An appeal letter petitions an authority figure to reevaluate and hopefully overturn an unjust decision. Students might use it to request the reversal of their academic suspension or probation. Employees whose bosses suspended them might wish to tell their side of the story in an attempt to retain their position. When an insurance company rejects a claim, you can write an appeal letter to request the company to reconsider the claim.
To improve your chances of a successful endeavor, you must craft a solid letter. A strong appeal letter tells your side of the story using professional language, facts rather than opinions, and well-written arguments. The point is to have an objective recount of your side of the situation that sways the person in charge. What you do not want to do is create a letter that appears irrational or angry, as this could hurt your cause much more than help it.
One of the best ways to know what to include in your letter is reviewing appeal letter templates. Below are some templates as well as writing tips to assist you in your letter writing.
Appeal Letter for Academic Dismissal
Appeal Letter for Academic Dismissal
Students write an appeal letter for academic dismissal to overturn a dismissal due to poor academic performance. They typically include reasons for the low grades, such as a medical problem, difficulty at home, or a financial issue. Review our appeal letter templates of academic dismissal to help you write your own.
Financial Aid Appeal Letter for Bad Grades
When a student loses their funding due to bad grades, he or she writes a letter of appeal to explain the reason for their poor performance and request for a reinstatement of their funding. Our appeal letter templates for losing financial aid for bad grades will help you find the right language to explain your situation.
Insurance Appeal Letter
If you submit a claim to your insurance provider, there is a chance they will not approve it. An insurance appeal letter gives you the space to explain why you feel your claim falls under your policy’s criteria. Review our appeal letter templates for assistance in what to include to increase your chance of a favorable decision.
Appeal Letter Writing Etiquette
1. Write a professional letter
With an appeal letter, you request someone in authority to overturn a decision. Therefore, it is important to craft a professional letter that denotes respect to the recipient. One of the best ways to do this is through using a business style format with a formal greeting and closing. Even if you know the recipient pretty well, craft a formal letter rather than an informal one. This demonstrates the seriousness with which you take the situation.
2. Address the right person or group
You want to avoid getting off on the wrong foot from the beginning by addressing the wrong person. Instead, spend some time researching the person or group’s name that reads the letter and makes the decision. Then, address the letter to the specific person or persons rather than simply saying “To whom it may concern” or some other generic greeting. A specific address helps your letter appear more personal, even though it remains professional in its format and style.
3. Introduce yourself
Do not assume that the person reading the letter knows you or is familiar with the situation. In many cases, the person with the authority to overturn a decision is someone who has never met you. It might be your supervisor’s boss or a dean at your school. Therefore, you want to take some time to introduce yourself. Do not get into a lot of lengthy details; stick to your name, your position, and a brief explanation as to why you are writing.
4. Admit to your mistakes
In some cases, someone might have wrongfully accused you of something leading to an unjust decision. However, in most cases, you have made some mistake, even if you feel it does not deserve the punishment handed down to you. Therefore, make sure to admit your culpability from the start. This might simply be a statement that you recognize you performed badly in school the past term. Also avoid blaming someone else for the situation, unless you can clearly and objectively prove that the other person is completely responsible. Admitting your mistakes often makes the recipient more willing to hear what you have to say.
5. Avoid excess emotion
An appeal letter asks someone in charge to reverse a decision. However, the recipient does not want to hear lengthy arguments filled with excuses and emotion, especially if it becomes argumentative, irrational, or angry. Keep emotions to a minimum when drafting your letter to avoid sounding like a disgruntled person. Although you might find it tempting to appeal to the emotions of the reader, you often have a better chance of a successful outcome through remaining objective. You can include some examples of ways in which the situation led to a hardship; however, avoid becoming hyperbolic in your details of the situation.
6. Stick to the facts
A way to help you avoid emotion is to stick to the facts. Although you are telling your side of the story, you want to avoid making the letter sound subjective and opinionated. Include any facts to the case, especially if there are other people who can support the facts. For example, if you had a medical emergency that caused the issue, stick to the facts about the disease and length of time in which you were infirm. View our appeal letter templates for more examples of objective explanations of the situation.
7. Include additional information that might help
You do not want your letter to become too lengthy, or filled with superfluous information; however, be sure to include anything that is relevant and helpful. This might include information the previous decision overlooked or facts that were not available at the time. For example, you might include references that can support your story, such as a doctor or professor. For insurance appeals, you might need to include estimates from contractors or receipts from purchases. Just make sure what you add is directly relevant to the decision.
8. Detail what you hope will happen
An appeal letter also needs to include your expectations for the result. This might be a reversal of academic suspension, for an insurance company to pay for a claim, or for the reinstatement of your financial aid. A simple sentence that says what you hope happens suffices. Be sure to not make it sound like a demand through using language such as “I hope.” If you have a deadline, include that as well. For example, you might mention the date at which tuition is due when you appeal a financial aid decision so the recipient knows you need an answer by then.
9. Provide your contact details
It is easy sometimes to focus so much on the content that you forget to include your contact details. Although you might include your address, email address, and/or telephone number in your signature, it is beneficial to also include a closing line that details the best way to get a hold of you. You can also include the best days of the week and time of day that you are available to answer further questions or otherwise discuss your case.
10. Express gratitude
Make sure to end your appeal letter through a simple expression of gratitude. Thank the recipient for taking the time to read your letter and consider your case. Avoid the temptation to gush or write excessive expressions of gratitude. One sentence that states, “thank you for your time” suffices. Follow this with a professional closing, such as “thank you” or “sincerely”.