prospects graduates of the school enjoy, and other valid and even compelling reasons.

If you have a strong preference or even a frank need to gain admission to a specific school but have already suffered an unexpected rejection from that school, know that you are not selfish, foolish, or alone. Your ambition to get into your preferred school despite an initial rejection may be perfectly reasonable and fully laudable. Yes, listen to the counsel and insight of your academic advisors, professional mentors, and wise friends and family members. And evaluate your academic record frankly in light of your preferred school's admissions standards. If you need to improve grades or test scores, then do so if you are able.

But if, after your frank review, you remain convinced that you should gain admission to your preferred school, despite an initial rejection, then hold onto that ambition. You may be pursuing your call and purpose in life. Just get the academic administrative attorney help you need to achieve your life goal. Retain national academic administrative attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm's academic administrative team to help you evaluate and pursue an admissions appeal.

Facing Admissions Rejections

Rejection of a student's application to the student's preferred school, or to the only school the student could attend, can be heartbreaking. A school rejection can also mean the end of the student's hopes and aspirations for a degree, job, and career and the accompanying financial and social rewards. Education lifts individuals out of poverty and into being able to provide for themselves, their families, and their communities. School rejections can cripple those potential gains, leaving the student hopeless and even destitute. Many students simply endure rejections, believing that the door has closed, permanently.

Resourceful students, though, may consider challenging the rejection with an admissions appeal at their preferred school. Colleges, universities, and their graduate programs and professional schools offer admissions appeals for a reason. Schools recognize that their admissions committees and officers make mistakes, overlooking deserving applicants. Mistakes can also show up in the application. Various reports indicate that schools may grant between two percent to five percent of admissions appeals and a somewhat higher percent of transfer appeals. The University of Washington, for instance, discloses that about one in twenty, or five percent, of admissions appeals succeed. Your chances of succeeding on an appeal may be small, depending on your appeal grounds and quality. But your chances without an appeal are zero. Don't give up. Instead, retain national academic administrative attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm's academic administrative team to pursue your admissions appeal.

What an Admissions Appeal Requires

Some colleges and universities, medical or other professional schools, and graduate programs publish their admissions appeal procedures. Other schools and programs do not publish admissions appeal procedures, even though those schools may, in fact, accept and grant admissions appeals. If your preferred school publishes its admissions appeal procedures, your retained academic administrative attorney will review those and follow procedures closely. If your preferred school doesn't publish admissions appeal procedures, your academic administrative attorney will contact the school's admissions office to determine appeal procedures and grounds.

Generally, though, an admissions appeal requires two things from the student. First, the student must timely follow the school's admissions appeal procedures when that timeline may be as short as two to four weeks. The student must convey the appeal to the right officials at the right office in the right form and with the right execution and documentation. You shouldn't rush an appeal, but you also must not delay an appeal. And second, the appeal must clearly and compellingly demonstrate grounds for the school to grant the appeal, typically in writing having a strict word limit. Articulating appeal grounds is a highly technical advocacy skill. Get academic administrative attorney help. Retain national academic administrative attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm's academic administrative team to pursue and perfect your admissions appeal.

Alternatives to Formal Admissions Appeal Procedures

Some schools, like the University of Michigan's undergraduate program, do not permit admissions appeals. In rejecting all appeals, those schools rely on what they describe as a multi-level and holistic initial review process. Those schools believe that their initial review is always accurate, and their initial rulings are always valid and reliable. They recognize no grounds for appellate review. Instead, they simply invite another application in the next admissions round.

Don't assume, though, that your preferred school falls within those schools that reject all appeals. Even if your preferred school's published materials indicate that the school refuses to accept appeals, the school may offer informal reconsideration or oversight review. If your preferred school's published materials refuse to recognize admissions appeals, retain national academic administrative attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm's academic administrative team to determine whether your preferred school has an informal or oversight review procedure. You may have compelling legal, personal, or factual grounds for an exception.

Example Formal Admissions Appeal Procedures

Many other schools, though, publish formal admissions appeals procedures. The online or other materials that offer admissions appeals may not be detailed, accurate, or complete. Your preferred school may have additional, supplemental, updated, or more-detailed admissions appeal procedures that do not appear online or in materials readily available to applicants. Retain national academic administrative attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm's academic administrative team to determine whether your preferred school has different or more-detailed admissions appeal procedures than those that appear online or in other accessible materials. Your admissions appeal should strictly follow all of your preferred school's current procedures. Consider these examples, though, of admissions appeal procedures at some large and prominent schools located around the country:

  • The University of Texas's appeal procedure requires applicants to submit a petition of no more than five hundred words through an online portal, together with any supporting documentation. A five hundred word limit means that a University of Texas admissions appeal must be well-written and well-organized to be sufficiently concise. Appeals for Fall freshman admission at the University of Texas must be by March 15th.
  • The University of Washington's appeal procedure requires applicants to submit an online petition of no greater length than three pages while uploading supporting documentation. The supporting documentation may include updated or corrected transcripts, additional recommendation letters, or documentation of disabilities, medical conditions, or other relevant matters. Appeals for some University of Washington schools are due by April 1st, while appeals to other University of Washington schools do not publish due dates.
  • The University of Illinois at Chicago's appeal procedure requires applicants to submit a petition and documentation using the university's Application Appeals and Petitions form. The University of Illinois does not appear to limit the length of the written submission, meaning that checking with the office would be appropriate. Appeal documentation may include anything supporting the assertions in the applicant's written petition. The university's procedure requires appeals by April 1st except for applications made after that date, where an appeal is due within two weeks of the rejection letter.
  • The University of Houston's appeal procedure simply requires the applicant to complete the university's online form. The appellant need not prepare other writings or submit other documentation. The form, though, requires the applicant to answer four essays on educational goals, how the university will help the student achieve those goals, achievements already accomplished, and how the applicant will overcome barriers. The applicant should be cautious in how the applicant answers the last of those questions about barriers the student perceives to success at the University of Houston, not to demonstrate an inability to meet university academic requirements.
  • The University of South Florida's appeal procedure requires applicants to write an appeal letter to an appeals committee by April 1st or within two weeks of a rejection received after that date. The appeal letter may document disabilities, include teacher or advisor recommendation letters, and explain prior academic challenges. The procedures do not appear to limit the length of the submission, once again suggesting that appellants should determine from the appeals office the optimal or maximum length.

Grounds for a Successful Admissions Appeal

Successful appeals generally require more than repeating everything the student's initial application already stated. Appeals generally take a clear and compelling demonstration of appeal grounds. Appeals that simply repeat the student's ardent interest in attending the school, for instance, because the student's parents also attended, routinely fail. Appeals by students whose GPA, standardized test scores, or other objective metrics fall outside of the school's minimum admissions standards or at the very bottom of those standards will also likely fail. In contrast, common appeal grounds that could well lead to success for a student whose application metrics fall within the school's admissions standards include:

  • Clerical errors in the application, its attachments, or records submitted or obtained in conjunction with the application, such as in school transcripts, GPA calculations, and standardized test scores, or errors in the school's application review. The University of Washington's appeal procedure, for example, invites the appellant to identify matters that the admissions committee clearly overlooked.
  • Newly available information not available when the student submitted the application, such as the student's completion of additional coursework or earning of improved standardized test scores, grades, and honors or awards. The University of Texas's appeal procedure and the University of Illinois at Chicago's appeal procedure, for two examples, require these grounds.
  • New developments in the student's circumstances, such as loss of a parent, serious illness of a dependent family member, resolved immigration status, or explanation of how a disability has affected the student's academic record in a way that the student can correct. The University of South Florida's appeal procedure invites the latter grounds.

How a Skilled Academic Administrative Attorney Helps

As the above points clearly indicate, admissions appeals are technical submissions. The appellant must know the appeal criteria, assemble and analyze the documentation meeting those criteria, and concisely and compellingly articulate the written argument matching documentation to the criteria. Applicants generally don't have these technical advocacy skills. Applicants are also generally entirely inexperienced in admissions appeals. Applicants are also usually emotionally involved in the appeal, often wanting to blame the admissions committee when blaming is one of the worst things an appeal can do.

An experienced academic administrative attorney has all of the necessary skills for a successful appeal and none of the impediments to that success. Attorneys have training in logic, documentation, and argumentation. Academic administrative attorneys have experience in the language, culture, customs, and norms of academics, including those serving on admissions appeal committees. When you retain an academic administrative attorney to handle your admissions appeal, you can vastly increase your chances of prevailing. Your odds can go from taking a half-court basketball shot to shooting a simple free throw

Retain a National Academic Administrative Attorney

If your preferred school or program rejected your application for admission, and you believe that your application met the school's admission standards, retain a skilled and experienced academic administrative attorney to help you appeal and overturn your rejection. National academic administrative attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm's academic administrative team are available nationwide to assist you with your admissions appeal. Attorney Lento has helped hundreds of college and university students nationwide with successful administrative actions and appeals. Retain attorney Joseph Lento and the Lento Law Firm team now. Call 888-535-3686 for a consultation, or use the online service.