4 reasons to notify colleges you will not be attending

Many students hurry to send in their tuition deposit to the college they plan on attending in the fall. Unfortunately, many of these students forget about the other colleges that sent acceptance letters. Here are four reasons why students should let the other colleges know they will not be attending in the fall.

  1. Open a spot on the waitlist. If the institution is selective, it probably has a waitlist with a lot of worthy student waiting for an opening. By letting the college know they will not be attending, it could open up a spot for someone who is on the waitlist. The sooner the college hears back from students turning down their offer, the sooner they could offer the spot to another student.
  2. Avoid awkward emails and phone calls. The media focuses on the colleges that have strict May 1 deadlines to submit tuition deposits. However, many colleges allow students to submit deposits after May 1. If these colleges do not hear back from students, they may start contacting the students to learn of their plans for college. While admissions officers probably know that students are planning on not attending in the fall, they need to hear from the student before cancelling their application. Sometimes these conversations can make the students feel awkward or uncomfortable. To some students, it feels like a “break-up.” Students can avoid these awkward conversations by letting the colleges know as soon as they know they will not be attending.
  3. Keep a good relationship with the admissions officer. There are great admissions officers out there and many form great professional relationships with their prospective students. These admissions officers spend countless hours working with students throughout the year, including traveling to high schools and college fairs, answering questions, and reading applications. They might have done more work for students than students think, including “going to bat” for the student to admit them. It is the nice thing to do for students to let them know they will not be attending. Plus, students never know if they will come into contact with the admission officer in the future. For example, if things do not work out at the college they initially chose, being nice and professional with the admission officer at the college they once turned down could help them if they reapply.
  4. Help colleges understand why you chose another college. In addition to telling colleges they are not attending, colleges will also want to know what college the student chose to attend and why. This is important information for them so that they can learn what they can do in the future to attract students. For example, if the financial aid package was lacking compared to the college the student chose, it is important to let them know. This could lead the college to change their financial aid policies and help future students who apply for admission.

Most colleges make it easy to let them know that students will not be attending in the fall. Some include a form that can be mailed back to the admissions office with postage already paid, while others ask students to log into their admission portal to let them know. Even a simple email to the admissions officer letting them know of their plans would be helpful. No matter what, students should let the colleges know they will not be attending in the fall.

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