Can students appeal a rejection? Does that ever work?

Admissions Decisions

Our counselors answered:

Can students appeal a rejection? Does that ever work?

Reecy Aresty
College Admissions/Financial Aid Expert & Author Payless For College, Inc.

Can students appeal a rejection? Does that ever work?

Appeal - yes. Does it ever work - hardly! Anything can be appealed, however, the best I've every accomplished was to get the school to accept a transfer application for the sophomore year. Unfortunately, the student's grades (2.8) were below what was expected (3.0), so she was declined. In all my 33 years, I've only attempted to appeal a rejection a few times and haven't been successful. I'm sure it's happened once in a while, but it's certainly a rarity today with the over abundance of applications.

Lora Lewis
Educational Consultant Lora Lewis Consulting

Can students appeal a rejection? Does that ever work?

Some schools will accept appeals, but they very rarely result in admission. An appeal is really only appropriate if you have new and very compelling information to offer that wasn't included on your initial application. If you did a great job with your application and nothing new and incredible has happened in your academic or extracurricular life since then, accept that "no means no" and concentrate your efforts on choosing from among the schools where you did get accepted.

Rebecca Joseph
Executive Director & Founder getmetocollege.org

Can students appeal a rejection? Does that ever work?

Yes you can appeal rejections at many colleges. It RARELY works. I only recommend that students appeal if some key evidence was missing from the original application. Did you forget to send test scores? Did a teacher neglect to send a letter? Did you leave some activity or accomplishment off of your application? I had a kid win an appeal by connecting with a particular department that really wanted him. I suggest that you send in any additional materials the college allows you to submit with an appeal. Then I recommend you move on as appeals rarely work but at least you know you tried.

Megan Dorsey
SAT Prep & College Advisor College Prep LLC

Can students appeal a rejection? Does that ever work?

Yes, you can appeal and there are situations where it works. I wouldn’t advise you to appeal a rejection from a highly competitive college, a school that rejected a majority of its applicants. These schools are forced to make tough decisions and each year reject qualified students. My students have had most success appealing decisions from moderately competitive colleges. Last year I helped a student successfully appeal at a state university. After contacting the admissions counselor, he was encouraged to submit essays and letters of recommendation which were not required when he first applied. He also retook the ACT. When in doubt, call the admissions office and politely ask if there is anything you can do to appeal a rejection.

Zahir Robb
College Counselor The Right Fit College

Can students appeal a rejection? Does that ever work?

Different schools have different processes for appeal. I have seen a few students find success through this process. While there is only a slim chance of acceptance, it is worth it if you are hoping to get in to your top-choice. Typically they will ask for additional compelling evidence as why you should be reconsidered.

Tira Harpaz
Founder CollegeBound Advice

Can students appeal a rejection? Does that ever work?

There are some schools that will allow a student to appeal a rejection and others that will not, so you need to check the particular school's policy. Even if a school allows an appeal, it is difficult to succeed. You often have to show new information that was not available previously (i.e., significantly higher test scores based on a test that you just took and that the school is willing to accept) or that a mistake was made (something was inaccurate in your transcript).

Pam Ohriner

Can students appeal a rejection? Does that ever work?

Every college has its own policy about filing admission appeals. First, an applicant should call the Admissions Office to find out what their policy is towards filing appeals. If a school does accept appeals, one needs to ask their exact procedure for filing them and what information they require. Remember, every school may set their own guidelines in the appeal process. Make sure to follow them exactly. Most schools are looking for new information in the appeal that was not available at the time the application was filed. It can also be to correct a mistake in the original application: incorrectly reported grades, missing or inaccurate test scores, or perhaps an honor or award that was not reported. They may ask for documentation to back these claims. Be prepared to submit them. Lastly, the chance of an appeal overturning an admission decision is always small. Applicants should deposit at a school that they have been accepted to and realize that an appeal is a long shot.