Should I appeal?

I talked in my previous post about receiving your admissions decision. Often, students ask me if they should appeal their unfavorable decision. Sometimes, the student desires reconsideration for a different major when they did not receive their first choice. Others seek entry into the university after receiving CAP or PACE.

Should you appeal your decision?

I think this is a personal choice. It only costs time and energy. You can do it easily online via My Status. In the past, you could only submit appeals by fax or letter. Internally, UT debated whether they should create an online appeals portal because they perceived the physical paper submission as a somewhat higher barrier to submitting an appeal. Online appeals would encourage more, so the logic went.

Appeals are rarely successful.

Appeals that have the highest rate of success are those that have a clerical error, typically mistyping the rank on a transcript or something going critically wrong with a test score submission. These instances are rare. The bare minimum for an appeal is to submit new information. If you file an appeal without new information, they simply deny you again.

What counts as new information?

Broadly, it can be anything from a new resume item to a new recommendation letter. They won’t take into account new class ranks or test scores. Any hope of success requires new information of such a significant character that it changes the overall profile of your application. A profound achievement could be something on the national level or being the top in your field. A new club or a leadership position wouldn’t register on the appeals radar.

Even if your appeal successfully moves through the system, seats are only allocated as they are available. If there are no spaces in Chemical Engineering, for instance, your appeal won’t matter. Appeals depend exclusively on the needs of the university and not on the applicant.

One interesting case is twins. It does happen where one twin gains admission and the other is denied. Exceptions are made to keep twins together. I worked on a few of these cases personally.

You can also submit an appeal requesting PACE, but this is rarely granted. Another interesting case is early college high school students who have more than 30 college hours completed or in progress. They can request consideration in the pool of transfer applicants. Sometimes, this is granted. On rare occasions, a student can gain admission through this back door.

Nevertheless, the entire system is very arbitrary. It has nothing to do, for the most part, with your initial application review. Your application won’t be “re-reviewed” simply because you ask for it. The best thing to do when submitting an appeal is to provide new information, send it, forget about it, and make other plans for the fall.

In rare cases, it may work out.

Kevin MartinAppeals, Process