How to Turn Down a College Acceptance Offer

As May 1st comes ever closer, it’s time to make some tough decisions. The question of how to turn down a college acceptance offer may be at the back of your mind. Quite simply, reach out to the admissions representative at the college and politely decline. Some schools may have very specific methods for notification, so be sure to follow any instructions that came with your acceptance letter.

How To Turn Down a College Acceptance Offer – 3 Easy Steps

Always Be Polite When You Decline

No matter your reason for declining an acceptance offer, always be polite and thank them for the opportunity. Now is not the time to burn bridges. Although you will be attending a different college in the fall, you never know what’s going to happen.

You could decide in a year or two that you do not like your first choice and wish to attend this college instead. Or, after you graduate, you could become aware of a job opening at this particular school. The representative could also remember you in the future, and if they work elsewhere, it could affect your job chances at a different location.

Declining offers politely keeps the door open for you if you decide to transfer or colleges at a later time. Plus, it’s just a great life lesson as you begin a career.

Always Follow a School’s Instructions

Colleges have very specific instructions on how to accept or decline an acceptance offer. These will be included in your acceptance letter. Always read them over and follow them exactly. They could require you to submit formal paperwork, for example.

And remember: if you applied under Early Decision, you cannot decline their offer. You are contractually required to attend the following fall. They only let students out of the contract in very rare cases.

Use a Template

Write a note to the college, thanking them for the opportunity, especially if you worked directly with someone in the admissions department. If you’re not sure what to write in your note declining the college’s offer of acceptance, use a template!

Here is a sample letter of how to turn down a college acceptance letter:

Dear Mr./Mrs./Miss/Ms. __________,

 Thank you for your consideration and the acceptance into your college. I have carefully considered my options, and although I am honored to be accepted to the school, I will have to decline the offer. I truly appreciate your assistance.

Thank you again/Sincerely,

Your Signature

Choosing a college is a very important decision, so it’s important to weigh your options carefully. If you receive more than one acceptance letter though, you’re going to have to decline some offers. Always follow the instructions you receive, and always aim to be polite. It’s sure to serve you well in the future.

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Join thousands of students and parents learning about finding the right college, admissions secrets, scholarships, financial aid, and more.