16 Feb

How to Appeal a UCLA Rejection or Waitlist Letter


A successful UCLA appeal letter isn't about finding a successful template online. It's about powerfully fixing the unique deficiencies within your original UC application. 


The UCLA Appeal Process:

Did you know that when you initially applied to UCLA, the admissions office graded you? At least two UCLA admissions officers and/or readers completed an evaluation sheet where you were scored across various categories. While those sheets are extremely confidential and private files, addressing the areas where you likely scored low gives your appeal its best chance of succeeding.

To pull off a successful appeal letter, keep in mind that UCLA only rejected your application—a limited representation of you—and it was your application that was scored, not the full or real version of you. This appeal is your second chance to give UCLA better windows into your life to change their opinion of your candidacy.

The Biggest Mistake to Avoid:

Many students search the web for appeal examples, fall in love with language they find, and “borrow” some of that “magic” that worked for its author. However, searching the web for an appeal letter or template with millions of hits–like the 15 year old Huffington Post one that begins with the now famous line You’ve Made a Mistake–and trying to make it yours isn’t good. Aside from the fact that the UCs already received countless copy cat letters: developing your appeal letter around another’s prose means you’re not examining the right mix of issues that were seen as deficiencies in your UC application. 



Re-evaluate Everything In Your Application:

Often, it’s not what you accomplished—it’s what you didn’t show that you accomplished, relative to UCLA’s standards, that gets you marked down.

Example 1: Some applicants hope that UCLA will not notice a lackluster area they chose not to address if they can show other strengths. However, you're being compared to other highly competitive applicants who were highly scored in every evaluation category. So, silence on an important evaluative quality is not only equivalent to earning a zero—it leads UCLA to assume that no reasonable justification exists for underperformance. Shooing something under the rug hurts you. This is perhaps the most difficult aspect of an appeal to grasp: because it's not what you said, it's what you didn't address in your application that hurts you.

Example 2: Maybe you did mention that a medical condition affected your academic performance. But did you cite it plainly or deal with it in the way that UCLA would expect an ideal bruin to deal with it? Perhaps you detailed your most passionate extracurricular activity. But did you show UCLA that you pursued it in the way that an ideal Bruin would? Sometimes, writing an appeal feels like redoing an entire college application in a fraction of the page space.

The Deadline and Length Limit:

Rushing to get an appeal submitted faster is not advised as it will not give you an advantage. The university will not know its yield, and thus how many spots it will have available, until after students choosing to enroll send in their Statement of Intent to Register (SIR) deposits. That doesn't happen until after the appeal deadline.

The UCLA Appeal Letter must be submitted online through your UCLA portal by 5PM Pacific Daylight Time on April 15th if you're a freshman applicant. For transfers, the deadline is May 15th. For all students submitting an appeal or waitlist letter, there is a character limit of 7,000 characters that all letters must be within. That’s approximately 2 pages or 1,000 words.  

We'd Love to Be Your Guide:

A College Zoom counselor can walk you step-by-step through articulating your strongest appeal or waitlist letter. In the first meeting, we’ll analyze your original application with you, live and 1-on-1, to answer your questions and identify deficiencies and missed opportunities. Having honed our strategies and methods over the past 13 years, we'll cross-examine you with deep lines of questioning to uncover new and compelling information together. We'll find specific substantiating details and show you how to articulate them. Often, the better information found is larger in volume than what can fit in your letter. Therefore, once everything is laid out, we'll help you prioritize and package your argument in the most compelling way. This first session is sold as a 1.5-hour meeting (costing $525). However, for students whose major required a portfolio, a 1 hour and 45 minute meeting is necessary to include a review of the portfolio (for a total cost of $612.50)

After meeting #1, you’ll have a finished and detailed outline, so detailed that it'll resemble more of a first draft. Most students who are at least decently confident writers will feel very confident polishing their letter on their own. Students who are not confident writers, or surprisingly, students who are excellent writers yet are prone to overanalyze and get stuck in analysis paralysis, often benefit from a second meeting.

If another meeting to polish is desired, a 1.5 hours is usually appropriate, but the second meeting can vary in length relative to the student's actual need. In this second meeting, our focus is on word-smithing to achieve the maximum impact in the smallest amount of space. For example, we'll aim to help you engineer a statement that contains more detail, and has better flow and potency, than a version 2 to 3 times its length. The focus is on condensing potent arguments with minimal loss of detail, allowing you to squeeze as many wow factors as is effectively possible into your allotted space. Then, we'll polish. When we’re done, you’ll not only feel better, but you’ll know that you’re submitting the absolute strongest case you can make.

Contact us to find out more about how we can help you. We are committed to keeping your dream alive. Additionally, your UC Berkeley letter can be re-used for most other colleges that accept appeals and waitlist letters. It just needs to be adjusted to fit each college's word limit.

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