Letters of Appeal
Before attempting to appeal for a Late Drop/Withdrawal, be sure to already have electronic versions of your reason for appeal/letter (.doc and .pdf ONLY) and any additional supporting documents necessary for your appeal.
In developing your letter to the University Late Drop/Withdrawal Committee, you will need to provide detailed, specific, and often personal, information regarding the circumstances surrounding your request. The letter should include information on what steps you have taken to ensure your success if the committee decides to approve your appeal for reinstatement.
Your supporting documentation (if applicable for your situation) COULD include a letter from a doctor indicating dates of care/treatment, written on official letterhead (it should NOT include protected information such as detailed medical diagnosis or treatment notes); the obituary of an immediate family member; paperwork that shows your military status changed to full-time active duty; etc.
The appeal itself should be approached like a position paper. There is no limit on how many pages you use but it’s always a good idea to try and keep your letter to 1 or 2 pages. The first thing you should do before writing an appeal paper is to brainstorm a list of every reason why you believe the appeal should be granted. Disagreeing with a decision because you don’t like it, is not good enough. There need to be specific reasons relating to policy or procedure that warrant a review. What is included in your letter should be clear, concise, and succinct sentences.
While the appearance of a letter is important, the content and tone will determine whether the letter really does its job. Make sure you have read all relevant policies and procedures that relate to your situation and pay particular attention to what the decision-maker needs to know to consider an appeal or request. That information should be included in your letter. Leaving out essential information may delay a response or even result in your appeal or request being denied. Appeals are considered confidential and are normally only read by the panel or group that is making the decision.
Far too often students do not take the time to write a proper appeal. When you rush or submit a poorly written appeal you increase the chances that your appeal will be denied, even if you have a good case.
The first sentence or two should state the purpose of the letter clearly.
Include as much factual detail as possible and if possible reference your comments to supporting documentation. Avoid dramatizing the situation.
If an appeal or request depends on particular facts which the decision-maker will want to verify.
Include any documentation required to substantiate your claims. If documentation is being sent by a third party, state that with details.
Stick to the point
Don't clutter your letter with information or requests that have no essential connection to the main message.
Do not try to manipulate the reader
Threatening, name-calling, cajoling, begging, pleading, flattery, and making extravagant promises are manipulative and ineffective methods.
How to talk about feelings
It is tempting to overstate the case when something is important to us. When feelings are a legitimate part of a message state it as a fact but again avoids being overly dramatic.
It is more work to write a good letter than a long one. Decision-makers appreciate the extra effort that goes into composing a good short letter.
If you have actually done something wrong – accept responsibility! Everyone makes mistakes and if you express your regret and demonstrate that you have learned from the situation that sends a positive message to the reader.
Always meet the deadline.
Scan everything, your letter, and all supporting documentation until - and possibly for some time after - a matter is settled, keep a copy of all letters sent or received, as well as relevant documents, and forms.
Writing an Effective Appeal Letter | Simon Fraser University.(n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.sfu.ca/ombudsperson/get-help/appeal-letter.html