Choosing the Right College/Appeal for College help please
QUESTION: Hello I am currently a college student at the University of Central Florida. During the term of the spring 2012 term I experienced a loss of a family member in the beginning of the term and I started to suffer from symptoms of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and Depression halfway through the term. It was a very hard time for me and these events immensely affected my academic work. After the term was over I went to seek professional help with taking care of my OCD and Depression. I decided to apply for a late drop so I could get a tuition refund and my grades removed from my record. I applied with a personal statement, a doctors letter, and a letter from the funeral home. Today I received a letter saying my request cannot be approved because it is not justified. I am really saddened by this outcome and I plan to appeal. I don't have a history or pattern of performing so poorly in school. I received my AA degree with a 3.3 GPA at a community college and never got below a B grade. The only reason I did so poorly was because of the loss of a family member and my depression and OCD. This was an anomaly when you take into account my entire academic history. I explaining this to them as well as doctor and funeral home proof. I'm going to file an appeal, but I'm not sure what to do, because their asking for more documentation, but I don't know what else they require or want. I hope you can give me some advice on the best way to approach this. I was going through a tough time in my life, I'm human thus I'm fallible. I would greatly appreciate your advice and help. Thank you for your time.
ANSWER: Dear Randy,
Sorry to hear about your loss, and the academic fallout from the semester. It's an all too common reminder that there are more important things in life than school.
The critical factor usually will involve timing of everything. When did you actually find out about your family member? What steps did you take and when? Was there any other options or considerstions? Colleges must be very critical with such cases because it would be detrimental to have every student who loses a family member to request the same. If CFU has tuition insurance, you can see if it's covered, assuming you had coverage. Another possible option would be to get the support of a faculty member or 2 to support your record and reputation. Have you met with the Dean of your college yet? Try meeting with your advisor as well. The more institutional support you can get the better you'll help your cause. Each school will vary, but be prepared that public schools tend to be more strict than private schools.
Keep me posted of any updates and good luck to you.
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QUESTION: I greatly appreciate your reply and thank you for your nice words. The spring 2012 term started on Monday January 9, the last day to drop class is January 13. The last day to withdraw was March 20. I lost my uncle on January 28. I fell behind and decided to withdraw from 2 of my courses leaving me with three. I thought I was going to be okay but I started to become depressed and have OCD. This mental affliction really drained me. I couldn't focus on anything I wasn't myself and this late to lateness, and not being able to function to do normal day to day activities. I wished that I got help sooner but I felt lost and wasn't sure who to turn to, on top of that I felt scared. As for gaining faculty support I transferred from a community college and this was my first term here. I did not make a good impression with my first term because of these events and on top of that I don't really know anybody in Florida except my family as I am originally from New York. I never failed a college course in my life until this thing happened to me. I graduated with a 3.3 with my AA degree and take my education very seriously. As for tuition, I pay my tuition with the help of my parents and I don't receive any financial aid. I'm not even concerned about the money. I'm more worried about the grades because those w's and f's don't reflect the student that I am. I have aspirations to attend law school and I feel those grades will be a serious blemish to grad schools. Thank you again for your help.
With the additional info you provided, here are some additional comments.
- Even if your appeal is denied you are going to be fine. What I mean by this is that your prospect for law school can actually benefit from this. I work primarily with premeds but same applies for prelaw students. Grad schools want to see how students handle adversity, so as difficult as it is, look upon this actually as an opportunity. I have many students who wished they had encountered some sort of "life challenges". Since those without adversity are basically expected to get solid grades. Having a bad semester, particularly under the given circumstances will be completely understandable.
- Law school admissions is primarily about LSAT score so you have plenty of chance to redeem yourself. Every grad school likes to see upward trends so focus on the future. Looking back will only hurt your future. So do your best with remaining time at CF.
- Would a football team dwell on their poor third quarter performance or look to focus on the fourth quarter? I think you know where I'm going with this. Trust me, you'll look back later and see it's not as bad as you might think it is now.