Appeal to University: an Unromantic Love Affair
Probably you didn’t get into a course or university that you wanted to go. Probably you are thinking about if you should settle for something less desirable, or go to another country for study. Or you may be thinking of trying it for the second time and appeal.
If applying for the first time is like writing a love letter to someone you like, appeal is writing a second letter affirming your love. You may feel anxious now, because you don’t know if the other party is going to say yes. But it is not a time for worry. It is a time for informed action to maximize your chance of securing what you want. Let Digital Senior give you some tips on this ‘unromantic love affair’.
You didn’t get the choice most likely because your grades don’t meet the mark. Logically what you need to do is to emphasize the factors in your appeal application that make up for the less-than-satisfactory grades. That is the whole point of appeal.
Show How Much you Love the Subject
Firstly, your love of the subject is definitely one factor. You will be required to write an appeal essay in which you need to state your reasons of re-applying. That is a great place for you to communicate your passion for the subject. Always follow the rule: show, don’t tell. By writing “I’ve always been interested in chemical engineering” is not convincing, or even believable. Give examples. Have you participated in any competition? How about research project? Or any extra-curricular achievement that can substantiate your claim? If you can prove that you will do well in your study and enhance the quality of your cohort, the university would favor your application.
How to Explain your Past Performance?
However, if the course you are applying to is similar to what you have been learning in your high school, your admission officer will think “why this person who’s very interested in chemical engineering didn’t do well for A-level chemistry?” if you fall into that category, you need to preempt the question and take the initiative to address their concern in your application form.
There are a few ways of doing that. If you face attenuating circumstances, such as medical condition or family emergency, you need to state that in the application form. If you have been doing consistently well for your school exams, except for the final national exam due to some uncontrollable circumstances, presenting your school transcript is a good idea.
Or you can state what you have done to improve your understanding of the subject. Probably ever since you finished the exam you have been doing your own reading on the subject or have been working in similar fields to gain practical experiences. Again, include actions that you have taken.
Don’t Complain or Apologize
And it is also important that you write with sensitivity. When writing your essay, avoid being seen as defensive or apologetic. “My family situation puts me at an unfair footing compared to my peers” or “I’m so sorry for my performance in the past and I’m now ready to make good my mistakes”. Be positive and confident. How about this? “Though my academics do not meet the marks for this year, I believe I have the intrinsic quality to do well for my undergraduate study given my passion for the subject.” Admission officers do not like students who don’t take responsibility for their results or who lack the confidence and beg for admittance.
Getting a Reference Letter
We have been spending quite some time on how to write a good appeal letter, which is very important. However there are more to that in the appealing process. Getting a reference letter is always a good idea. A great reference letter is relevant to the course you are applying to and uses specific examples. You can approach your employer or your previous school teacher for an endorsement.
By similar logic, if the application form accepts more additional documents, you can upload any proof of your interest or achievement related to the course you are applying to. If you are applying for an arts related course, most likely the school would ask you to present your portfolio for example. If you think you have a talent that can contribute to the wider diversity of the university community, such as being an award-winning athlete, be sure to let them know.
Mass Email or Targeted Email?
Digital Senior also realizes that some students like to mass email to many offices that seem to be related to admissions. That is not a wise strategy. Many departments simply do not process application and they generally do not respond to such email. And mass emailing doesn’t really show your interest, since there is little inter-departmental communication on such matter.
What you can do, if you want to let admission officers know “who you are”, is to do find specific people. You can approach a professor and ask for a fifteen minutes chat. Don’t phrase it like “I want to have an interview or a reference letter”. Instead say “Can I talk to you briefly to learn more about the course. I can drop by your office when you are free.” Some professors are actually taking care of admission matters as their side duty. Go into the directory of the university and check out their emails. Getting a word of referral from the professor in the end, or simply mentioning to your interviewers that you talk to “Prof ABC and realize this is the right course for you” is a huge plus to your application.
For certain more competitive courses, an interview is conducted. Again, be confident and show your passion. Such interview usually has professors from the course you are applying to assess you suitability and interest level. Hence you can’t just “talk your way through”. Smoke is easily detected if you do not know your stuff well or just pretend to be interested. Do some reading on the relevant course, learn the vocabulary and talk to people in the industries to understand more.
There have been questions on whether one should appeal for the same course that one didn’t get during the normal application. The local universities state it clearly that “it is highly unlikely” one will appeal successfully under such a situation. Hence it is advisable that you choose a different, yet similar course, for appeal. But you can still appeal for the same course when there is drastic change in your application, such as getting a reference letter from a professor with much leverage or getting an award or achievement that speaks volume about your capability. But such things are hard to come by.
Hence by now you have a better idea on how to pursue your love during the appeal process. How your university may respond is somehow beyond your control. But if you really love it, it’s worth the shot, isn’t it?