I have actually had to do this twice already so here is what I did:
My first decline was to a professor I had been in contact with since last August and who had been great in recruiting me and helping me during the application process. I phoned him since it seemed more personal than an email. I followed up with a formal written decline letter that I faxed to the department, which is suggested in the "rule book" on these situations.
My second offer I declined I did with an email, since I felt less "connected" to this professor. I also followed this up with a formal written letter.
In these emails/phone calls, I tried to thank them as sincerely as possible for their time, interest in me, and support of me. I emphasized the difficult decision I had to make, and how tough it was for me to decide between two particular schools. They both asked me where I had decided to go, and were both extremely supportive about my decision.
It's a difficult process to decline, so good luck! I actually had to take an hour to work myself up to call the first professor because I know he was really invested in me coming to his school.
Thanks for the advice psych! I will be facing the same challenge within the next week or so. I'm almost positive Notre Dame is where I'm going, but I don't want to decline the other 2 schools until I actually have the official acceptance papers in my hand
I am very nervous about the prospect of turning down the school where I am accepted now if I were to receove an offer from either Temple or Drexel. I had told the professor at the other place that it was my number one choice...but now it might not be anymore. Hopefully, I'll have these decision to make, but if not, then I guess I still can't complain.
On another note, ChildPsych - I met another high alternate at Temple's program yesterday at my St. John's interview. I wonder if everyone is a high alternate or if there are any low alternates? Did Dr. Fauber give you any ideas as to how many high alternates there were?
I've met a few people who interviewed at Temple and they were low alternates. So I am not really sure what the breakdown is in terms of numbers. Dr. Fauber indicated that there are far fewer high alternates than low alternates which makes sense to me. Maybe it just seems like there are a lot of us from the people you are interviewing with but maybe its a selection bias : ) I think from here on out it will really be variable in terms of who hears what since we are all waiting on different spots...But I am definitely nervous awaiting to hear.
AMEN! accept an offer and decline the others, people! i am an alternate at 3 schools - all of the ones where i had interviews - so now i'm just sitting around, twiddling my thumbs, waiting for 2nd string to be called in.
None of the schools I've been accepted to are clinical programs. This morning the prof asked if I had officially accepted the offer. I told her that I had not since I haven't received anything in the mail.
With my Purdue offer I got a little card that I am supposed to mail in saying whether or not I accept the offer. I wonder if other schools do it that way.
So I'm not sure whether to wait until i get the official stuff from Madison to decline it, or if I should do it now.
I am 99% sure about Notre Dame, but Purdue is paying for everything to go out there, and everything has been booked so I am still going to go with an open mind and check it out. Hopefully I will have the Notre Dame official acceptance stuff by then so that I can let whichever school I decline know.
I am hesitant to decline until I have the official letter in my hand. I worry too much I suppose BUT.....what if something happened on the graduate school's end...then I'd be stuck with nowhere to go !