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How to respond to an offer of admission?


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I have been lucky to receive my first offer of admission to a Clinical Psychology Ph.D. program. It's definitely an amazing program and I am SO excited to hear the news. The problem is, it is my #2 choice and I won't interview at my #1 choice until next week.


How do I respond to the offer, knowing that I cannot accept it yet? Do I tell my professor that I am still interviewing? Do I mention that it is high on my list? I want to be appreciative, but I also don't want to lead the professor on, since I'm still hoping to get into another program. Any wording for this would be appreciated greatly!


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I dont think anyone expects you to answer right away. My POI, who happens to be at my top choice, actually encouraged me to wait it out and see what other offers I get. He understands the process (I mean, they have all been in this position, too) and just wants me to choose what's best for me. However, once he told me that my application was approved by the department, I told him that his program was my top choice and so now I just need to hear about funding. I figured that would give him peace of mind while he tries to get me funded (i would be international so it's actually a bit harder to get funding).

Now, I dont know if there is a formality in responding to an offer or just "waiting it out". Typically, once you have the offer you have until April 15th to decide (as my POI emphasized).

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You don't need to formally answer but you should acknowledge the offer. Something like this:


Dear Prof: That's great news! I'm very excited to hear about your offer because I [really enjoyed my campus visit, love the research you're doing, etc.]. I am still waiting to hear from several places to which I applied, but I will get back to you formally as soon as I can.


(You could also ask whether there's a formal offer coming in the mail, you should always wait until you get something on paper.)

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Give an enthusiastic thank you but tell them you still have other interviews and will let them know as soon as possible. I had an offer early Feb but still had  6 interviews throughout Feb-early March. It was a great school but I couldn't make a decision without even visiting my other schools. I gave the first school  periodic updates and ended up accepting early April. 

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Thanks for the tips, everyone!


Along the same vein... How does one turn down an offer politely? As a back-up plan, I applied to a couple School Psychology Ph.D. programs and have received a couple acceptance offers from these. When I tell them I cannot accept, do I have to mention that I'll be attending a Clinical program instead? Or do I just mention that I will be attending another program that is a better fit for me? I was on good terms with a couple of these professors, and I definitely don't want to offend anyone by insinuating that they were only a safety school.


Thanks again!

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