How to Write a Rejection Letter to a Student

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Spring is here; birds are chirping, flowers are blooming, and the university admissions mailbox is overflowing with applications from eager students hoping to be in the next class of freshman at the university. Unfortunately, not all of these students will get into the university, and you must send formal rejection letters to those who were not able to get in. Rejection letters to students must be tactful and kind, but convey the bad news clearly.

1 Gather the applications

Gather the applications that you will reject in a pile. Ask an administrative assistant to create a list of the students who will be rejected and to load those addresses into the university database as rejected applicants.

2 Begin the letter by typing the date

Begin the letter by typing the date. Skip a line. Use the mail merge function in your word processing program to automatically insert a name and address from your database of rejected names. Skip an additional line.

3 Type Dear Mr./Ms .''

Type "Dear Mr./Ms." and use the mail merge function to insert the recipient's name. Skip a line.

4 Begin the letter

Begin the letter by thanking the recipient for his interest in the university. Inform him that this year, unfortunately, he will not be accepted. If you had an abundance of good applicants this year, state that fact to cushion the blow. Be firm but polite. Remember that even if this student was not a promising candidate, his little brother or sister might be, so you want to maintain the goodwill of the family.

5 Tell the recipient

Tell the recipient how he may apply next year or how he may appeal the decision, if applicable. Give the contact information for university admissions office if the student has any questions.

6 Type Sincerely

Type "Sincerely," and skip three lines. Type your name and title. Print all of the letters and sign each with blue or black ink above your typed name.

7 Mail the letters to the recipients

Mail the letters to the recipients.

Natalie Smith is a technical writing professor specializing in medical writing localization and food writing. Her work has been published in technical journals, on several prominent cooking and nutrition websites, as well as books and conference proceedings. Smith has won two international research awards for her scholarship in intercultural medical writing, and holds a PhD in technical communication and rhetoric.