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How to decline an offer


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I am required to decline an offer by mailing the respective department, and not through an impersonal standardized system on the website which just requires me to click a button to accept or to decline. I was wondering how carefully should my reply be worded in such a case? And could anyone throw any light on the etiquette involved in such a situation as well? I know this is the last time I'll be mailing them, but they've been so nice to me, and I feel so bad declining this offer, therefore, I want to make sure this mail is as polite and nice as possible.


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Even if you don't think you'll be in any further contact with the school, it's wise to write a polite letter. You want the profs there to remember you favorably, they will be your future colleagues. I wrote some version of this letter to schools whose offer I declined:

Dear Dr. X,

Thank you again for your offer of admission to X. I sincerely appreciate your interest in my candidacy, but I regret to inform you that I will not be accepting your offer of admission. Many factors entered into my decision, and the fact that I have a number of spectacular choices made the process all the more difficult.

I enjoyed meeting you and learning more about the linguistics program at X. The program seems very strong, and there is certainly a lot of innovative research going on in your department. I had a great time during the open house, and I appreciated your efforts throughout the recruitment process. It was nice to have the opportunity to discuss my work with you, and your grad students were incredibly informative and helpful.

I look forward to seeing you at conferences in the future, and I hope that we can continue to communicate with each other in connection with our research.



ETA: Please do NOT copy this letter and use it as your own!

Use it as an example and write your own letter.

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Yes yes obviously I will not copy! Plus I'm an international student who did not visit the school even once, so most of it is not even applicable to me :) But thanks a lot! Yes, I get the general idea.

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