You've applied to graduate schools, and lo and behold, you've been accepted to the program of your dreams. You may think you're all set and you need only pack your bags, book a flight or load your car, and head out to grad school. But, you need to take one more step to ensure your position at the school will be open and ready for you when you arrive: You'll need to write an acceptance letter. Admissions officers have to be sure that you are ready to attend; otherwise, they will likely give your spot to another candidate.
Before Writing Your Letter or Email
Your graduate school applications were just the first step. Maybe you received several offers of admission, maybe not. Either way, remember to share the good news with friends and family first. Don't forget to thank your mentors and people who wrote recommendation letters on your behalf. You want to maintain your educational and professional contacts as your academic career progresses.
Writing Your Reply
Most grad programs notify applicants of their acceptance-or rejection-by email or phone, although a few still send formal letters by mail. Regardless of how you're notified, don't immediately say yes. This is especially important if the good news comes in a phone call.
Thank the caller, likely a professor, and explain that you will reply soon. Don't worry: You won't suddenly have your acceptance revoked if you briefly delay. Most programs give accepted students a window of a few days-or even up to a week or two-to decide.
Once you've had a chance to digest the good news and consider your options, it's time to write your graduate school acceptance letter. You can respond via a letter that you send through the mail or you can reply by email. In either case, your response should be short, respectful, and clearly indicate your decision.
Sample Acceptance Letter or Email
Feel free to use the sample letter or email below. Simply replace the name of the professor, admissions officer, or admissions committee of the school as appropriate:
Dear Dr. Smith (or Admissions Committee):
I am writing to accept your offer to enroll in the X program at graduate university. Thank you, and I appreciate your time and consideration during the admissions process. I look forward to attending your program this fall and am excited by the opportunities that await.
Rebecca R. Student
Though your correspondence seemingly states the obvious, it is very important that you make it clear that you intend to enroll in the graduate program. And, being polite-such as saying "thank you"-is always important in any official correspondence.
Before You Send the Letter or Email
As you would with any important correspondence, take the time to reread your letter or email before you send it. Ensure that it doesn't have any misspellings or grammatical errors. Once you're satisfied with your acceptance letter, send it.
If you've been accepted into more than one grad program, you've still got some homework to do. You'll need to write a letter declining an offer of admissions to each of the programs you rejected. As with your acceptance letter, make it short, direct, and respectful.