College admission decisions have arrived for most students. It is now time to narrow down your list to one. If you already know you will not be attending a college, consider letting the college know. Below are five reasons you should decline the admission offers instead of ignoring them:
- It’s the nice and professional thing to do. Many admissions officers become invested in their students. You may have met them at your high school or at a college fair and you made a good impression. They spent time getting to know you by reviewing your application. They may have also had to advocate for you when making admission decisions. Don’t let them keep guessing; let them know that you’ll be attending another institution.
- Open a spot on the waitlist. If you were admitted to a selective college, they may have a waitlist of other qualified students waiting to hear back from the institution. The earlier the college knows who will or will not be attending the college, the earlier they may be able to offer a spot to a student on the waitlist.
- Avoid an awkward email or phone call. Selective colleges may not contact you to find out if you are still considering them, but less selective colleges might. The admissions counselor may contact you after May 1 to ask about your plans for the fall. While it happens all the time, some students may feel awkward or uncomfortable speaking to the college representative. Some students say they feel like they are “breaking up” with the college. Colleges admit a lot more students than will actually attend and many students decline their offers. It happens all the time and shouldn’t feel awkward.
- Keep a good relationship with the college and admission officer. The college spent a lot of time on you. Leave the relationship on a high note by communicating your decision. If you ever find yourself applying to the college again, they will look back and appreciate your correspondence. In addition, having a professional response could encourage the college to continue reaching out to students from your high school. Colleges representatives cannot visit everything high school in the country. When they continue receiving good responses from high schools, including polite declines, it may encourage them to visit your high school in the future and connect with the school counselors and students.
- Help colleges understand why you chose another college. If there was a specific reason you chose another institution, let the college know. For example, if their financial aid offer could not compare to another institution, let them know. If the college is hearing the same reasons from many students, it may lead to changes that can help future students.
Colleges have made it easy to inform them of your decision.
- Online admissions portal. You may have received your admissions decision online. Log back into the portal to decline the admissions offer.
- Postal mail. Colleges who still send out admission decisions in the mail may have included a postage-paid reply card. Fill out the card and mail it back.
- Call or email your admissions counselor. You may have built a relationship with the counselor. Send them a simple email or make a phone call to say, “thanks, but no thanks.” Thank them for reviewing your application and answering all your questions. They will appreciate your gesture and will understand your decision.
Now that you have started narrowing down your college list to one, let the colleges know your decision. The college will appreciate you taking the time to decline their offer. Plus, it is the nice and professional thing to do and could help future students.
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My daughter has several offers from schools around the country and she is starting to narrow it down. I think that she wants to go to an Ivy league school so she needs to let the other schools know that. I’ll explain to her that the schools really want the feedback as to why she is going elsewhere so they can change themselves to meet the needs of students.