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Want to Appeal an Academic Decision? Here’s What You Should Do

A lot of students are not happy about the academic results their college or university offered them. Whether you are appealing a grade, disciplinary sanction or dismissal, or refusal to give disability-related accommodations, a lawyer who specializes in academic appeals can help you. Despite your disappointment over your college’s decision, you should not march straight to the President. Even if this can help you blow off some steam, this might not help you with your appeal. If you want to appeal an academic decision and want to have favorable results, here are steps you can take:

Review the School’s Official Appeals Procedure

Colleges and universities must have an official policy in their student handbook that has deadlines and steps that students who want to appeal should take. After you find this policy, familiarize yourself with every potential avenue you can explore. In addition, review the handbook sooner than later because appeals are usually time-sensitive matters.

The majority of appeals cited in your student handbook will outline the right people you must talk to for your confusion. In addition, the handbook may spell out the order of individuals you must speak with. Often, you may need to speak with your professor first, then the department chair or panel, and the dean of academic affairs or University President. Write a written appeal request.

Create a Paper Trail

To prove your case, you must be in possession of physical evidence to reference. For instance, if you are appealing for a grade, have old exams, syllabus, or rubrics on hand, so you can point out where the discrepancy is located. In addition, keep notes of conversations you have with any members of the faculty during the appeals process.

Be Civil

No matter how you want to win your appeal, you need to focus on your goal. You want to win the appeal and stay enrolled in your school. As you deal with the appeal, stay civil when you correspond with the school and the faculty. The person you might have an altercation with within the Dean’s office could be your professor someday. So, try to be as respectful as possible and community professionally.

Consult with a Lawyer

If you think you need additional assistance in the appeals process, then, consult with a lawyer who specializes in this type of case. Look for an attorney with extensive experience in higher education-related concerns. Then, give your lawyer all the facts of your case, paper trail, records, and procedures associated with the appeal. Your attorney, when not allowed to represent you at your hearing, can draft letters to the school or file a discrimination complaint against it, depending on the circumstances.

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