Congratulations! You have made your decision on the college you will attend in the fall. But, what do you do about the other colleges that sent acceptance letters? Some students choose to do nothing. However, I have five reasons you will want to let the colleges know you will not be attending.
- It’s professional. Many admission officers are invested in their students. You might have met them at your high school or a college fair. You might have exchanged a few emails or phone calls. In addition to answering all of your questions, the admission officer spent the time getting to know you by reviewing your application. They may have even advocated for you when the college was making admission decisions. Don’t make them keep guessing; let them know you will be attending another institution.
- Help another student. If you were admitted to a selective college, they may have a waitlist of other qualified students waiting to hear back. The earlier the college knows you will not be attending, the earlier the college might open up a spot for a deserving student.
- No awkward conversation. Selective colleges may not contact you to find out if you are still considering them, but less selective colleges might. Your admission counselor may contact you to ask if you have made your plans for the fall. Some colleges may even keep calling you until they hear from you, even after May 1. Don’t let them wait. Just be honest with them that you decided to another college. Don’t worry – it will not hurt their feelings. Admission counselors are used to hearing from students that they will be attending another institution.
- End it on a high note. 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. College representatives cannot visit every 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 counselor and students.
- Help them understand. If there was a specific reason you chose another institution, let the college know. For example, if the financial aid offer could not compare to another institution, let them know. If the college is hearing the same responses from students, it may lead to changes that can help future students.
You may feel bad about “breaking up” with the college. However, don’t feel that way. The colleges know that you and most students have multiple offers and you have to choose just one. They get it! If you don’t want to have a conversation about choosing a different college, colleges have made it easy to inform them of your decision.
- Online admission portal. If you received your admission decision online, you probably can decline your admission offer there, too.
- Postal mail. If you received your decision in the mail, they might have included a postage-paid reply card. Fill out the card and mail it back.
- Email you admission counselor. You may have built a relationship with the counselor. Send them a simple email to say, “Thanks, but no thanks.” Thank them for reviewing your application and answering all of your questions. They will appreciate your gesture and will understand your decision.
Now that you have narrowed down your college list to one, let colleges know your decision. The college will appreciate you taking the time to decline their offer. Plus, it is the profession thing to do and can help future students.