The old saying is life isn’t fair, but is that really true at a college? Of course it is! However, just because something isn’t fair doesn’t mean that it can’t be fair to you, if you’re willing to work your cards right. It’s really all about being strategic in college, and don’t let anyone tell you any differently. Sure, it can make things very difficult as you get access to things that other people don’t have, but that doesn’t mean that you should give up what you want just to please someone else.
When you are trying to get something and you have been rejected, you really only have two options: you can be sad about it, or you can push forward and get what you want through exercising your right to appeal.
For example, if you are trying to apply for next year’s financial aid package and you’re told that there’s no way that you’re going to get aid due to something beyond your control, you might want to appeal the decision.
Now, this means that you will need to know your college’s appeal process, as well as whom to talk to. Appealing a decision is one of the harder things that students will have to face, because it’s really all about working the system, rather than trying to appeal to people’s emotions. In fact, if you appeal to people’s emotions too much, you could end up keeping yourself from the very thing that you want. For example, if you find that you weren’t selected for a scholarship, the last thing that you want to do is write a teary letter explaining the sad circumstances of your family. Even if it’s true, it looks unprofessional at best and downright desperate at worst. There will always be things in life that you don’t get, but you’ll have to really learn how to deal with rejection in order to move forward.
So, how do you continue your appeal? Again, you will need to move through the chain of command to get what you want. Start with letters — phone calls are easily forgotten, and you won’t have any record of who you spoke with. Also, if you suspect foul play, it will be much more difficult to prove because people can always deny a phone conversation where nothing has been recorded. As a side note, it’s never a good idea to record phone conversations without someone’s consent — in fact; it’s illegal to do so. You must always make sure that you get someone’s permission, preferably in writing, to record them.
A letter is evidence enough of what’s going on, especially if you have the letter mailed certified mail, return receipt requested. This means that no one can say later that there was no mail delivered, because someone had to sign for the letter. If it happens to be a secretary of the department that you spoke with, then it is on them if they threw the letter away without addressing your concerns.
Make sure that you keep your letters short and to the point. Again, you will need to make sure that you avoid any type of pity or sympathy pleas. You need to make sure that you stick to the point and make it clear what you actually want to get done. If this means that you want permission to take on a heavier course load than someone else, then that’s what you will want to request. If it’s a scholarship, then that’s what you will want to request. If it’s simply for additional consideration for financial aid, then yes, you will need to request this.
At the end of the day, you only have the rights that you fight for. By appealing when you feel it’s necessary, you will go a lot farther in college than someone that simply takes whatever they’re given. This isn’t a lesson that will be taught in high schools, but it is a life lesson that will serve you well for many years to come — it’s time to fight back!