UC Freshman Appeal Guide


UC Appeal Process

Most UC campuses will not have an answer for your appeal until well after the May 1 SIR deadline, so be sure to follow through with a backup plan in case the appeal doesn’t work out in your favor. There is no penalty for you to withdraw the SIR if you are accepted on appeal somewhere else (except losing the $250 deposit).

Each UC campus offers a set of instructions on how to submit an appeal. You MUST follow the instructions to ensure proper and expedited processing of your appeal submission. Failure to comply with the instructions may result in dismissal of your appeal. Many UCs have an appeal deadline of April 15, but some campuses may have different deadlines. I highly recommend that you take the time to review the appeal instructions before pursuing this option.

Berkeley – check MAP@Berkeley for information (May 1 deadline; online appeal, 500-word limit, no supplemental materials accepted)

DavisNon-Admitted Freshman Applicants; scroll down to May I appeal my denial of admission? (online appeal, 350-word limit, optional supplemental materials accepted by electronic upload)

IrvineAppeals Information; scroll down to the Appeal to Selection Decision section, then Freshmen Selection Appeal (May 1 deadline; online appeal, no limit, some supplemental materials are required – must be included in the same electronic upload)

UCLAAppeals to Admission Decisions – Freshmen (online appeal, 7,000-character limit, no supplemental materials accepted)

MercedAppeals (online appeal, some supplemental materials are required)

RiversideMyUCR Help; scroll down to the Appeal section, then How do I appeal my admission decision and check for Deadline dates? (online appeal, no supplemental materials accepted)

San Diego – check Applicant Portal for information (online appeal, 250-word limit, no supplemental materials accepted)

Santa BarbaraAppeal Process (postal mail appeal, no limit, some supplemental materials are required – must be included in the same envelope as the appeal)

Santa CruzAppeal of Admission Denial: Freshman Application (Appeal deadline already passed, online appeal, some supplemental materials are required – must upload electronically)

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Appeal Writing Guidelines

I want to emphasize that the UCs have become heavily reliant on the waitlist to meet enrollment target and therefore appeals are likely to receive more scrutiny. Students without new and compelling information that was not previously available to the admissions office (i.e., not disclosed on the UC Application) may have a harder time being reconsidered (although the admissions office does review every appeal it receives). I do want to point out that whether a particular piece of information is “compelling” is entirely subjective and, ultimately, can only be decided by the admissions office.

For your appeal to have merit, you must prove that you are a much stronger applicant than what was presented in your original UC Application. Keep in mind that when the UCs ask for “new and compelling information,” they are asking for information not previously available to the admissions office (not necessarily information that is recent; in fact, most UCs have stated that recent developments are generally not considered to be “new and compelling” information).

Examples of new and compelling information may include extraordinary hardship or exceptional talent. You can discuss these things on your appeal as reasons for the UCs to reconsider you. Make sure you describe exactly how the exceptional talent qualifies you for UC admissions or how the hardship prevented you from achieving academically. The objective of your appeal should be why you are an excellent candidate for the UCs and how you expect to excel in college (and what resources at the UCs you intend to utilize in order to succeed). Avoid badmouthing anyone or any institutions (high school, other colleges, etc.) and do NOT brag about the other colleges that have made admission offers (UCs generally encourage students to take the offers they already received and skip the appeal). Be concise and don’t exaggerate or try to be dramatic. Follow through with a backup plan in case the decision is not reversed.

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Appeal While On Waitlist

Campuses that have optional or required waitlist statement usually do not allow waitlisted students to appeal (but you can use the optional or required waitlist statement as an appeal if necessary). Check here to see which UCs allow you to appeal even if you are on the waitlist.

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UC Appeal Numbers

Not sure if you should appeal or give up? Take a look at previous years’ appeal numbers I have compiled here to help you decide the best way forward!

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Appeal Help

You may download an appeal template to help you structure your appeal letter: online appeal template or postal mail appeal template.

Find DIY appeal help on my YouTube Channel (watch Understanding How the UC Appeal and Waitlist Process Works first, then check out How to Compose Your UC Appeal).

Need more information or have questions? Attend one of my upcoming UC Freshman Waitlist & Appeal webinars. Tickets are $49 and space is limited! Sign up now!

Need personalized help with your appeal? I offer a service where I review your UC Application and provide suggestions on information you should cover for your appeal. Learn more!

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