Tips for Writing a University Petition Letter

Published: 11th December 2008
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In a university setting, writing a petition letter is a very common occurrence. This is because in the academic world there are many exemptions for students and professors, but in order to get this exemption, one has to write a letter of petition to the appropriate department or person.

That is not to say that every petition letter gains approval but it does go a long way towards getting your position known and heard. Before you write such a letter find out the name of the person to whom it should be addressed. Even if you send the letter to the correct department, it may not be forwarded to the proper person.

For the most part all applications submitted to graduate schools in universities across the country must be accompanied by a petition letter. In this letter you provide a brief summary of the documentation you have included in your application and express your reasons for applying to this graduate program.

The usual requirement for admission to graduate school is a GPA of 3.0. Students will a lower grade point average can still gain admission if they address the issue in their letter explaining the reasons why they should be admitted and if there are any extenuating circumstances that could account for the lower than acceptable grades.

Even within a department, you may need to make a petition for different reasons. If you transfer from another university, for example, and you have already completed the work for a specific course under a different name at the former university, you may have to write a letter requesting that you be exempted from this course for your current program of studies.

In this letter you should make specific references to the topics studied and the types of assignments you completed along with documentation attesting to this from the previous university. This does not mean that gaining exemption will give you one less course to complete, but you should ask for recommendations of another course that could fulfill this requirement.

Both students and professors must adhere to deadlines in university because of the nature of the semester teaching schedule. There are times during the year when students are unable to meet deadlines for assignments or for being able to meet the testing schedule.

Sometimes waiving the deadline is a simple matter of discussing the situation with the professor, but other situations may require a petition letter to the Registrar's Office or the Dean of a department. This usually refers to not being able to meet application deadlines. Such petitions usually do not meet with approval unless the circumstances are really exceptional and warrant an extension of the deadline.

Students who do not agree with the grades they receive in a course can also petition the department to reread the exam. Other examples include asking for permission to withdraw from a course without academic prejudice or to obtain a refund of the tuition paid. Most universities require specific details to be included in the petition format, which include:

• student's full name and address

• student's university number

• student email address and telephone numbers

• a clear statement of the action requested in the petition

• a description of the conditions that warrant this action

• a statement of why university policy should not be followed in this case

Without inclusion of this information, the petition will not be recognized and therefore will not result in any action being taken.

Sarah Martin is a freelance marketing writer based out of San Diego, CA. She specializes in leadership, motivation, proper petition format, and general education. To learn how to make a petition, please visit

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