Writing an Appeal for A College Dismissal

The consequences of a terrible semester in college can be very harsh, and dismissal is one of the possible consequences. However, many schools allow students to appeal an academic dismissal because they understand that grades never tell the whole story. An appeal is a chance for a student to tell the college the reasons for his/her academic shortcomings.

There are various ways to write an appeal letter; some are highly productive while others are not.

1. Set the Proper Tone

You have to be very personal and remorseful right from the start of your letter. The college is being very generous by accepting appeals, and the board members are offering their time to go through your appeal because they feel that every deserving student should be given a second chance.

Start your letter by recognizing the dean or team dealing with the appeals. The standard opening for a business letter, which is “To whom it may concern,”  might not be appropriate for this letter since you may have the exact names of the committee members to whom you can address your appeal. You must give the letter a personal touch.

Express your gratitude to the committee for offering to take a look at your appeal.

2. Make Sure the Letter is Yours

Make sure that the appeal you submit is written by you with your ideas and language. The committee will be suspicious of any student who has done poorly on essays and has gained low grades in writing courses but suddenly submits a well-written letter. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take your time to write a clean appeal, but make sure that you wrote it.

Also, do not allow your parents to be more involved in the appeal process than you are. The committee members want to see how committed you are to your success. A student’s chances for success are really low if the appeal committee feels that the parents are more committed to appealing their child’s dismissal than the student is. The board members handling your appeal needs to see you taking responsibility for your low grades.

Most students fail and are dismissed from college because they are not mature enough to handle college work and gain a degree. Allowing another person to write your appeal letter would confirm this.

3. Be Completely Honest

There are hidden reasons for academic dismissal, and these reasons are usually embarrassing. For some students, it is because they suffer from depression, while others got mixed up with alcohol and drugs. Some students prioritized playing video games every night rather than studying, and some became stressed while pledging a Greek organization.

Whatever your reasons for getting bad grades are, be completely honest with the appeals committee. For instance, a student can own up to his battle with alcohol in his appeal letter. Colleges accept appeals because they believe in second chances. If you do not acknowledge your mistakes, you are merely showing the committee that you don’t have the integrity, self-awareness, and maturity required to succeed in college. The board will be unhappy if you try to suppress or conceal your problems, but they will be glad to see you attempting to overcome your personal struggles.

Bear in mind that your attitude or behavior on campus will be made known to the committee. Your professors will inform the committee about your attitude towards school work, and the committee members can retrieve any judicial reports. So, if your appeal does not include the information received from your professors and other sources, then your appeal is likely to be rejected.

4. Don’t Put the Blame on Others

When you fail some courses,  it is almost normal to get embarrassed and put up a defensive attitude. Yet, irrespective of how tempting it is to blame others, the appeals committee wants to see you taking responsibility for your low grades. They don’t want you to blame bad professors, parents, or a crazy roommate. The grades are still yours, and you are the only one that can increase them.

Yes, you can explain any other mitigating circumstance that contributed to your bad academic performance. But ultimately,  you failed the exams by yourself, and you need to assure the committee that you won’t allow these external factors to hurt you again.

5. Have a Plan

Recognizing and accepting the reasons for your bad academic performance are the initial stages of a successful appeal. The next stage, which is equally essential, is presenting your plans for the future. If you were addicted to alcohol, are you looking for a solution to your problem? If you were suffering from depression, are you planning on talking to a counselor? Also, are you planning to make good use of the academic services provided by your college?

The most credible appeals show that the student has recognized the problem and is willing to improve his/her grades by creating strategies to tackle the problems that caused poor academic performance. Without presenting your future plans, the committee may assume that you will make the same mistakes again.

6. Be Humble and Polite

When you have been academically dismissed, the feeling of anger and entitlement is common, especially because you have paid a lot of money for tuition fees and other charges. However, these feelings should not be shown in your appeal.

An appeal is another opportunity given to you. It is a second chance. The committee members are not only volunteering to go through your appeal; they even spend their vacation time considering appeals. So instead of seeing them as your enemies, consider them your friends. Therefore, an appeal should be presented with proper apologies and gratitude.

Send a note of thanks to the committee for going through your appeal, even when it is rejected. You might be reapplying for admission to the same school in the future.

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