SOAS University of London

Feedback and complaints procedures: admissions process

Feedback, Complaints and Appeals

1.1 SOAS, University of London is committed to providing a high quality, fair and transparent admissions service for all applicants.  It is recognised, however, that there may be occasions when applicants will wish to establish why their application has been rejected or believe that they have cause for complaint. Applicants have no right of appeal against an academic decision not to offer them a place at the School.

1.2 In this context, feedback is defined as the communication from the School to an applicant, on request from the applicant, who has been unsuccessful in gaining an offer of a place.  A complaint is defined as an expression of dissatisfaction either about the process by which an application has been handled or the outcome of the selection or fees classification process. In either case, it may concern actions or inaction by the School or its staff.  An appeal is defined as a request for a formal review of the outcome of an admissions decision.

1.3 The Head of Admissions will monitor, on an annual basis, formal complaints which have been referred and will be responsible for implementing or recommending changes to systems or procedures suggested by the nature of pattern of the complaints received.  Such records may contain: age, gender and ethnicity (if known) of complainant, programme of study applied for, summary of complaint and summary of outcome. The outcome of such monitoring may also inform other processes or activities such as arrangements for interview or standard correspondence with applicants. An report detailing complaints and their outcomes will be made to the Admission and Recruitment Implementation Group on an annual basis.

Feedback

1.4 Unsuccessful applicants will be notified of this decision either through UCAS or in writing by the School.

1.5 Requests for further, individual feedback should be sent to the Admissions Office. Requests will be addressed as soon as workload allows, which may be after the peak admissions processing time. The School will only correspond about a decision with the applicant.

1.6 In some cases, lack of success is due to the level of competition for places rather than any specific weakness in an application and consequently it will not be possible to advise applicants on how to strengthen any subsequent application.

1.7 In all cases, it will be made clear to the applicant that, even if another application will be considered, there is no guarantee that an offer will be made, even if the points raised in the feedback are addressed by the applicant. Previous applications are not kept for reference. There will be no discrimination against any applicant who requests feedback.

1.8 Requests for feedback from a third party will not be accepted and no information relating to an individual applicant will be released.

Complaints

1.9 If, having received feedback regarding the decision not to offer a place at the School, an applicant feels they have cause for appeal or complaint, they may send a formal written request for a review to the Head of Academic  Services.

1.10  Applicants should be aware that the School will not review an admissions decision where the grounds for requesting a review are simply that the applicant disagrees with the academic judgment that has been applied and where there is no evidence that the correct procedures have not been followed.

1.11 Any complaint must be made by the applicant and not by a third party.

1.12 Anonymous complaints will not be dealt with under this procedure.

1.13  In the first instance, applicants with a complaint should raise it informally with the Admissions Office.  If this course of action proves unsatisfactory, then the applicant should write to the Head of Academic Services including the grounds for complaint i.e. any alleged procedural irregularities and any supporting evidence including, where available, copies of any relevant documentation.

1.14  The Head of Academic Services will investigate the complaint in consultation with the relevant members of staff and will respond to the complaint normally within ten working days of a complaint being received.   Where a response is not possible in that timeframe, the complainant will be informed of the timescale for the receipt of a full response.

Appeals

1.15  If the applicant is not satisfied with the outcome of the review conducted by the Head of Academic Services, they may appeal in writing to the Registrar within 7 days of receiving the complaint outcome. This should set out briefly: the nature of the complaint, the details of the response received, a statement why the applicant remains dissatisfied and, without prejudice to any formal remedy which might be determined, the remedy which is being sought. The Registrar will investigate the complaint and will provide a response within 15 working days of receiving the written request. Where a response is not possible in that timeframe, the Registrar will write to inform the applicant of the timescale for the receipt of a full response.

1.16 The decision of the Registrar shall be final.