If you've been dismissed from your college or university because of poor academic performance, it's only natural to feel embarrassed, angry and defensive. You may feel like you've let down your parents, your professors, and yourself.
Because a dismissal can be so humiliating, many students try to place the blame for the low grades on anyone but themselves. After all, if you view yourself as a good student, then those D's and F's can't be your fault.
However, to make a successful academic appeal, you need to take a long hard look in the mirror. While many factors can contribute to academic failure, that person in the mirror is the one who got the low grades on those papers, exams, and lab reports. The person in the mirror is the one who didn't attend class or failed to turn in assignments.
When Brett appealed his academic dismissal, he did not own up to his own blunders. His appeal letter is an example of what not to do. (see Emma's letter for an example of a good written appeal)
Here's Brett's appeal letter:
To Whom It May Concern:
I am writing because I would like to appeal my dismissal from Ivy University for poor academic performance. I know my grades were not good last semester, but there were a lot of circumstances that were not my fault. I would like to encourage you to reinstate me for next semester.
I work really hard at my schoolwork, and I have since high school. My grades don't always reflect my hard work, though, and I sometimes get low grades on tests and essays. In my opinion, my math professor was not clear about what would be on the final, and did not give us notes to study from. His English is also really bad and made it hard to understand what he was saying. When I emailed him to ask what I made on the final, he did not reply for several days, and then just told me I should come by to pick up the exam without emailing me my grade. In my English class, I think the professor just did not like me and several of the guys in class; she made a lot of sarcastic jokes that were not appropriate. When she told me to take my essays to the Writing Center, I did, but that just made them worse. I tried to revise them on my own, and I worked really hard, but she would never give me a higher grade. I don't think anybody made an A in that class.
If I am allowed to come back to Ivy University next fall, I will work even harder and maybe get a tutor for the classes like Spanish that I was struggling with. Also I will try to get more sleep. That was a big factor last semester, when I was tired all the time and sometimes nodded off in class, even though one reason I didn't get sleep was because of the amount of homework.
I hope you will give me a second chance to graduate.
Now read the critique of Brett's letter.