How to write an appeal

For help or feedback before appealing or at any point in an appeal, consult the ombudsperson.

Students need to follow the regulations, expectations and processes relevant to their academic or professional program. These are available through the appropriate UVic website, academic advisor or administrative unit. For the most common types of student appeals at UVic, see the links to policies, procedures and forms from the undergraduate and graduate guides.

Before you start

  • Appeals are based on:
    • procedural grounds (e.g. administrative errors, inaccurate application of policy…) and/or,
    • extenuating circumstances beyond the student’s control (e.g. medical or compassionate circumstances affecting performance…)
  • Read the relevant policy and procedures to understand what can be appealed and how.  For example, in a fee appeal, missing a deadline or lack of funds are not typically in themselves grounds for appeal.
  • If you’re unsure what applies to your situation, consult with the ombudsperson or the relevant administrative or academic unit at UVic.
  • If there is an appeal form, use it to organize what to write and what to submit.
  • Brainstorm a list of reasons why you believe an appeal should be granted.
  • Organize the reasons into different categories to help you organize your writing.
  • Consider each reason carefully, and strike anything that may not be appropriate. For example, not liking a decision is not an appropriate reason for an appeal.
  • If you need information about appealing a requirement to withdraw from UVic, please see this page instead.

Appearance

  • Keep your appeal to 1-2 pages, single spaced, and typed.
  • Include facts chronologically and use different paragraphs for each section or theme.
  • Consider having someone you trust edit for spelling and grammar errors. Avoid slang.
  • Use the format and delivery required for the particular appeal (see the relevant regulation or appeal form).

Contents

Opening

  • Your name, student number and contact information.
  • Name or title of the person or committee that reviews the appeal.
  • Object of your appeal, e.g. “appeal of grade for Misc 101.”
  • Date of the appeal.

Introductory statement

  • Clearly state your purpose. For example, “I am appealing my final grade in MISC 101,” or “I am appealing to drop MISC 231 late without financial or academic penalty.”

Explanation

  • Provide an explanation of the procedural or medical/compassionate circumstances relevant to your situation and the appeal you are making.
  • Be specific and factual. Stick to the point and do not include material that does not connect to your request.
  • In a grade appeal, indicate the reasons why you think the grade should be higher.
  • In a procedural appeal, refer to the relevant policy and include supporting documentation about the procedural problem and its effect on your situation.
  • In an appeal for medical/compassionate circumstances, make a direct connection between these and their effect on your academic performance or ability to complete work. Where relevant, include what steps you’ve taken to deal with the situation (for example, consultation with a health professional).
  • Include supporting documentation. If a third party is sending documentation separately, say so in your appeal and indicate their name and when the documentation should be expected.
  • You may have emotions about your situation. If so, state them as fact, without overstating.

Remedy

  • If the remedy is not already implied by the type of appeal (e.g. grade appeal, appeal of a requirement to withdraw), include the remedy (solution) you are seeking.

Future plan 

  • If applicable, accept responsibility where it is due. Demonstrating you have learned from the situation sends a positive message to the reader.
  • If applicable, include a plan for achieving academic success. For example, if you appeal a requirement to withdraw from UVic, indicate what changes you will make to be successful in future studies. If asking to defer work because of illness, indicate expected timeline for completion.

Closing

  • Thank the reader for considering your request.
  • If you are attaching documents, list them on the relevant form. (If there is no form, list them at the bottom of your statement.)
  • Sign the appeal.

Other tips

  • Do not attempt to manipulate the reader with threats, name-calling, accusations, cajoling, pleading, flattering, or making extravagant promises.
  • Meet the deadline.
  • Photocopy and keep all requests and correspondence sent and received, supporting documentation, emails, forms and receipts.
  • Don’t rush! Complete a well-written and constructed letter.
  • Consult with the ombudsperson if you require assistance or feedback.

Written with the help of Simon Fraser University’s ombuds suggestions on writing an effective appeal letter.

 

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