No matter how well structured or well written your letter, unless it's based on a solid foundation of good content, it probably won't do the job alone. Above all, be sure that your appeal letter contains "new and compelling" information [source: Beck, UCLA]. A team of admissions officers has already carefully combed through your first attempt at admission, so this time around, you'll have to give them something else to chew on. You may have qualities that you failed to mention, such as improved grades or a dedication to extracurricular activities. Or maybe there were special circumstances that caused your initial application to be less than stellar, such as family problems or a medical condition. Your rejection may also have been prompted by your decision not to declare a major. If your appeal is more specific about what you intend to study and why, it may help prove your commitment to the school [source: Beck].
Also feel free to include any compelling personal or geographic reasons you have for applying to a particular college, such as how the college best satisfies your lifelong goal of studying late-stage diabetes, or how studying in Boston will bring you closer to an academically minded relative [source: Johnson].
It's one thing to make a claim, and it's another to back it up, that's why it's important to include any documentation that will prop up the arguments made in your letter. If your initial application was hindered by a medical condition, include a doctor's note. If you have recently won an award, include a photocopy of the certificate. If your grades have dramatically improved during your second semester, include a revised transcript. No college wants to admit a student who won't be able to hack the academic demands. If grades led to your rejection, you're going to have to show that in the months since you first applied, you've been able to dramatically boost your grades and work ethic up to a college level.
Recommendation letters can be a critical part of any appeal package, but make sure to find out whether your choice school is picky about who writes the letter. Some colleges may accept letters from anyone ranging from coaches to formers bosses, while other will review letters written only by teachers or guidance counselors [source: Kentucky State University].
Read on to find lots more information about college admissions and appeals processes.