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How to Reply to Admissions Offer


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This is a very basic and possibly stupid question, but: I got my first admissions offer by personal email, from the DGS of a top choice, but still waiting for other schools which may not come until later February or early March, waiting for the final funding offer, and I want to visit all of these places before making a decision.

I feel like I should respond to the email, saying thanks etc., but I'm not 100% sure whether I should even make reference to the "waiting for other schools" thing or give a time table for my acceptance, or how positive I should be-- "I'm very excited about working with you" versus "I'm very excited about exploring the possibility of working with you further" etc.

Let me know what you think. Obviously, I want to make a good impression in the case I decide to work with this professor, but of course don't want to pretend that I'm not considering other schools.

Or should I not reply at all?

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Don't say anything you don't mean, but don't make explicit reference to waiting for other schools or give a time table.

Does the school have a visit day? If so, that might give you something to be totally positive about (assuming you're planning to go). Or do you have any plans to talk to anyone from the program? Or did the DGS offer this opportunity? Those are all good things to refer to in order to take the pressure off responding directly to the offer.

Otherwise, "I'm very excited about the possibility of working with you" seems acceptable (maybe not the stuff about exploring further...). And yes, in any case, you should DEFINITELY reply.

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I just went through this myself. You definitely should respond, at the very least to acknowledge the receipt of the acceptance. After that, just thank them and tell them that you'll let them know of your decision as soon as possible. They know, of course, that it's very early and that you're still waiting to hear from the other schools. I did this last week with an early acceptance, and the professor was extremely understanding and didn't take any offense at that.

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Reply saying thank you, that you're excited, etc. Ask about an on-campus visit if it isn't mentioned and you haven't been on one yet. They won't expect you to make an immediate decision, so no need to reference waiting to hear from other schools.

100% agree with this.

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