How to Decline an Admission to a College

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Getting an acceptance letter to the college of your choice is an exciting, relieving moment. But if you have other offers that you don’t want to accept, it is common courtesy to inform those schools of your decision. Upon hearing that you're declining acceptance, these schools can open up that spot to other students. Declining is a simple matter of sending a letter to the admissions office.

Create a new form business letter in a word processing program. You can use this same letter for each of the schools to which you send a letter declining admission.

Enter your full name and address at the beginning of the letter followed by the date that you plan to send the letter. Type in the admission’s office address next. Be sure to include the name of the person who sent you the letter of acceptance, if his or her name is available.

Greet the reader with a simple “Dear Mr. Smith" (name of the admissions officer). Thank the person for considering you for admission to the school. Include the date of the acceptance letter you received and use the full name of the college.

Explain that you have carefully considered the offer and have decided not to attend the school. You do not have to provide details about your decision or intentions--just a simple notification that you will not attend that particular school’s program.

Repeat your expression of thanks for being selected to attend the institution, then close the letter with “Sincerely” or “Regards” and then your full name. If you had a number or code associated with your acceptance, include that number under your name. Print on high-quality paper, sign the letter, and print an envelope with the full name and address.


You should send your declination letters as soon as possible. However, wait until you've sent your letter of acceptance and confirmed attendance at the school of your choice. Be 100 percent sure you've been added to the final freshman class list before turning down other schools.