How to Respond to a College Rejection Letter

When applying to the school of your dreams, getting rejected is usually the last thing on your mind. This explains why most people receive college rejection letters with a heavy heart. They might not even consider responding to it. However, a rejection letter can be an opportunity to fine-tune your next application. Responding to it could also improve your standing with the school of your dreams.

Sending a response to a college rejection letter does not guarantee you will be accepted into the program. However, it can improve your eligibility for other programs in the school. It is also considered courteous and professional.

Has your college application been rejected? Here is all you need to know about How to Respond to a College Rejection Letter.

Writing Your Letter

Being rejected by your dream school can be an emotionally overwhelming experience. Therefore, it is not unusual to not know where to begin your letter. Here is a step by step guideline to help you:

  • Address the letter – Usually, you should send your response to the person who sent the rejection letter. This is unless it is stated otherwise. Find out who you ought to address your letter to and indicate their full name, title, and address.
  • Introduce yourself – State your name, the program you applied for, and when you sent in your application. This will give the reader some context.
  • Mention your reason for writing – State that your application was denied, and that is why you are writing your response letter. It is important to get this out of the way early in the letter.
  • Express gratitude for the opportunity to apply to the program.
  • Express regret that you didn’t get into the school.
  • Show interest in future opportunities – Some schools have an application appeal process. Express enthusiasm for any future opportunities like this.
  • Close formally with your name and signature.

Tips for Responding to a College Rejection Letter

A response to a college rejection letter is a formal document. It should communicate your message concisely and professionally. As a rule of thumb, don’t mention anything that does not relate to your college application. Here are more writing tips to observe:

  • Maintain a professional and polite tone
  • Avoid being emotional, resentful, or accusatory.
  • Be precise and to the point.
  • Mention your gratitude for the opportunity
  • State your regret for missing the opportunity to join
  • Express interest in a possible appeal or future opportunities
  • Close your letter with polite regards

Response to College Rejection Letter (Format)


{Institution Name}

{Institution Address}

{City, State, Zip Code}

Re: Rejection from {Name of Institution/Program}

Dear {Sir/Madam} or {Mr./Mrs./Ms. Last Name},

I recently received your rejection letter for the {name of program} program at {name of college/institution}. I am disappointed that I did not make the cut to join your esteemed school.

Nonetheless, I am grateful for the opportunity to apply. Thank you for reviewing my college application and for the helpful feedback.

Should there be a future opening for which I qualify, kindly consider me. You can also contact me at {contact information} if there is an opportunity for appeal.

Thank you for your time and consideration.


{Your Name}

Sample Response to College Rejection Letter

17 September 2020

The Dean’s Office

North Carolina University of Business

123 Main St.

Wilmington, NC 34567

Re: Application to the School of Business

I was disappointed to receive a rejection letter from your college dates 15 September 2020. I recently applied for the Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management program for which I was not accepted. Regardless, I would like to thank you for the opportunity to apply.

I am also grateful for the helpful feedback included in your letter. As per your advice, I will adjust my application and file an appeal with the school board.

I hope for better future results. Please contact me at if anything changes.

Thank you for your time and consideration.


Annabel Jones

Response to College Rejection Letter (Word Template)

Final Thoughts

Rejections are part of life and happen to everyone. However, how you respond to them will set you apart from the crowd. Very few people think to reply to rejection letters. By learning How to Respond to a College Rejection Letter, you will present yourself in a unique light.

That said, be careful to keep your letter brief and positive. Mention your regret at not being accepted, but don’t complain about the decision. Avoid threatening the school with any legal actions, either. Finally, remember this is a formal letter sent to an established institution. Use formal, professional, and courteous language to draft your response