Connor posted on our forum asking for information and advice from other forum members about a problem he was having with a University application.
Connor had applied to study at university disclosing his unspent conviction at that time. Shortly after his application he received notification from the university stating that as his offence was ‘serious’ the university would not be able to offer him a place. Connor explained that the course was a post-graduate one, attended by over 18’s with no work placement involved.
Connor had carried out a lot of research online and reviewed the university’s admissions policy and felt that it may be possible for him to appeal the decision. However, he wanted to know whether other forum members thought it would be worth him taking this further.
On seeing the post, one of Unlock’s helpline advisors responded asking Connor to contact the helpline directly. This would enable us to find out more about his conviction and the circumstances surrounding it and allow us to provide him with more personal information and advice.
A few hours later, Connor got in touch with us directly. On listening to the details of his conviction and the disposal he received, we immediately encouraged him to lodge an appeal with the university. We suggested that his appeal should highlight:
- how education and training are acknowledged as one method of reducing re-offending and social exclusion
- that the Government have recognised that re-offending rates are too high but to give individuals a realistic chance of desisting from crime, they need skills and knowledge and learning is therefore a priority.
Connor agreed that he had nothing to lose by appealing the university’s decision and asked whether we would review any letters he wrote to them.
The university came back to Connor informing him that in light of the information he had provided, they would reconsider his case after carrying out a full risk assessment. One month later, the university asked to meet with Connor and again he turned to the forum for advice. He wanted to know if anybody had any experience of these types of interviews, what would a ‘risk assessment meeting’ involve etc. We encouraged Connor to be relaxed, open and honest and let the university “see the real Connor”.
Connor regularly updated the forum on progress with the appeal and eventually was able to post that his appeal had been successful.
Great news. I found out this morning that the Vice Chancellor of the University has granted my appeal and I’ve been offered a place on the course starting in September. Many, many thanks to you all for posting and encouraging and also to Deb S at Unlock who helped review my appeal before I sent it off.
This case shows that if you are provided with an opportunity to appeal against a decision that you believe to be unfair then its worth doing so. Your situation may be reviewed by somebody who’s happy to give people with convictions a second chance and, if the outcome doesn’t ultimately go in your favour, at least you’ll have done everything you can to present your ‘side of the story’.
There’s information on applying to university on our self-help information site.
Notes about this case study
This case study relates to Unlock’s helpline.
Names and details have been changed to protect the identity of those involved.