How to Write a Readmission Letter to a College

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If you left college before finishing your degree, you may be required to write a readmission letter seeking permission to return. The readmission letter is part of the appeals process that schools use to determine whether to readmit students who were academically suspended or withdrew for personal, medical or financial reasons. Writing a letter is worth your time and effort, because schools welcome back capable students determined to succeed. However, you must offer compelling reasons why you won't encounter similar problems if you're reinstated. Carefully follow your school's readmission application deadlines and procedures.

1 Explain Reasons for Leaving

Explain why you left school without making excuses or blaming anyone else, such as an unpopular instructor who gave you bad grades. Your letter should elicit the empathy of school officials. Understandable reasons include personal hardships, such as a death of a parent, serious accident, hospitalization, psychological problems or a previously undiagnosed learning disability. If your reasons had more to do with insufficient time-management skills, lack of focus or not being prepared for college, describe how you’ve changed and what will be different if you’re allowed to return.

2 Provide Supporting Documentation

Attach documentation of mitigating circumstances that interfered with your academic studies. If a medical condition, personal crisis or learning disability caused you to fall short of your academic goals, provide a note from a doctor or therapist stating that your condition is being treated and won’t likely affect your future studies. You may also wish to provide letters of support from advisers and instructors who can corroborate your reasons for leaving and attest to your academic potential.

3 Outline a Plan for Success

Your readmission letter must convince the school that you are willing to do whatever it takes to get back on track. It’s not enough to promise you’ll work hard. You must mention steps you’ll take to reach your academic goals, such as weekly meetings with an adviser and tutors. Along with a letter, many schools, such as Cleveland State University, require students thinking about returning to meet with an academic adviser to discuss whether the student is truly ready and committed to following an academic plan. The academic plan typically includes a list of courses that the student will need to retake or complete as a condition of readmission.

4 Show Evidence of Personal Growth

Explain in your letter how being away from school has given you a better understanding of the importance of a college education. School officials look for signs of motivation, personal development, focus and maturity. For example, the Committee on Readmission at Yale College evaluates whether students used their time constructively while away from school. Evidence of meaningful work experience and volunteering is looked at favorably, and applicants must have maintained appropriate standards of behavior befitting of a Yale student.

5 Submit a Polished Letter

Schools typically expect a well-written letter about two pages long without grammar or spelling errors. Address your letter to the person or committee that handles readmission appeals. Your introduction should offer a brief explanation of why you feel deserving of a second chance. In the body of the letter, clearly explain reasons for your departure and why you believe your problems are behind you. Conclude your letter by outlining the steps you’ll take to ensure your success. Sign your name and submit the letter on time. You’ll be notified shortly after a decision is made. It's permissible to call the school for periodic updates on the status of your request.

Dr. Mary Dowd is a dean of students whose job includes student conduct, leading the behavioral consultation team, crisis response, retention and the working with the veterans resource center. She enjoys helping parents and students solve problems through advising, teaching and writing online articles that appear on many sites. Dr. Dowd also contributes to scholarly books and journal articles.