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How to Say NO to College Offers

May 1st is the 'National Candidate Reply Date' for deciding on which college you will attend and the day you must say no to college offers. It's true that some of them will be great offers and will be hard to say no to. Each college you have applied to will give you directions on how to announce your decision. Some have an online form, others will want an email or paper letter.

How, exactly, do you write that letter? Easy - use this template!

say no to college offers

Sample letter to reject a college admission offer

Dear Ms. Name (or Admissions Office):

I am writing in response to your offer of admission to the (Name of) University. I appreciate your interest in me, but I regret to inform you that I will not be accepting your offer of admission. Thank you for your time and consideration.


Student Name

What you need to know about saying no to college offers

  • Respond promptly - as soon as you are sure it's a "no" instead of a "maybe."
  • Don't apologize - you have done nothing wrong, you just chose a different school.
  • Be professional - these sorts of letters are every-day, common experiences to businesses.
  • Express thanks - express appreciation for the offer they gave you.
  • Follow directions - they may have a method to accept or decline.

say no to college offers

Be kind and reply as soon as possible

Read each colleges instructions and follow the directions carefully. These colleges need to know your answer now, so they can make their plans, and provide scholarships and admission offers to others. Don't wait until May 1st if you know in advance you won't go to a particular college and can reply earlier. Answer them ASAP when your decision is made, but absolutely not after the deadline.

Move forward in faith

It's difficult for students, and parents, to make that final decision to say no to college offers, but I encourage you to move forward in faith. God can lead you when you are MOVING forward, but if you are stagnant, you're more like a donkey than a faithful follower. In our family we call this "point and pray" - you look ahead, point in the general direction, and pray. God will guide your steps.

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