Can You Appeal a University Rejection?

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As every student knows, receiving university decisions is the most stressful part of the application process! Unfortunately, you may not get the results you hoped for, and find yourself being rejected by a university. However, you might feel like you were treated unfairly during the application process and want to appeal the decision. In this situation, is it possible to appeal a university rejection?

Yes, it is possible to appeal a university rejection through the Admissions Office. However, you cannot appeal a university rejection if you are appealing academic judgement. You should only appeal a rejection if you believe that you were, and have substantial evidence for, being discriminated against by the university or they did not follow their admissions procedure.

In this article, I’ll be telling you all you need to know about appealing a university rejection, so keep reading to find out more!

What are the reasons for appealing a university rejection?

You cannot make an appeal against a university rejection if you are appealing against academic judgement. This is the university’s evaluation of you, based on your personal statement, interviews etc.).

There are a few main reasons why you may consider making an appeal for a university rejection that are not for academic judgement.

The main reason you may want to appeal a rejection is that there is evidence of bias or prejudice against you.

While it is very uncommon, unfortunately there may be an instance in which a university does discriminate against an applicant. However, a rejection appeal will likely only be successful if there is acceptable evidence of this discrimination.

Another reason you may want to appeal a university rejection is if the university did not follow the admissions procedures. For example, if you were invited to an interview, but then the university rejected you before you could attend an interview, you can appeal this decision.

You may also be able to appeal a university rejection if there is new evidence for your application that may affect the university’s decision. For example, if you received an exam result after a university rejection that meant you had the right predicted grades for your course, you could appeal the rejection.

How do you appeal a university rejection?

The process of appealing a rejection is different for every single university.

To begin the process, you will need to contact the Admissions Office and inquire about an appeal. The Admissions Office deals with applications for universities, so you should already have their email as they will have been communicating with you.

A university will usually have information about whether or not they accept appeals on their website. For example, take a look at the University of Oxford’s website linked here, on their appeals process.

You will have to make a rejection appeal to your university quite soon after you receive the decision, usually the same day as when you received the decision, at least within the same week.

If you leave it too late, the university is unlikely to accept your appeal.

Once you have contacted the Admissions Office for the university whose decision you want to appeal, they will usually tell you about the appeal process. This includes what information you have to provide for it, and what documents you may have to complete.

However, as stated previously, you can only appeal a rejection if you believe that there was a fault in the university’s admission process, not their academic judgement.

How many rejection appeals can you make?

In the event that you get rejected from all five of your university applications, it is technically possible that you could appeal all five.

However, it is extremely unlikely that all five of your choices will have been biased against you or not followed their application process. Therefore, you should only appeal decisions with substantial evidence.

It is also important to remember that even if you do decide to appeal multiple university decisions, it is highly unlikely that your appeal will be successful or result in an overturned decision.

Can you get feedback after a university rejection?

Yes, you can request feedback from a university if they have rejected you!

If you would like to know the strong and weak points of your application, whether you are just curious or would like the information for future university applications, you may request feedback.

Although universities do not have to explain why they rejected you (it is at their discretion), they can still give you some helpful feedback on what aspects of your application did/didn’t work!

For information on how to do this, check out this Think Student article.

How long does a university rejection appeal take?

A university rejection appeal can take from days to weeks to process.

You cannot appeal academic judgement, so if you try to appeal then your appeal will get rejected immediately.

However, appealing a university rejection for reasons listed earlier in the article will take a significant amount of time, depending on the university. It will be different for every case.

The reason the process can be quite lengthy is because there are lots of steps involved. You have to make the appeal, the university has to process the appeal, and then will have to consult multiple departments to make a decision.

Can a university accept you after an appealed rejection?

Yes, it is possible that a university may decide to overturn their previous decision and offer you a place. However, keep in mind that this is very unlikely.

Not many rejection appeals are successful and even fewer will result in an offer, since spaces at universities are limited, but it’s not impossible!

If you have legitimate evidence for appealing a university rejection then the university will be more likely to consider your appeal and make a decision in your favour.

What can you do if a university rejects you?

If the university you really want to get into rejects you, don’t panic. There are other options!

You can add up to five choices on your UCAS application. Just because one university rejected you, doesn’t mean the others will.

However, if you really want to attend your first choice university, then you can take a gap year and reapply to the same university the next academic year.

Alternatively, you can use services like UCAS Extra and UCAS Clearing to secure your place at university. For a complete guide to Clearing, check out this Think Student article.

Can you reapply to a university that rejected you?

Yes! You can reapply to a university that has previously rejected you. Simply wait for the next application cycle, the following academic year, and apply through the same UCAS process as before. If you’d like to read more, check out this Think Student article.

The university may or may not know that you have previously applied, but this should not affect your most recent application!

The only thing to consider is whether you need to change anything about your application the second time around. For example, if you were rejected due to your interview performance, you can ask for feedback and improve your interview skills before reapplying.

Alternatively, you can apply to a university that has rejected you earlier in the year through UCAS Clearing. This is a particularly good idea if your predicted grades were lower than their entry requirements, but you have just received your grades, and now meet their required grades.

Can a university withdraw an offer?

Yes, a university can withdraw an offer. In most instances, a university will withdraw an unconditional offer, but they may also decide to withdraw a conditional offer.

As stated on the UCAS website linked here, “The reason [for your withdrawn choice] will show up on your application – maybe you didn’t respond to emails/letters they sent, or missed an interview.”

If the university you applied to states that you are responsible for a withdrawn offer, then you will most likely not be able to appeal the decision. The only exception is if the reason couldn’t be prevented, due to unprecedented circumstances.

However, if somehow you received an offer from a university, and then it was withdrawn without explanation, you may be able to appeal the decision.

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