Rejected students appeal to Office of Admissions for second chance

The University's appeals process reviews a more detailed, second application.

Lacey Crisp

For students who hope to become Golden Gophers, an admission rejection letter can be very disappointing. But some are given a second chance through an appeals process.

“The idea is to be sure that there isn’t anything about the student’s record that wouldn’t lead to a positive admission,” said Craig Swan, vice provost for undergraduate education.

The University has an appeals process, like many other universities, that allows those who have been rejected another chance at admission. A second and more detailed application is reviewed during the process. Almost 21 percent of those who appeal are admitted.

The option to appeal is not written in the rejection letter, said Wayne Sigler, director of the Office of Admissions.

“We don’t want to give any undue hope,” Sigler said.

For fall 2004 there were almost 18,500 applications for a freshman class of approximately 5,300.

“It’s a standard part of our conversation when we are talking with students and their parents about their admission,” Sigler said.

The application for an appeal is on the University Web site, and high school guidance counselors are given the information as well. The University has had the appeals process for more than a decade.

“We’re not trying to keep students out of the University,” Sigler said. “We are actually trying to keep the students in the University once they enroll. We offer admission to those students who have the greatest likelihood for academic success.”

Sigler said that many times the students might be on the edge of acceptance, and with new or detailed information the board can get a new perspective on the student.

The Admissions Appeal Board is madeup of eight faculty members from different colleges at the University. They examine how similar each applicant is to the average college student, because those are the people who the students will be working with and competing against.

“Students use references and rationalizations of grade drops, ACT and SAT scores to explain areas of concern,” Sigler said.

Committee members also look at letters of recommendation.

“We are committed to being fair,” Sigler said. “We work very hard to leave the student with hope.”

Students who wish to appeal are asked questions such as: “Why do you want to attend the University of Minnesota?” and “Explain any extenuating circumstances that you feel may warrant a different decision on your application.”

“We all use our hearts to the best of our judgment because this is an emotional process for all of us,” Sigler said.

There are three different types of appeals. Students can appeal if they have been placed on a waiting list, if they have been admitted to a University college other than their first choice and if they have been rejected.

“It’s a way to make the process as transparent as possible,” said Paula Brugge, associate director of the Office of Admissions.

The process is much different for transfer students and graduate students, Brugge said. Transfer students’ admission is weighed heavily on grades. They appeal directly to their perspective colleges. Graduate students are reviewed by each department, so that process is much different as well.