Appealing an Admission Decision
At UWF, we take great pride in working with your students throughout the application process. While we would love to have every student be academically qualified, we both know that isn't always the case. This section presumes we're talking about a student who has been already denied admission and carries the process forward from there. The biggest key in the process is an early application, where both the student and the university have as much time as possible to get additional information together.
Important Step - Apply to a 2nd Choice
Often, the most important step (being enrolled somewhere) is overlooked until the very end, and people wait too long to pursue those options. We recommend applying to a 2nd choice right away, possibly a local community or state college, to ensure there is an enrollment possibility to accommodate insurance, financial aid, or other personal needs for progress toward a college education. We recommend carrying on the appeal process simultaneously as you work through the enrollment process at the 2nd choice institution.
Improved Academic Work in 7th and 8th Semesters
Regardless of a denial, when new, significant academic work would add to the assessment of a student's admissibility, please encourage the student to send this information in to the Office of Undergraduate Admissions as soon as possible. It is helpful for students to have an strong indication of their potential for admission such to self-impose a need for improved 7th semester grades. In this fashion, an early application has the greatest merit. If the 7th semester is lost due to timing, there is often little that can be accomplished with a strong 8th semester.
Work Closely with an Admission Representative
This part is the most often overlooked piece to the appeal process. At UWF, we require an appeal to go through the staff member. We believe that the student wasn't necessarily privy to the conversations that surrounded the initial decision, so the applicant needs someone to explain exactly what the shortcoming(s) might be. How could someone appeal when they didn't know what the real problem was in the first place? These conversations may be difficult to hear, but they serve as a starting point for creating an appeal that stands a chance to be successful in the end. There may be places where a particular letter of recommendation, from a particular person, might be helpful and the admission representative will help identify these occurrences. The admission representative will know exactly what the student needs, makes sure the student follows through on the information necessary, then will meet with the senior Admissions team to advocate on your student's behalf during the appeal.
The Appeal Itself
The appeal is a pretty simple process. The student simply needs to assemble as much academic work as possible that demonstrates the potential to be successful amidst the rigor of our classroom environments (improved 7th/8th semester work, new standardized test results, etc.) and submit them. This information can come in throughout the year and be used throughout when the data is received. It need not come at the end of the year. But, the most important part of the appeal is a personal statement. We want to hear why the student believes the weaknesses that were outlined originally should no longer be a concern, especially given the demonstration of their improvement that was seen along the way. The admission representative meets with the admissions committee to speak toward your student's character in their dealings and toward your student's willingness to improve upon weaknesses.
Many appeals are granted, and these students simply join the rest of the admitted pool in progress. Sometimes, the delay in admissions can have an unintended inconvenience with other processes at the university (housing and financial aid, in particular). These inconveniences are regrettable but are often unavoidable. Students are encouraged to work hard to get caught back up. We will always try to find a way to accommodate admitted students, so we'll do our best to help your students through the process.
Many appeals are NOT granted, unfortunately. The rationale is most often embedded in an honest assessment of whether or not the student has accomplished the level of preparedness to predict success or not. For those whose preparedness is considered lacking, part of the conversation following the appeal will be to strategize additional routes toward admission that include additional academic preparation or possibly transferring from a local institution back to UWF at a later time.