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How To Decline a College Acceptance


You’re Admitted–How to Tell Your Colleges “No Thanks”

You’ve received lots of college acceptance letters and have made that perfect choice.  Now that you’ve decided on the college you DO want, how do you politely decline those other offers of admission?   The most courteous thing to do is contact the admissions counselors from the schools you are declining. When you extend that courtesy, it allows another student to fill your spot. A simple email would suffice. Just write a short email to each of them (individually, not as a group) saying something to the effect of:

Dear Ms. _____ or you can say Dear Jennifer,

I am writing to thank you for your acceptance and scholarship offers from XXXX College, but after serious consideration of my options, I have decided to attend YYYYYY College.

I wanted to let you know as soon as I made my decision. Thank you again for all your assistance in my college search.


Your Name

Be sure to not “burn any bridges” with any college or admission counselor because you can never predict how your connection to that person might be useful to you someday.  If you are called or contacted by a college that you’ve declined (which is a possibility), you may be asked the reasons for your decline. This is often very helpful information to the admissions office of any school.  While you are not obligated to tell them your reasons, it should be easy enough to honestly tell them your reason(s).  In most cases, you can be very general (larger financial award from another school, geographic location, etc.). If you had a very unpleasant experience at a college, this would be a time to let them know.

Stephanie Kennedy

Stephanie Kennedy is president of Kennedy Educational Services and co-founder of My College Planning Team. Stephanie holds a Masters in Counseling and College Student Development. A former admissions counselor, she has read hundreds of college applications and assisted thousands of students in their college adjustment and educational path. With her hands-on perspective, she guides students and families in a successful college search that goes far beyond the acceptance letter.

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