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Best way to word a 'turning down the offer' email?

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Hi all,

I've searched through other threads on GradCafe about this and I can't really find what I'm looking for. I've already been accepted to a few programs and I know that one, in particular, I will most likely not be attending. This has got me thinking: what's a nice way to format a 'turning down the offer' email while showing I was grateful to be considered for admission?

Thank you!!

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I just write to the GSD:


" I am honored to have been accepted, but " EXPLAIN your other offer or research fit. " I will have to decline the offer."  Or "I am sorry but I will have to decline the offer." And then thanked them and complimented the program. Wished them luck.

Standard email format. I mostly think it's just important for you to email them quickly. They will appreciate that more. So will the people on their waitlist.



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Here's what I wrote:



Hi <person>,

Thanks so much for the update.  I also wanted to let you know that after a Saturday full of weighing pros and cons and discussing the future, I have decided to decline <school's> offer of admission, as I believe my research interests will be a better fit elsewhere.
As I enter academia, I hope to see you and your colleagues at conferences.  Everyone I met was delightful and inspiring, and I felt honored to have the opportunity to learn from them.
Let me know if there is anything I need to do to decline officially.
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Examples above are good. Here is another simple example:

Dear X,

Thank you for the opportunity to join the PhD program in your department. After careful consideration, I have decided to accept an offer at [School X] working with [Prof Y] on topic Z. I really enjoyed my visit to your program and I hope to see you and your colleagues at future conferences.


Generally, I'd say that you should tell them where you have decided to attend instead (very normal to do in my field, after all, you'll now be junior colleagues to them and they will see you again). You can leave out the Y and/or the Z if you don't know it or don't want to say it. And of course, if you didn't visit, then drop that clause too. 

But if you haven't decided yet or if you don't want to tell them for whatever reason, then just replace "School X" with "another school". 

Finally, I don't think you should go on too much about how great you thought their program was nor spend time extolling the virtues of the program you did choose. It could sound like you are either patronizing and/or unfavourably comparing their program to your chosen one. I'd personally choose to just keep it very minimal as the main purpose is to just deliver the message that you appreciated their time but won't be attending.

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