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Best Approach to Declining an Offer

mom2clarinetobsessedkidmom2clarinetobsessedkid 119 replies3 threads Junior Member
The acceptances are in, and we're breathing a sigh of relief. The hard part is over, right? Ha! Now it's time to sort through the offers, weigh the pros and cons, figure out the financials. So much for celebrating! Does this process *ever* get easier?!?

We're taking a (quick) moment to enjoy a successful audition season, while also feeling the full weight of "April Angst"--a term aptly coined by previous years' groups--setting in. One of the things I've been dreading most throughout this process is how we'll notify the professors at schools whose offers we'll be declining. These are people we've spent time with, people who have provided information and answered questions, graciously given lessons, and gone to bat with the financial aid department. Many of them have been cheering for our kids right alongside us.

I feel strongly that we should reach out to them to express our gratitude and inform them of our decision. Is there any correct way of going about this? Definitely don't want to burn any bridges or upset the chain of command.
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Replies to: Best Approach to Declining an Offer

  • LendleesLendlees 256 replies1 threads Junior Member
    My kid emailed the professors he had personal relationships with and respectfully declined their offer but did NOT mention where he was going. If they followed up and asked, he then told them. Most were incredibly gracious and one even said to think of them when he was looking at Masters programs. Good luck - having choices is such a luxury, revel in it while you can.
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  • Lobstahluvr89Lobstahluvr89 2 replies0 threads New Member
    My son emailed one professor who he's communication with over the last year to tell him he was going somewhere. The professor was so gracious, sent his congratulations and then said (I paraphrase) that "he's been in the business for 30 years and he knows that some of his favorites are other people's favorites too." The rest of the schools, he just went into the portals to decline the offer, for one school, we had to return a postcard with the decision.
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  • bridgenailbridgenail 1199 replies6 threads Senior Member
    edited April 3
    Do contact those professors. All my professional life I've worked in a "sales capacity". I fully understand when I'm working with people that only a certain percentage will end up working with "me". By me, I mean my organization. To me, the "rejections" are about the organization. The acceptances are about "me"....lol. We all learn how to make the mental adjustments in jobs that involve "rejection".

    Professionals don't take rejection personally. Do note however my pet peeve is NO communication. Then you are left wondering and waiting (the worst, right) so DO communicate out of respect. A rejection is much better than no communication!! It also shows maturity. In order NOT to burn a bridge, communicate respectfully with appreciation for their time.
    edited April 3
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  • gram22gram22 159 replies1 threads Junior Member
    edited April 3
    If you have a personal connection to a professor, do write to them and let them know that you will not be accepting. At places where you don't have the connection, let the college know via the portal - do this even if you have written to the professor. For the most part, professors are gracious - they haven't gotten where they are without rejecting a few themselves, and they've been rejected by others as well. In the worst case, you may never hear from them again, which is OK.

    But, do let them know, as soon as possible. There are people on the waitlist that may benefit. This is particularly important for music school I think, since there are potentially two lists, one for a specific professors studio, and the second for the school itself. Letting both know as soon as you can is the right thing to do.

    A not necessarily related anecdote : Some years ago, there was a Canadian wind player (?) that had a MM offer from USC. His live in girlfriend was not accepted, and having access to the guys email, deleted it before he could see it. He was a bit surprised since he thought he'd made a personal connection to the professor that he'd auditioned for, but put it down to a cold reject. Some years later, he crossed paths with the professor, who remembered him, and asked him why he'd never responded to the offer. It was then that he realized what had happened, and then sued and settled with, by now, his ex-girlfriend.

    Edit : https://www.cnn.com/2018/06/15/us/dream-school-false-rejection-letter-trnd/index.html
    I found the news article - this guy was in fact a clarinetist, and it was worse than I remembered, she actually faked a rejection letter.
    edited April 3
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  • Parentof2014gradParentof2014grad 1053 replies13 threads Senior Member
    My son sent professors an email informing them of his decision not to attend, thanking them for the great audition experience and saying something complimentary about the situation he was turning down. It wasn’t hard, to find nice things to say because he turned down at some really great options. He got some very gracious emails in return.
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  • akapiratequeenakapiratequeen 1274 replies37 threads Senior Member
    These are wise words. Short, gracious, and they will respond in kind.
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  • MomOfSingersMomOfSingers 134 replies10 threads Junior Member
    @CindyCV -- you are so right! That is exactly how it should be done! At some schools, the teachers/staff will email your child back with a friendly note. At some schools, there will be radio silence. But it is always best to do the right thing! Karma is real! As is good citizenship.

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  • Maverick8Maverick8 16 replies0 threads Junior Member
    It seems to me only natural to write a note to any teacher you connected with who gave you enough of their time and teaching that you decided to apply for their school and studio. That's just a polite acknowledgement of the human interaction. Beyond that, it's a small world, and you never know when you'll see that person again; summer festival, graduate school, master class, competition... it's important for students to know how to engage on a professional level in the real world. And as the expectations of courtesy are lowered in this crazy world, they may even stand out!
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