college coaching

Q: I have just received a denial letter from a college. Can I appeal the decision?

A: It can be a natural feeling when receiving a thin envelope to want the admissions committee to reconsider their decision. Did they see your solid grades? Do they know how hard that AP Bio course is at your school? Do they know how hard it was to get that internship?

Some colleges have a formal appeal process, some don’t. Many schools don’t have a process at all—every decision is final. Period. That said, schools will generally only overturn a decision if they had incorrect information in your file. Example– They had the wrong John Smith’s SAT scores in your application folder and yours were significantly higher. Otherwise, your chances of them overturning your decision are slim. In the three years I worked at Georgetown, I saw over 300 people appeal their decision and only one time was it ever overturned, and it was for the reason given above—incorrect information.

In the end, schools had all the information they needed to make a decision, and they did. Barring any intervention from someone very high up (think president of the college, a board member, etc.), the decision will likely stay as is.

That said, at College Coach, we are confident that there’s a school for everyone. Learn more about finding the perfect college fit and picking a college.



Written by Karen Spencer
Karen Spencer is a member of College Coach’s team of college admissions consultants. Karen previously worked as a senior admissions officer at Georgetown University and Franklin & Marshall College. Visit our website to learn more about Karen Spencer.