UC Freshman Appeal Guide

Appeal Process
Appeal Writing Guidelines
Appeal Instructions
Appeal While On Waitlist
Appeal Numbers
Appeal Help

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 recommend that you carefully review the appeal instructions before pursuing this option.

Back to Top

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.

Generally, 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. Again, 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” information).

Examples of new and compelling information may include extraordinary hardship or exceptional talent. You can discuss these things in 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 performing to your full academic potential. 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 to you (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.

Back to Top

Appeal Instructions

Confused about how to access the appeal form? Need guidelines on what materials to include with your appeal? Purchase my campus-by-campus appeal submission instructions for six UCs (Merced and Riverside not included) for just $25 here (on the PayPal payment confirmation page, scroll down and click “Return to Merchant” button to access download).

Back to Top

Appeal While On Waitlist

Most UCs do not allow waitlisted students to appeal. Santa Cruz clearly states that waitlisted students are allowed to appeal, but that campus has an early appeal deadline of March 31.

For campuses that have optional or required waitlist statement, you can use that as an appeal if needed.

Back to Top

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!

Back to Top

Appeal Help

You may download an appeal template here to help you structure your appeal letter.

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 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!

Back to Top

Know someone who can benefit from this information? Share the page with family and friends using a button below!

Help support this blog by making a contribution today! Any amount is greatly appreciated!


Join the discussion and tell us your opinion.

April 3, 2021 at 12:39 am

If I submit an appeal to two UC’s will both schools know about the other appeal I sent?

Ms. Sunreply
April 3, 2021 at 2:20 am
– In reply to: Stella

No, UCs don’t “compare notes.”

April 5, 2021 at 12:48 pm

1. Would it help a student get off the waitlist if they changed to a less popular major in their school or another school (for those campuses that admit by major/school)?
2. Are ELC waitlisted students offered a spot at Merced? If not, and they’re ultimately not admitted anywhere, would they then be offered a spot if it was after May 1?

Ms. Sunreply
April 5, 2021 at 3:18 pm
– In reply to: Linda

Most UCs wouldn’t consider request to change major for the waitlist (because then everyone would do it). Students can include that they want to be considered for a different major in the waitlist statement, but don’t expect that to be the ticket off waitlist.

According to this (look under “Two paths to UC”), ELC students should be guaranteed a spot in the UC system (i.e., Merced). I believe the “Count Me In” invitations should already have gone out; tell students to check their spam/junk folder for the invitation or they can just check the program website directly here.

May 27, 2021 at 11:28 am

How long I can know my appeal to approved

Ms. Sunreply
May 27, 2021 at 12:13 pm
– In reply to: Kayannan

Make sure you check your portal because sometimes the emails can get lost. If you haven’t received an answer, that may be good news; the campus may be waiting to see if spaces will open up.

May 31, 2021 at 7:29 pm

Do UC Berkeley appeal decisions come out tomorrow?

Ms. Sunreply
June 1, 2021 at 9:36 am
– In reply to: Thea

Appeal decisions come out at random. You need to check your portal regularly. If you haven’t heard, that could be good news; the campus may be waiting to see if a space will open up for you.

Leave a Reply to Linda Cancel reply