Belinda Leon

By Dr. Belinda Leon, Senior Advisor with USP – University Scholar Program


Para leer en Español

Several universities in the state of Florida notify students of acceptance in November if they participated in the special early Florida student deadline. Inevitably, some students will be disappointed by a rejection instead of an invitation.

If you didn’t get into the school you wanted, is there still hope? Absolutely! Do you just wait and see what happens during the next rounds of decisions? No! There are specific steps you can take if you really want to attend that particular college. Here are the top five recommendations I can offer you!

ONE: Read carefully the school’s notification to you. Did they specifically state that you were not accepted, or did they say deferral? Did they give a reason why you were not accepted? Did they offer suggestions on how to improve your application? You want to take action on those suggestions immediately.

I have read letters that straight out tell the student to increase their test scores, and if/when the student achieves a higher SAT/ACT score, they are instructed to resubmit for consideration. Perhaps the college wants to see your most recent grades? Send in your progress report! Some universities might inform you that you can start with them in January (Spring semester) instead of August (Fall semester). Or the school may want you to start at Miami Dade College and then transfer. The instructions the college gives you is very important because they are providing the step-by-step instructions on how to get accepted.

TWO: Inform the college that you want to attend that you want to attend BADLY. Write a letter of intent (you can email it) explaining in a very formal matter the top reasons why you want to attend the that school. Tell the school how YOU will contribute to the campus if accepted. After you send your letter, follow up with a phone call or try to visit the campus. After thoroughly expressing your interest in attending, ask them- what else can I do to help me be accepted? Find a specific contact person in the Admissions department and stay in touch with them. This is the person who can tell you the steps to acceptance, that needs to know your great desire to attend, and should be updated of any and all things you are doing.

THREE: If the school states that they are just not sure if you are right for them, then you want to create a package to go with your letter of intent. Share your current schedule (which hopefully includes Honors or Advanced Placement courses); provide your grades so far; explain research projects that you might be working on; and tell them what extra-curricular activities, such as clubs or sports, you are currently active in. Have you taken the SAT or ACT since your applied? Did your score improve? Send those new scores in! If your school ranks students, tell the college if you are in the top twenty! If you are working, report how many hours per week you work; list the responsibilities you have at your job; share promotions you’ve had since you started the job; and describe how you balance work with home and school responsibilities. Provide the university with an update on your community service hours; explain how you are earning more hours and why those service hours are important to you. In addition, if you can get a recommendation or two from teachers or supervisors, send those in. However, it’s important that these particular letters directly address why the university should reconsider and accept you. If you are not doing much of what I listed above, you can still send in a “please accept me package” but know that it will be a hard sell.

FOUR: Did you receive a definitive NO from the University? Your only option now is to appeal. It is important that you email or call the Admissions office to confirm that you have absolutely not been accepted before starting an appeal. If it is confirmed, ask what are the specific steps of their appeals procedure. Each school has a different process. Whatever they tell you, do it all carefully and completely. Ask the Admissions officer for help if at any point in the process you are unsure of what to submit. Your appeals submission needs to be perfect in content and procedure. You should also consult with your High School College Advisor if you realistically have a chance at winning this appeal. If your GPA or test scores are not what they need to be for this college, and you have nothing to back you up- it may not be worth going through the appeals process. There is no guarantee that they will accept you, but this is an option, and it’s your last one.

FIVE: Find someone in the college admissions department that you can be your contact person for everything (in fact, you should have done this before even applying to the college). This is the person you will ask any questions about your application. This is the person you want to tell how excited you are when you submit your application. When the college notifies you about your admission – send this person a thank you note for all their help. If you don’t get accepted, this is the person you immediately call to find out why; what to do now; how to submit an appeal; and perhaps even send in your “please give me a second chance” packet to. Through this personal touch and interaction, you can show how much you truly want to attend the school.

Being rejected by the college you really want to attend is disappointing, but there are ways to give yourself a second or even a third chance. You will have to put some work in, but if you really want to attend that school- you will be willing to do it. If despite your efforts, the answer remains NO, don’t worry- there is a college for everyone. You will find the place that is just right for you to get an education and you will definitely be successful! Good luck and don’t give up. Dale, que tu puedes!


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