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How to properly "accept" -- ?


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So I was sent a letter of admission to department X a couple weeks ago. I have had discussions with the professor I'd be working with in the past, and also saw her twice in person. Last time we talked she told me to let her know what I decide about the application. 


I was going to wait to hear the full details of the offer, however, was informed today that if I "check" on my "intent to attend" it would reflect positively on my application for an assistantship. This is my top choice, so I was going to try to make it work either way. However, I'm concerned about deciding this early. My heart says yes, but my over-analytical side is skeptical. 


If I do inform them of my decision to attend should I send the letter and contact the professor immidiately? Or just send the letter? What is the appropriate way to "accept?" 


Looking for some guidance. :) 

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Send the letter and contact the professor at the same time. Let the prof know you've decided to accept the offer and are very excited about coming to the program next Fall. This might also be a good opportunity to ask about funding opportunities (RAships, TAships) if it's relevant, so you could mention it in the same email or in the follow-up once you get a reply from the prof about accepting the offer.

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