When to Write an Appeal
Sometimes you write a hardship letter and the answer is "no," or a decision is made against you before you even think to ask for leniency or offer an alternative. Well, what then? Just give up and take your lumps? Actually, no. Oftentimes, there's an option to appeal a decision based on hardship, new information, or extenuating circumstances. You can take advantage of them in cases such as this:
When Not to Appeal
- Academic Sanctions: Suspensions, academic dismissal, bad grades, and low test scores can all be appealed if you have the right circumstances. Schools want you to succeed and they want you to stick around, so they'll most likely give you another shot if you ask for it. Just offer compelling, honest, and humble reasons why you performed badly and provide proof that you're getting back on track. Good documents to include are teacher recommendations, improved transcripts, and new achievements or honors.
- Punishments: Whether it's a hearing, a workplace disciplinary action, or a mark on your record, there's no harm in appealing to the mercy of the folks in charge. With an appeal for punishment, your best angle is one that shows contrition, provides evidence of rehabilitation, or proves innocence. Blaming others rarely works in this situation.
- Insurance: Insurance companies are tricky, and can lead to sudden medical bills, mortgage problems, interest, and loan issues at the drop of a hat. There's no guarantee with this category, but it is always worth a shot.
While writing a sincere, compelling appeal letter can't ever really hurt your chances, there are situations where it's less likely to work and more likely to do harm. Avoid these situations:
- On behalf of another person (other than a child or dependent elderly relative).
- For a job/scholarship/title that has already been awarded to someone else.
- When you have already had an appeal denied.
- When your situation or extenuating circumstance is not included on a specific list in the appeals guideline.
- If you have to lie.
Index of Hardship Letter Examples