NACAC Members Offer Advice on Appealing a College Rejection


A rejection from your dream college does not always mark the end of the road with that school.

Appealing the college’s decision can be an option, though one that typically only results in a few overturned rejections each year.

Every school has its own procedure for an appeal process or clearly denotes that all admission decisions are final.

Though the odds are slim for a successful appeal, NACAC members Colleen Ganjian, Eric Nichols, and Parke Muth spoke to Teen Vogue and offered advice to students looking to give it one more shot.

Muth, an independent educational consultant, reminded students that their appeal should be based on facts and should focus on what they bring to the table, not use the appeal as an excuse to let out their frustration at the initial decision.

“Students should not say that the admission office has made a mistake unless it is factual information,” Muth told Teen Vogue. “In other words, a student who essentially says, ‘You did not do a good job’ will not convince an admission office to change a decision.”

Nichols, the vice president for enrollment and dean of admission at Saint Anselm College (NH), wants to make sure it is actually the students taking on the appeal.

“Remember, it is your work that is being reviewed in the admission process, not your parents’, so we’d rather hear directly from you,” Nichols said. “To put this in perspective, last year we had over 200 merit award appeals. There was only one that came directly from a student. The rest came from parents. I think it goes without saying that the one student who wrote [her] own appeal stood out to me.”

An appeal is not the only way to get into your dream school after a rejection. Ganjian, an independent college counselor, recommends that students use that chance to learn why they were denied and build on that for a possible transfer down the line.

“Admissions officers are generally very open about why a student may not have been admitted and what the student can do to increase their chances in a subsequent year,” Ganjian said.

Read more advice at Teen Vogue and check out NACAC’s resources for students facing rejection.

Ashley Dobson is NACAC’s communications manager for content and social media. You can reach her at

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