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Academic suspension appeal letter feedback?

vvancolvvancol Registered User Posts: 4 New Member
edited September 2013 in Parents Forum
To Whom It May Concern;

My name is XXX and I am a Sociology Major at the State University of New York College at Cortland .I am writing to you in the hopes of an appeal the decision of my academic suspension. When I received the news of my suspension I was deeply saddened, but understood completely the circumstances under which the decision was made. My low GPA failed to meet the requirements of the college to remain an active student on campus,which as a result led to my temporary dismissal. I take full responsibilities for my actions and realize that I am at fault for being in this position. Throughout the duration of my Freshman Year I endured many trials and tribulations that gravely affected my academic performance. I wish wholeheartedly that the turn of events that occurred this past year were different but that is not possible and I feel the need to explain myself and the reasoning behind my Insubstantial GPA.

Receiving my acceptance letter from SUNY Cortland was one of the greatest accomplishments I’ve achieved to date. I was so happy and so excited to call myself a Red Dragon and was pleased that I had been accepted to the number 1 school of my choice. However things began to veer off course starting with my mother. We have a very turbulent relationship, and my mother was not supportive of my attending SUNY Cortland and expressed her discontent quite frequently.Her disapproval of the college weighed heavily on me because she is my only source of financial assistance. I came to Cortland as a Psychology major and that was an earnest mistake, because I did so in the hopes of pleasing my mother to suppress her constant threats to stop aiding me with my tuition and expenses. I knew my heart was not in the major that I had declared and tried to force myself into a role that was not for me. That was the first step in my demise.

As the year progressed my family problems escalated, with my Grandfather’s health being the primary concern. My grandfather has had serious health issues in the past including High blood pressure, Hypertension, and remission from cancer so his health history is very scary. Over the past year his heart began malfunctioning and he was slowly deteriorating before my family’s eyes. It was very painful to watch.With every break and trip that I returned home my Grandfather began to look more and more sickly and began withering away. This slowly but surely began to mentally pick away at me because my grandfather is the closest person to me and the thought of losing him ate away at me. I began to lose focus and concentration on the work that I already struggled to complete in the first place. As my grandfather’s health was still declining I was bombarded with even more bad news. One of my close childhood friends from the family In Haiti had passed away which was a complete shock because she had not been ill so her sudden death was that much more tragic for me.With all of this occurring there still managed to be even more devastating news. My mother who is a single parent was afraid that she might have been losing her second job which is what enabled to sustain our household. She needed those 2 jobs to make ends meet and at the time she was sure that she was going to lose her job due to her clinic losing funding and having to terminate some of their employees. I began to feel trapped under the stress that my family was enduring and began to lose my mental composure. I felt lost and confused. I felt like there was no one to turn to for advice and mentally shut down. I took myself out of the running for my own success and happiness before my college career had even begun. I began to feel a sense of grief that I could not shake and with all of the other problems that had came to pass I was mentally exhausted and could barely keep up with my studies.

Things began to take a turn for the better when my grandfather received heart surgery. He began to look and feel a lot better and the prognosis of good health increased dramatically. when I heard this news it felt as if a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders and I could somewhat breathe again. As time progressed I had heard back from my mother about her job and had been told that she would not be getting terminated and yet another huge load was lifted off of me. I felt like things were finally get back to normal. However the damage had been done. My grades were suffering and my GPA was at a 1.8 I did my very best to try and rectify as much of the situation as I could and finished the year with a cumulative GPA of 1.98 and just missed the 2.0 mark needed to remain in school.

Freshman year was not Ideal for me and brought me to my breaking point and back. I made many mistakes that I’ve learned from since then, and have every intention of putting my best foot forward. If I were to be given this second chance and be reinstated for next semester there would be a world of difference between my previous grades and the grades that I would be receiving next semester. I have devised a plan to make sure that I reach academic success.I have already taken the first step by switching my major to what I’m truly passionate about, I would take fewer credits (12) until I have my GPA back on track,retake the classes that I did poorly in, make weekly visits to ASAP our student tutoring program, make sure that I visit my professor’s during their office hours, and last, but certainly not least make sure I receive counseling or talk to someone if undergoing something that I cannot handle and is a danger to my mental health.

Attending SUNY Cortland is a privilege and it is not my right and I have an opportunity that most kids would never even dream of by being able to say that I am in the process of obtaining a college degree. I know just how fortunate I am to be a student of this institution even though it has not been reflected in my grades thus far. If reinstated I will go above and beyond all measures to prove myself and show the real student that I am and the potential that I have. My education is everything to me and I know that continuing my studies at Cortland is what I need to reach my pinnacle of success in life and I am willing to fight for it and do whatever is necessary to get back on track towards a successful future. Thank you so much in advance for taking the time to read my letter.


Post edited by vvancol on

Replies to: Academic suspension appeal letter feedback?

  • NJSueNJSue Registered User Posts: 2,789 Senior Member
    I am a college professor and I've sat on the Academic Standards committee of my school. I've read many such letters. Good luck with your appeal. Here are my suggestions:

    Length: This letter is is a bit long. A shorter version will be more effective. The committee will primarily be interested in what you will do differently if they decide to rescind your suspension. Paragraph 5 is the most important and it shouldn't be buried toward the end.

    Content: I'm truly sorry for your family troubles, but you cannot imply that your ability to do your work to the required standard is contingent upon your family being ok. Many, many people have sick relatives or parents in financial distress. It's difficult, but extremely common. Don't make this the centerpiece of your appeal. I recommend that you focus on your actions and your plans, not what is happening around you.

    Action plan: you say you plan on changing your major but you don't say what you're going to change it to. Also, as you are a freshman, it's not very likely that you have taken much coursework in your major anyway. What courses did you get the poor grades in? Did you get any failing grades? If so, can you retake those courses to improve your GPA? Be more specific about the courses you will take in your sophomore year and how those courses will help you correct your record.

    I hope your appeal is successful!

    PS Please have your academic advisor or first year advisor read your letter also before you submit it.
  • SeahorsesrockSeahorsesrock Registered User Posts: 1,638 Senior Member
    I see a lot of stresses but no real crisis, if that's makes sense.

    Grandfathers get sick, moms are a pain, job market is rough

    You felt emotionally overwhelmed, we get that, however as njsue said have a much more specific plan, going into detail, this class, this schedule and less on medical diagnosis and blaming your mothers bossines
  • Nrdsb4Nrdsb4 Registered User Posts: 14,808 Senior Member
    Way, way, waaaay too long.

    You say you take full responsibility for your actions, than proceed to present a verbose list of excuses for them. Don't do that.

    I agree with the others-emphasize how you plan to turn things around.

    Good luck.
  • LasMaLasMa Registered User Posts: 10,847 Senior Member
    Agree with the previous posters about the length and the explanations that sound like excuses. You did have a lot going on, but they're more interested in what you're going to do differently in the future.

    There's no need to relate the details of your grandfather's medical problems. Lots of college students have grandparents in poor health. Keep it to one sentence, no details, something like, "I've been close to my grandfather all my life, and when his health began to deteriorate, I allowed the worry and distraction to interfere with my studies."

    A couple of minor form points: Don't use "To whom it may concern." Find out who you should send the letter to, and then address it to that person. Also, never start a letter with "My name is." They can figure that out by reading your name at the bottom.
  • sybbie719sybbie719 Super Moderator Posts: 20,889 Super Moderator
    The letter is way too long.

    No where in your letter did you state what subjects you were having difficulties in and what you did to overcome it. You did not state any efforts you made to rectify the situation following a bad first term.

    Did you attend tutoring or the writing center?
    Did you see professors during office hours?
    When all of this was happening with your family, did you seek help?
    Did you go to the counseling center?
    Did you speak with your freshman dean?
    Should you be readmitted, what is your plan as far as doing things differently/

    One other thing to consider, you need to talk to the people in financial aid to find out how your situation as it stands now (gpa/credit accumulation), will affect your ability to receive financial aid in the fall. If you are not academically eligible for continued financial aid due to satisfactory academic progress, even if you should be reinstated, it could be for nothing because you will not be able to afford to return.
  • MomfromKCMomfromKC Registered User Posts: 378 Member
    You need to cut the drama. Phrases like "trials and tribulations" and "first step in my demise" do not belong in this letter. You didn't die. Your grandfather didn't die. This is not day time television.
  • Emaheevul07Emaheevul07 Registered User Posts: 5,966 Senior Member
    The thing that worries me most about this letter is that you chalked up all the problems to things that aren't within your control, and all of your ideas for how you'll do better if resinstated don't address those problems. Going to office hours and tutoring and etc and so forth are only helpful if it's you that has the problem, but you go to great lengths to explain how it's your mom's fault and your grandpa's poor health's fault that you couldn't do well. I'm not saying you shouldn't mention these things, but if I were writing the letter I would have focused more on how those outside influences caused you such great stress that you were unable to do x, y, and z which was necessary to do well, and focus on how you've learned to cope with that stress-- you can say that things are better now, and if things were to take a turn for the worst again you have learned from your bad experience how to do A, B, and C to cope without crumbling in school like you did this time. Your problems with your mom aren't going to magically disappear and grandpa could get sick again-- grandpas are old. My grandpa got sick every year I was away at school. They'll want to know what you'll do differently next semester that will actually make a difference.
  • emeraldkity4emeraldkity4 Registered User Posts: 35,861 Senior Member
    No where in your letter did you state what subjects you were having difficulties in and what you did to overcome it. You did not state any efforts you made to rectify the situation following a bad first term.

    In addition to the above suggestions, I don't see an explanation of why your grades were poor.
    Yes, your grandpa was ill, and your family has stress, um, sorry but?
    Did this cause you to blow off class and not attend, did you fail to meet with your profs, did you not get help for a major paper?
    Personal issues are excuses, and they may or not be good ones, but they aren't reasons.

    Let me give you a personal example.

    A few years ago I was taking college classes and having a hard time. The learning curve was not only steep but I also have learning differences that make it tougher.
    Unfortunately I also suffered from seasonal depression and was having difficulty despite seeing a psychiatrist AND a cognitive therapist weekly.
    I really was having a tough time, just getting out of bed. Let alone my other responsibilities.
    Because God likes to have us juggle things, then my mother became quite ill, and made the circuit of hospital, rehab facility, hospital, different rehab facility.repeat.
    She lived nearby, but not in the same city, so while I tried to visit ( visiting doesn't just include visiting patient, it also includes dealing with the legal, medical & ins professionals) as much as I could, it wasn't more than three or four times a week or so, and that was physically and emotionally exhausting. ( my father had died in the 1970's)
    My grades suffered and I decided I needed to withdraw from my classes to focus on my own health and my mothers.
    It was shortly after the cutoff for withdrawing from classes, so both my therapist and my Dr wrote letters as documentation for my request which I submitted to the school.
    While I was waiting for the response, my mother died. :(
    I updated that information, but my request for withdrawal was denied, and instead on my record is that I failed that term.:(
    ( however I wasn't on probation, because I had done well previous terms)

    And frankly, IMO, I think I had a stronger case than you have, but if you rewrite your letter per the above suggestions perhaps you will have a more positive result than I did.
  • vvancolvvancol Registered User Posts: 4 New Member
    Thanks everyone for all of the feedback I really appreciate it
  • vvancolvvancol Registered User Posts: 4 New Member
    also my school is requiring that I have a letter of appeal and a written plan for academic success separately so I'm not sure if I should still include what I'm going to do to change my grades around in the letter and just repeat it in the academic success sheet or if I should just leave it on the separate sheet and not put it in the letter at all
  • LasMaLasMa Registered User Posts: 10,847 Senior Member
    Check with your advisor. But if it were me, I'd mention the separate academic success plan in the letter, without going into details. Something like, "My plan for improvement is detailed in my Academic Success sheet (or whatever the actual title is)." Then include a copy of it with the letter, so that the reader can see what you're proposing.

    BTW, keep the letter to no more than one page. Edit ruthlessly.

    And good luck.
  • iyokotskiyokotsk Registered User Posts: 4 New Member
    Hello, I am writing an academic petition letter and I would like to know if someone can give me a feedback please.

    To Whom It May Concern:

    I am writing to appeal my academic dismissal from xxx School of Nursing, because of disapprobatory grades on my final exams of Fundamental of Nursing and Health Assessment and Skills.

    I believe the policy should not apply to my case because an urgent medical situation prevented me from demonstrating my knowledge about the material covered throughout the quarter.

    Last quarter was my second quarter in Loma Linda University and one of the most disappointing quarters in my academic history due to health issues and personal difficulties. On Friday June xxx at 20:30 pm, I had a laparoscopic gall bladder removal surgery at the xxx hospital. I decided to have the surgery two days before my final tests because the doctor recommended that I could not postpone the surgery any longer as I had been postponing it since the last April. During my postponement, I was trying alternative medications such as holistic medications to improve the condition of my gall bladder. By the time it became unbearable I also became concerned about possibly losing my Medi-Cal benefits and not being able to afford the surgery. My financial situation changed from the last year and every year I have to fill out forms on my financial situation. I was contacted and asked to submit the annual forms by the end of May. I have been the guardian of my younger sister who has come to America from Japan after the earthquake and nuclear power issue of March 11, 2011. Stressing on losing medical assistance, not being able to afford the surgery and wanting to take care of my health concerns were important for my sister and I since we are in the United States with little family support. If there were to be a chance that I would lose medical coverage it would be a great hindrance to my family situation. I felt that it was the responsible thing to do after my last discussion with my doctor. He expressed that the last ultrasound result showed the presence of a medium sized stone that was causing me to experience pain more often and that the only thing I could do to control the pain was to take medications. He also explained that most patients usually have minimal post-operatory pain and that after one day I could return to my normal activities. Therefore, I decided to have the surgery and take my final tests as scheduled. I felt confident that I was going to do well on the tests because I was studying ahead of time and later after the school quarter was over I would take a better post-operatory rest. However, my body did not respond as I was expecting instead I felt weak, anxious, and tired. The doctor told me after the surgery that the gall bladder itself was in a very bad condition and could have caused damage to other parts of my body if it stayed in. The pain and bloating sensation did not leave until two weeks after surgery. Before the finals and the surgery had become an issue, my family in xxx had financially helped me purchase a flight ticket to go back home to xxx. At the time of the purchase I thought that I was feeling well. I had made some changes in my diet and I was trying holistic medications to improve the condition of my gall bladder. However, the pain came back toward the end of the school quarter. Mentally, I was using my trip to Peru as motivation to stay focused on my work at school and my trade. Regardless of the pain that I was feeling, I had in mind that I was going to take care of my mother who had a hip prosthesis replacement four months ago. Also, after three and a half years I was going to see my grandmother, and my aunt and uncle which helped raise me and to whom I treat as a mother and father figure. The pain that I was going through before the finals along with worrying about disappointing my family on helping them along with the fear of grade expectations became a hindrance to my concentration. The medication that I was taking for the pain affected my ability to focus and I had to decide on going through the final with the pains, or taking the final while being medicated, which would leave me drowsy and unfocused. The morning of the final test, I chose to take the finals while taking the pain medication.

    Throughout the quarter I met many people that like me worked hard to get into the nursing program and have passion about nursing and helping people. Unfortunately, many do not share the same passion or they possibly lost focus because of the pressure for obtaining good grades, so their personal and moral values were harmed by the desperate attempt to succeed in classes. A few weeks before finals I heard a conversation that bothered me a lot and as the weeks passed it really made me feel very uncomfortable. Regrettably, I did not address this matter in the proper way and I let the conversation to internalize inside me obtaining emotions that injured my ability to do well on the tests.

    In preparation for resuming my studies, I plan to prioritize things in my life more wisely. I will listen to the health professional recommendations in regards of my physical and mental health condition and take a good care of my body by meeting with the doctor whenever I have concerns of my health. Also, I will have a better time management where I not only will take time for my studies but also for my health and personal responsibilities such as my sister. Furthermore, I will not risk my grades again and I will come to my teacher to explain them what is going on with myself in order for them to be aware of my condition so they can be in a better position to help me. Lastly, I will not let other people’s opinions, comments and actions to affect me because I cannot control them but I can control myself and my future in xxx University.
  • katliamomkatliamom Registered User Posts: 11,257 Senior Member
    You need to make this way shorter and to the point, so rewrite using short, declarative sentences.

    They key issues with your performance in school are your medical problems, the unfortunate timing of your surgery/issues with recovery etc.

    Will your position as guardian to your sister continue to present time management issues? If so, you need to outline to the committee how
    you resolve to balance this responsibility with school.

    Eliminate the entire fourth paragraph and the last sentence. This letter is about YOU and not other people's gossip. Eliminate the trip to Peru - irrelevant.

    Focus the final paragraph on how your key issues (health/family/time management) have either been resolved or are being managed. Be short and specific: past problem-current solution.

    And finally: good luck!
  • bigcclass09bigcclass09 Registered User Posts: 2 New Member
    if someone could review my appeal letter that would help me a lot

    To whom it may concern

    I’m very devastated by the news of my suspension from this college. I do not blame anyone but myself for this very sad consequence. I believe it was because I was not fully prepared for my college experience at OSU. I was not able to keep up with my work properly and efficiently. I know I did not try to the best of my abilities, and I did not seek extra help when I saw I was struggling. Now, after this experience and reordering my priorities, I feel like I have what it takes to become a better student. Being put on suspension taught me a valuable lesson which I do not take lightly. I apologize for the lack of attention to my courses in previous semesters and I do not blame anyone but myself for this very sad consequence, however, I wish to explain the circumstances which distracted me from my studies.

    When I came to OSU I was excited, ready for this new college experience, the fall 2011 was tough I was adjusting to not being at home with my parents, not having a job, and making new friends, instead of focusing on my work, I shifted focus from school to social life. I joined my hall government, made friends, and for a short period had a job. I fixed my short term problem, but then began slacking off in my classes. Instead of seeking help from the staff I kept my issues in my classes to myself. I told myself I would try harder in the spring then I ended up making the same mistake.

    I feel I have necessary knowledge to achieve great success if given chance. I have opted to make Oklahoma State University as my first priority. I’m well aware that OSU picks students who take learning seriously and I too feel that I’m one of them. The amount of knowledge that I could get from OSU is very immense and I hope you grant me a chance to have that. I understand that my GPA may not be up to par with the rest of the students. I feel that this experience would give me an edge in learning. My personal belief is “knowledge is a key to success”. When it comes to pursuing knowledge, I’m kind of a person who has strong perseverance and never let anything put me down. I always do the best of my ability to overcome any hurdles on my path. With this attitude and strong passion for this particular subject I have, I believe, I have potential to become successful student. With your assistance, I can make this happen. I hope you grant me a chance to prove that.

    My goal is to get my Bachelor Degree from OSU in Psychology. That way I can be able to get my masters and PhD then open my own private practice. Education is extremely important to me and I am a student who is very serious about my future and the upcoming semester will prove so. Regardless of my previous poor work ethic, I am a mature person and if given a chance, I will display that what I have done in the past academically was not only a mistake, but a mistake that will never be made again. There isn't anything else that I want more than to obtain a degree. I've learned a valuable lesson. I promise to keep up with my grades and complete every class that I attempt.

    My first step to improve my grades will be to set aside a structured, consistent block of time on a daily basis to be used for studying and doing homework. If I find myself struggling I will make arrangements to seek extra resources to help me understand the material better. Another step will be to actively pursue extra credit assignments. I will avoid all unnecessary parties and events while I have to study. I will take extra tutor on all my future class. I will obtain a tutor for writing classes to raise my writing level. I will spend more time reviewing class/lecture notes, reading text books. If I finish homework before the block of study time is finished, then I use that remaining time to do extra reading and additional studying. To do better in fall semester 2012, I plan to focus seriously on my education until its finish. I will pass my classes during fall semester. I am determined to focus more on my academic career, and would greatly appreciate another opportunity to recommit to becoming a much better student.
  • fluteloopfluteloop Registered User Posts: 278 Junior Member
    ^^ Cut out the whole second paragraph. It doesn't tell me anything.
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