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Advice regarding dismissal appeal letter?

throwaway03110throwaway03110 3 replies1 threads New Member
my case might be kind of unusual as i was on probation for two academic yrs. theres a lot that happened in that timespan so i was wondering if addressing each quarter would be okay? my grades were inconsistent and these details provide some insight as to why that was the case.

(thank u in advance if ur reading this, as it’s pretty long ☺️)
im horrible w/ organization but the following is my attempt to let u know what i have to work with:

overview: dismissed b/c of poor academic performance due to mental health issues and some “unlucky” incidents. (i am aware that i am at fault for continually making poor choices)

details listed below:

why did I not just withdraw/take gap year and come back when ready?
i didnt want to tell my parents (especially my mom) b/c they werent rly understanding when it came to mental health. my mom was a wreck when i told her i was diagnosed w/ adhd and anxiety in the past and i didnt want to see that again.

basically didnt want to hurt my mom but ended up doing so anyways (went better than expected)
in hindsight, telling my parents asap was the “correct” choice, but i lacked willpower to do so. i am aware that its my fault for doing that.

2nd yr
1st/2nd/3rd Q: experiencing apathy/lethargy for abnormal amt of time so started treatment at school mental health services.
4th Q [summer]: started med1. helped but got insomnia so had to change.

3rd yr
1st Q: started med2 and took a while to adjust/have noticeable differences.
2nd Q: continue med2 and adjust dose. got in a car accident and received treatment for 2 mo.
withdraw bc way too behind
3rd Q: get off med2 change to med3.
med3 made me feel horrible. getting up was comparable to trying to wake up after taking benadryl.
dropped a course b/c too behind. cant withdraw 2 consecutive times b/c bad academic standing.

4th Q: start med4; things were lookin good. only had housing near campus for 4 weeks b/c $$ budget. avoidable if i had looked earlier. paternal grandparents pass away and commuted last 2 wks from home (6-7 hrs drive round trip). unsustainable and so i cracked under the pressure.

ideally my plan was to do well for 4th Q b/c i finally came upon a med that was helping (was doing well but did pretty bad near the end) and include that in my appeal but i goofed at the end so..
16 replies
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Replies to: Advice regarding dismissal appeal letter?

  • throwaway03110throwaway03110 3 replies1 threads New Member
    tyvm for ur feedback. im not too worried about writing the portion regarding “they need to know that if they allow you to return, you will succeed” so i didnt include that in here. im unsure about whether or not it’s okay to include these in my explanation. (root of my problem was related to mental health stuff which my appeal is going to focus on. but at the same time, the “unlucky” stuff like being in a car accident/receiving treatment for 2 mo. while school was in session, grandparents passing away, are things significant enough to affect one’s performance, so i think they should be included. doing so would just make my explanation portion longer and thats why im lost)
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  • momofsenior1momofsenior1 10391 replies122 threads Senior Member
    You can summarize in one or two sentences the why. It doesn’t need to be stated in any detail. Something like: I was dealing with a new mental health diagnosis, physical effects from a car accident, and deaths in the Immediate family.

    Focus the rest on working with the psychiatrist on the correct medication, getting support, and all the things suggested by Linda. You need to explain how you will succeed and do things differently. They don’t need the details of what happened.
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  • compmomcompmom 11866 replies82 threads Senior Member
    1) Are you registered with the Office of Disabilities? You are entitled to accommodations for your mental health issues, if you are. In the future, make sure that you register. You need a diagnosis and a doctor's letter, sometimes testing results.

    2)Are you seeing a psychiatrist and therapist on campus who can help advocate for you, or guide you in this situation?

    3) Have you ever sought a medical withdrawal after a bad semester? If you are registered with the Office for Disabilities, this can sometimes mean grades are wiped clean.

    4)Be aware that if you are allowed a leave, rather than a dismissal, you will probably have to meet criteria for return that proves your ability to do the academics and stay healthy.

    5) Not sure why you didn't take a medical leave as you tried all these meds. It is really tough to do school while trying meds especially when the first three didn't work well.

    I am really sorry but I think, to be honest, that you should not pursue this appeal. Unless you want to ask them for a medical leave, rather than dismissal.

    In either case, it would seem like a good idea to take a break. Take some community college or online classes (most classes are online right now), work if it is safe to do so where you are, and basically get the right meds, stabilize, and regroup.

    There are many degree completion programs (continuing ed, adult learner, different names for the same kind of thing) that allow you to proceed at your own pace. It might help you to take just one or two classes at a time.

    Good luck!
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  • throwaway03110throwaway03110 3 replies1 threads New Member
    ty for ur advice. regarding 1-4):
    1) yes
    2) yes
    3) not immediately after my first bad q, but yes

    5) my parents used to look at mental health pretty unfavorably. it’s like asking someone whos gay “why havent u opened up to ur parents” when they dont approve of gays. obviously b/c of hindsight i know that i shouldve told them asap but i wanted to avoid that no matter what. clearly failed but ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    i appreciate ur opinion, but a 0.05% chance of success has better odds than 0%. maybe ill be “lucky” ☺️
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  • compmomcompmom 11866 replies82 threads Senior Member
    Well since you are registered with the Office of Disabilities and have consulted professionals on campus, you might have a chance. Do you have any accommodations? For instance, extra time on assignments, reduced course load, single room?

    The problem is that it has been awhile , and you have not demonstrated the ability to succeed yet to them. You could take a leave, or leave, and do well somewhere else (community college, online course, as said before) and then reapply or come back according to their criteria.

    Is the therapist or O of D advocating for you at all?
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  • bopperbopper Forum Champion CWRU 14518 replies106 threads Forum Champion
    A successful appeal must do several things:
    1. show that you understand what went wrong
    2. show that you take responsibility for the academic failures
    3. show that you have a plan for future academic success
    4. in a broad sense, show that you are being honest with yourself and the committee

    Here are some examples:


    Some of this is general, and some specific to your situation.

    1) search this topic on CC and you will see many other posts on academic appeals
    2) Make sure your letter states what the issue was that caused you to have academic difficulties
    3) Did you talk to your professors/dean of students about the issue?
    4) Did you make use of the many resources your school has? if not, why not?
    5) Find out what those resources are...e.g. counseling center, talking to professors, talking to your adviser, withdrawing from class, talking to dean, maybe taking incompletes. Include specifics from your college. Here are more ideas https://talk.collegeconfidential.com/college-life/1920853-college-is-a-step-up-from-hs-16-tips-on-doing-well-in-college.html
    6) State how you would use those in the future
    7) How are you addressing what caused the issue?
    8) Think about if you should continue at college, or take a break.
    9) Think about if you should continue at a community college, to be close to your family
    10) How is your college funded? Will that continue?

    In general, keep in mind what the college wants...they want students who can succeed. They need to know that you understand what the issue was, know now the resources that you can use, how the problems is resolved so you will not have academic issues in the future.

    Is it good to take some time off to get your health issues under control?

    Here is a post that I saw on this topic from someone who is on a committee that review these letters:

    My committee would consider you a strong case for reinstatement if you can provide:
    a) documentation from your health care provider of a diagnosis
    b) confirmation from your health care provider that you have been compliant with treatment and your situation has improved so that you are better equipped to handle the stress of college life if/when you return
    c) details of how you plan to continue your treatment plan after you return to school
    d) details of other campus resources you will use and adjustments you will make after you return to enhance your success
    e) some statement of how you know your treatment has improved your situation (e.g. if you have been working during your time away and found it easier to handle the stress and demands as your treatment progressed)
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  • compmomcompmom 11866 replies82 threads Senior Member
    Meds helped but then at the end 4th quarter didn't go well. That may make it hard for you to argue that mental health and meds were the problem.

    Believe me I am sympathetic. But also thinking there is a less stressful way for you to do college, for now. Does your college have continuing education or online classes for unmatriculated students? (I am writing from personal experience with one of mine.)
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  • throwaway03110throwaway03110 3 replies1 threads New Member
    edited July 10
    for the 4th Q of yr 3 i was doing well (since the new med was having an effect)until the last 2-3 wks b/c

    1) both grandparents passed away on my dad’s side and i had to help my parents (b/c theyre not fluent in english) w/ booking plane tix, dad’s work and driving them to and from the airport (b/c $)

    2) didnt have housing near campus for last 2 wks [6 week session] so i had to commute from home. driving 6 hrs daily and being on campus for 2-3 hrs was too much.

    1) isnt too relevant so i plan on just mentioning that their passing away was an inconvenience, but the details above are the most i could condense what into.
    edited July 10
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  • LindagafLindagaf 10989 replies592 threads Super Moderator
    You’re going to have to ensure that your appeal letter doesn’t sound as though you are making excuses.

    I have sympathy for you. It sounds like you’ve had a tough time, but I wonder if you might benefit from time away from college. Give yourself the gift of time. Sounds like a cliche but it is true. You are young snd there is no rush.
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  • thumper1thumper1 78481 replies3537 threads Senior Member
    edited July 10
    College will be there in the future. In my opinion, you need to get a better plan for success. Taking time off and taking one course at a time at a community college perhaps, or online might be a good plan. You need to build success, and you have never done that, it seems.

    I don’t see any plan for dealing with your multitude of issues. You need that plan, otherwise you will be In the same boat at the end of next term.

    I think going to college full time now isn’t in your best interest. You have other things to resolve first. Get that done...and then consider college. College won’t go away. Dealing with all of your issues has to happen first.

    ETA...who is paying for all of these college terms? Another consideration. Don’t spend money that nets you nothing. Save that money until you can actually spend it on college courses which will be able to be applied toward a degree.
    edited July 10
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  • KnowsstuffKnowsstuff 7580 replies35 threads Senior Member
    Read this https://m.barnesandnoble.com/w/you-mean-im-not-lazy-stupid-or-crazy-kate-kelly/1103365514



    Get and read the first book. You will see yourself very quickly. Biofeedback works with many even better then meds so at least something to try. Many people have a hard time getting regulated to meds. Car accidents and add go hand in hand. Very common so be extra careful.

    You have gotten great advice. But you shouldn't restart school till you have several months that the meds are working well for you. They might need to combo meds. Then restart school. Why not try to succeed when your at your best. Otherwise you won't break the cycle of failure. You can do this!
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  • HPuck35HPuck35 2147 replies17 threads Senior Member
    Take some time away from college and get your life, and your meds, together. Get a job and work for a while. You'll come back more invigorated and ready to tackle your classes.
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  • throwaway03110throwaway03110 3 replies1 threads New Member
    a lot of the advice here says to be short and to the point for your appeal letter. i saw the following when i was looking in the submit link:

    "Answer as fully as possible, providing dates and details wherever possible."

    the above was written underneath the instructions, which is the typical "prompt":

    Please provide a written statement, addressing the following questions: (1) What circumstances led to your dismissal (2) What was the order of events? (3) Since your dismissal or discontinuation, what has changed in your circumstances, and what steps have you taken to fully resolve or better manage those circumstances so that they will no longer have a negative impact on your academic progress?

    would it still be better to be as short as possible?
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  • austinmshauriaustinmshauri 9982 replies386 threads Senior Member
    edited July 24
    Your other thread on this topic has some excellent advice.

    I don't think the choices are to answer all the questions completely or be brief. You can do both. Provide the necessary details and dates, but get to the point. Have you started composing the letter yet? Try writing a draft and see how it goes. If you post a draft (after editing out identifying details) we can offer editing suggestions.

    What's your backup plan? Are there schools you can commute to from home?
    edited July 24
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  • compmomcompmom 11866 replies82 threads Senior Member
    I think you are misinterpreting the advice on brevity. You can be thorough and cover the relevant issues concisely. It is not a contradiction. Go ahead and write it with all the details you want.

    Your appeal really isn't the issue. This forum sometimes offers the opinion that some time off from school might be a good idea.

    You already got some stability with meds but still had academic issues, mainly, perhaps, from commuting.

    In your letter, certainly include what your wrote in your first post here, with the timeline and problems experienced.

    But the most important thing is to present and focus on the solutions that might argue that you are able to be successful.

    1) You have a diagnosis and medications that are working without side effects.
    2) You are working with a psychiatrist and therapist
    3) You have housing near campus (or are classes online?)
    4) You have been honest with your parents and have their support
    5) you have clear academic goals and will use any help available including advising and tutoring as needed.

    You can't just promise these things but need to have concrete proof.

    You can also ask for a leave to be considered and promise to meet criteria for returning. Perhaps they will agree to that rather than dismissal.
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