How to Write a Letter of Appeal to Retake a College Course

Updated April 17, 2017

College and university classes, especially required classes, fill up fast and space is often limited. Most colleges and universities limit the number of times a student can sign up for class so that other students have a chance to take the course. Students who need to retake a course, but have reached their maximum allotted attempts, can write a letter to a request an additional chance to take the course. Permission to retake a course is granted at the discretion of the college or university, but a well-written letter may help sway a decision.

Write your address at the top left of the paper. Write the date one line below your address. Below the date, write the recipient's name, department, and address.

Begin the letter with a salutation, followed by the recipient's name. Use "Dear Sir or Madam" if the recipient's name is unknown.

State the intent of your letter: to retake a college course.

List the reasons you were unable to complete the course successfully on previous attempts. Detail any medical problems, learning disabilities, financial or personal hardships, or family issues that affected your class performance.

State why you need the course and how it will affect your college career if you don't retake it. State your plan to successfully complete the course on your next attempt, including study strategies and tutoring options you are considering.

Thank the reader for his or her time and consideration. Close your letter with "Sincerely" or "Best Regards," and sign your name.


Include any documentation that may strengthen your case, such as doctor's notes, grade reports and other records. Maintain a clear, professional tone in your letter; do not make any accusations or defamatory statements in your letter. Check the college website beforehand to see if there is a specific process to follow or specific forms to submit and to determine to whom to submit your appeal.

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About the Author

Sara Volmering started writing in 2007. She has contributed film reviews and human-interest stories to the "Western Herald," her university newspaper. Volmering holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Western Michigan University.