How to write an acceptance letter for college | Complete Guide 2021

writing acceptance letter

It’s very common to receive an acceptance letter from a college if you gain admission. But, what if you are in the position to write those letters, how will you do that? 

In this article, we’ll take you through the step-by-step process of preparing an acceptance letter for college students. 

This will explain in detail what information a typical college acceptance letter includes.

Also, we’ll show you real college acceptance letter samples so you can get an idea of what they look like. 

Let’s get started!

What is a college acceptance letter?

A college acceptance letter is a short congratulatory letter written in response to a student’s application to the college.

The aim of this letter is to let the student know that he/she has been accepted to study in the school.

Many students apply for college courses and the ones that are selected get notification through college acceptance letters.

As for those who are not accepted, they get a rejection letter.

There are several criteria a college uses to determine which student gets a placement in a degree program.

Those students who meet the criteria will gain admission while the rest will get a rejection letter.

Even among those students that meet the admission requirements, there are other criteria to select only the best.

The bottom line remains that only those who pass through all the stages of the examination will get an acceptance letter into the college.

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How do you write a college acceptance letter?

Contrary to popular beliefs, there is no one standard format for writing a college acceptance letter.

Harvard acceptance letters are not better than those of a college in a third world country.

Every college follows its letter writing rules. 

But the contents of the acceptance letter are usually quite similar to each other.

So, if you want to write a college acceptance letter, here’s how to do it.

#1. Formally tell the receiver that he or she has been accepted into the university.

This is the first thing that comes after the school letterhead, date, student’s address and salutation.

The first line of the acceptance letter for college must inform the candidate that he/she has been selected for the particular college degree or program.

You should go straight to the point to let the student know his/her admission status.

Here are some real samples from some universities. 

Princeton University:

“Congratulations! The committee has reviewed your application and we are happy to offer you admission to the Class of 2009.”

Harvard University:

“I am delighted to inform you that the Committee on Admissions has admitted you to the Class of 2009 under the Early Action program. Please accept my personal congratulations for your outstanding achievements.”

Stanford University:

“Congratulations! It is with great pleasure that I offer you admission to the Stanford University Class of 2009.”


“On behalf of the Admissions Committee, it is my pleasure to offer you admission to the MIT Class of 2009.”

#2. Explain why the student was selected among many applications

By now, the student is already overwhelmed after reading the news in the first line of this letter.

The next lines that follow should give a snippet into the rigors of the selection process.

Doing this will help the students to know exactly what the school saw in them so that they will keep that up.

Also, the good thing is that they made it through the tough selection process. 

As a result, they deserve the warmest congratulations from the college. 

Here are some examples:

Princeton University:

“Princeton received a record applicant pool of over 16,500 applications this year and your academic accomplishments, extra-curricular achievements and personal qualities stood out among this strong pool. 

The committee was impressed with all you have done. Thank you for applying. We are delighted to be accepting you.”

Harvard University:

“In recent years, nearly twenty thousand students have applied for the sixteen hundred and fifty places in the freshman class. Faced with many more talented and highly qualified candidates than it has room to admit, the Admissions Committee has taken great care to choose individuals who present extraordinary academic, extracurricular and personal strengths. In making each admission decision, the Committee keeps in mind that the excellence of Harvard College depends most of all on the talent and promise of the people assembled here, particularly our students. In voting to offer you admission, the Committee has demonstrated its firm belief that you can make important contributions during your college years and beyond.”

Stanford University:

“Your thoughtful application and remarkable accomplishments convinced us that you

have the intellectual energy, imagination and talent to flourish at Stanford. 

Among the over 20,000 applications we read, your distinguished record of academic excellence and personal achievement stood out. 

We are thrilled to welcome you to the Stanford community and look forward to the unique and extraordinary contributions

we know you will make to the intellectual and extracurricular life of our campus.”


“You were identified as one of the most talented and promising students in one of

MIT’s most competitive applicant pools ever.

Your commitment to personal excellence makes you stand out as someone who will

thrive within our academic environment as well as contribute to our diverse community.

At MIT, you join kindred spirits: scholars, builders, entrepreneurs, and humanitarians. We believe that you and MIT are very well matched for each other.”

#3. Give details of the next step of the admission process

In this part of the letter is where you will provide details of further steps the student has to take.

Reference to a college pack that may accompany the letter or instructions on where to pick it up.

If there are important events the student ought to attend, then give details with dates.

If there are any deadlines then that must be highlighted. 

You could also add details of when the academic year will begin and other related details.

Also, you can share important emails, phone numbers or websites that will help the student.

Just make sure to include all the requirements you expect the recipient to comply with.

See some examples below:

Princeton University:

“If you applied for financial aid, a letter from the Financial Aid Office is enclosed with this mailing. If you have any questions, a member of the financial aid staff would be pleased to speak with you or your parents.

We understand that paying for a college education is a significant commitment, and we would like to help you through the process.

Princeton’s policy of replacing the student loan with additional grants sets us apart from other schools and allows you to graduate without any expected debt.

You and your parents are invited to join us on April 14-16 for our April Hosting program to learn more about Princeton. An invitation is enclosed with this mailing. Our faculty members are interested in meeting you and we hope you can join us.

Also included in this packet is the response card which you need to fill out and return to us with a May 1 postmark.

Should you decide to attend Princeton,

we will be sending you more materials later this spring with information about getting ready for your freshman year.”

Harvard University:

“By early March, you will receive an invitation to visit Harvard from Friday, April 29, to Sunday, May 1.

Our faculty and students have arranged a special welcome for you and we think the experience will be interesting and useful in making your final college choice.

Of course, we would also be happy to have you visit at some other time and we hope you will make a special effort to do so if you will be unable to join us in April.

Especially if you cannot come to Cambridge during the next several months, please do not hesitate to contact us if we can be of help in any way.

You will find our application booklet and our website ( good sources of information about

college life and we will be sending you a course catalog in the spring to help familiarize you with our academic opportunities. We are enclosing a statement about choosing a college that might be helpful.

You have until May 1 to respond to our offer.

However, we are enclosing with this letter a reply card for your use in case you are able to inform us of your decision before the May 1 reply date.

A complete admission packet will be mailed to you in early April.”


“The exciting next step is now yours. As Stanford is probably only one of several options you will consider in the coming weeks, I hope you will use the time to learn more about us.

We invite you to participate in Admit Weekend 2005, a three-day program that will introduce you to the intellectual vibrancy and dynamic campus life that define Stanford. Information about that event is enclosed.

Whatever decision you make, we ask that you complete the enclosed enrollment

response card and return it to us by the postmark deadline of May 2, 2005.

Should you decide to matriculate at Stanford — and we sincerely hope you do — we will send enrollment information to you in late May.”


“You’ll have offers from many fine schools, but we hope that you’ll choose to enroll at MIT. The deadline to accept our offer is May 1, and there’s a reply form enclosed in this packet.

Between now and then, though, we look forward to building our relationship with you so you can get to know us better.

Over the next several months, we’ll be in touch by email, over the phone and via your MyMIT portal account (

Many of our students believe that the campus visit experience was the deciding factor in their choice to enroll at MIT.

Therefore, we’d love to have you be our guest for Campus Preview Weekend (CPW), held on the MIT campus from April 7 through 10, 2005.

CPW is an excellent way to experience MIT student life firsthand. You will go to classes, eat the food, listen to hallway conversations, and meet your future classmates. We encourage your parents to attend as well. Please see the enclosed CPW invitation for all the details.

If you can’t come to CPW, please try to visit campus before May 1. To make arrangements to stay overnight with an undergraduate host, complete the online request form on the MyMIT website or just call the Office of Admissions at (617) 258-5515.

If you are unable to visit the campus at all but are eager to get to know MIT, you’ll have the chance to speak with a current undergraduate soon; an MIT student will be calling you in April.”

#4. End with a well wishing comment for the recipient.

By now, you would have provided all the necessary details you want the student to know.

Next, you have to end your letter with a well wishing comment.

You can get personal here or use an emotional tone.

You may decide to sound super hyped with excitement hoping to see the student in the school soon.

Or you may use the opportunity to restate the values of the school.

Also, this section is another opportunity for you to congratulate the student again before closing the letter.

In addition, you can drop a statement that will direct the student on how to get further help or answers to any quations they might have.

Of course, you can also use this section to state when the school year will begin officially.

Here are some examples:

Princeton University:

“Once again, congratulations. We are thrilled to be sending you this splendid news.

If you have any questions about the academic program, residential life, or a particular interest, please let us know and we will help you get the answers.”

Harvard University:

“We very much hope that you will decide to attend Harvard, and we look forward to having you join us in September.”

Stanford University:

“While we have every reason to believe you will complete this school year successfully,

remember that your admission is contingent upon your continued strong academic performance in the program you presented to us in your application.

Once again, I extend my congratulations on your admission to Stanford and welcome you to the Stanford family.”


“I hope this letter is the one you were expecting and that it brings you the exhilaration you deserve to feel. I also hope that you will take the night off to celebrate with your loved ones.

But as a mother, I expect you to get right back to work and finish up the year with top grades, since we don’t admit slackers to MIT and this offer of admission is contingent upon your successful completion of the school year. No senior slump allowed!

Finally, I hope you’ll agree with us that MIT is the perfect place to prepare you for your future role in a world that badly needs you. Congratulations and welcome to the MIT Class of 2009. I look forward to seeing you on campus.”


It’s a wrap!!

You can combine the examples from each of these schools to see how the college acceptance letter appears.

Note that a college acceptance letter does not have to be too detailed.

A student starter pack will definitely take care of the detailing. 

However, if you want to put in information regarding hostel services or specific courses, no rule says you cannot do this.

Just make sure to keep it short and sweet.

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