How to Respond to a College Rejection Letter

Teens fear being rejected by their crushes, friends and society in general. But there is one more rejection dreaded by them, particularly graduating high schoolers: the kind that can come from their dream colleges. Being denied the opportunity to attend the institution at the top of your college list can be a devastating and overwhelming experience.

You might not know how to bounce back from the upsetting news. And you might not know, too, how or where to start writing a reply to the nicely-worded letter of denial from the admissions office.

A response to the college rejection letter, which should be addressed to the person who sent it, should include a brief introduction, the intent for writing, gratitude for the opportunity to apply and regret toward the admissions decisions. The response should be concise, professional and courteous.

Continue reading if you have been staring at a blank document on your computer screen for hours already. This article will guide you on how to respond to a college rejection letter the right way.

But before anything else, let’s answer this question that might have been looming in your mind from the get-go…

college application rejected

Is Responding to a College Rejection Letter Necessary?

Students who receive a rejection letter from colleges and universities are not required to write a response letter. However, responding to it is recommended for those who are planning on applying to the same institution but to a different academic program or appealing the admissions decision.

If you received an acceptance letter from a school and it’s the one that you wanted to attend, it’s a definite must that you send a reply ASAP in order to let the admissions office know about your intent to commit and enroll.

Otherwise, the slot the institution has reserved for you might be given to somebody else on the waitlist.

It’s a completely different thing if what you received from a college or university is a rejection letter — you may or may not send a response to the institution. After all, it’s a much better idea to simply devote both your time and energy to responding to schools that have sent you an offer to become one of their students.

There are instances, however, where you might want to consider responding to a college rejection letter, which can have an impact on the next few steps you would like to take.

Planning on applying to the school that has denied you admission all over again the following term or year?

Thinking about appealing the admissions decision for you know in your heart that you would make a good fit for the institution?

Then taking the time to write a response would be highly recommendable.

At many colleges and universities, personal qualities and traits are considered non-academic admissions factors.

Nothing can help you build a positive character that many schools with a holistic admissions process love more than politely and graciously accepting the denial. Who knows — the simple act might help boost your admissions chances next time?

Response to a College Rejection Letter Template

And now we have come to the heart of this article, and it’s none other than writing a response to a college rejection letter! Below, you will come across a template. Whether or not you decide to use it, always remember one thing: be concise, professional and courteous from the start to the end of your response.

There are many ways to go about writing the right response letter — all you have to do is check online.

Refrain from assuming that just because you have tons of choices the response-writing task will be easier. If truth be told, taking a look at one template after the other endlessly can make the whole undertaking complicated!

All you need is one template that allows you to express your thoughts and the recipient — the one who sent the college rejection letter — to get whatever it is that you want to say. No matter if what you are really after is a closure, the chance to appeal the decision or to extend your interest in applying again, the right template will let you do the job.

Without further ado, here’s the response to a college rejection letter template:

[Sender’s name]

[Sender’s address]

[Date of the letter]

[Recipient’s name]

[Office name]

[Institution’s name]

[Institution’s address]

Re: Rejection from [institution’s name or name of the program]

Dear [Sir/Madam],

My name is [sender’s name], a graduate of [high school’s name] and an applicant for the [name of the program] program at [institution’s name].

I recently received your rejection letter for the said program. I failed to be awarded a slot for it and, as such, am extremely saddened by the turnout of my application.

Nonetheless, I would like to express my gratitude for having the opportunity to apply. Thank you very much for considering my application and for the helpful feedback, too.

Should there be a future opening for which my application makes me qualified, please kindly consider me. You can also get in touch with me at [sender’s contact information] if making an appeal is a possibility.

Thank you so much for your time and kind consideration!


[Sender’s name]

As you can see, the template allows you to write a short and sweet response.

I get it — receiving a rejection letter from the school of your dreams, especially if you are anticipating an acceptance letter, can make you feel all kinds of things. It can make you depressed, angry, hurt, crushed, confused, betrayed, frustrated, disappointed, attacked, surprised, unwanted — the list could go on and on!

While it’s healthy to express your feelings, please keep in mind that a response to a college rejection letter is not the right venue for it. Needless to say, you should keep it professional.

But don’t start composing that letter without first checking out the following pointers:

  • Maintain a professional and polite tone throughout the letter. Always bear in mind that the person who will read your letter is someone who is dignified, respected and esteemed by his or her peers and the students.
  • Keep your emotions in check. After writing and sending the response to a college rejection letter, you have all the time to pour out your feelings in your diary or to your closest family members and friends.
  • Refrain from including details that have nothing to do with the admissions decision. Basically, the things you have to write about are understanding of the admissions decision, regret for missing the opportunity to enroll, gratitude towards the consideration of your application, and interest to appeal or apply again.

Just Before You Write a College Rejection Letter Response

If you are thinking about applying to the same college or university and/or program the following term, academic year or sometime in the future, it’s generally a good idea to respond to the rejection letter. The same is true if you are thinking about appealing the admissions decision.

But even if you have decided to simply attend a school that has sent you an acceptance letter, you may still thank the admissions officers at the institution that has rejected you for their time and consideration.

No matter your purpose for writing a response to a college rejection letter, stay courteous at all times.

Related Questions

Can a college reject you after sending you an acceptance letter?

It’s very much possible for colleges and universities to rescind or revoke their offer to enroll even after the acceptance letter has been already sent. More often than not, this happens when the admitted student’s high school grades drop or character becomes questionable.

What can happen if a college sends you an acceptance letter by mistake?

Per academic year, believe it or not, it’s not uncommon for some colleges and universities to mistakenly send out acceptance letters to rejected applicants. After figuring out the slip-up, the institution in question typically sends a follow-up letter, apologizing for the error.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of the College Reality Check.

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