Appeals aren't unusual at competitive colleges and universities, particularly state schools. But unlike the University of Illinois, most said they publicize the option.
Only one university contacted by the Tribune said it had an unadvertised process similar to the U. of I.'s.Included in Indiana University's 2008 freshman class were two students who originally had been denied but got a second review after a legislator appealed on their behalf, said spokesman Larry MacIntyre. Seven other rejected students were pushed by lawmakers but had their rejections sustained, MacIntyre said.
Other aspiring Hoosiers probably didn't know such help was out there. "There's not a formal appeals process," MacIntyre acknowledged.The University of Wisconsin-Madison doesn't publicize appeals either but says it is not swayed by clout.
"Some people think getting a letter of recommendation from a name will make a difference, and it really doesn't," said Joanne Berg, vice provost for enrollment management.
At the University of Iowa, a call from a disappointed parent or student is enough to warrant a review, said Michael Barron, director of admissions.
But interference from parents or patrons is unwelcome at Michigan State and Purdue Universities; only students can appeal.
"We do NOT accept third-party appeals," Jeanne Norberg, a spokeswoman at Purdue, wrote in an e-mail.
Appeals of any kind are rejected at the University of Chicago and Northwestern University.
"We just don't reconsider," said Ted O'Neill, dean of college admissions at the U. of C. "Ever."