Seniors, you've received several acceptances, and one college rose to the top. It's the one that longed for you, and you longed for it. You've made your love official by submitting your enrollment deposit, and your hopes are to live happily ever after from orientation week to commencement day. Although you've made your decision and are now moving on - what about your other admirers? Let's do this the right way! In this classic "It's not you, it's me" scenario, the same breakup rules for any ending relationship apply. If you are a person of honor and integrity, take the time to inform your other colleges that you will not be joining them in the Fall.
It's the Right Thing To Do, but There's More To It Than Just Being Polite
Believe it or not, your application remains in the college's system for quite some time. You're not just "thrown out" because you didn't enroll. As sure as you are that you've found "the one" college that will make all your dreams come true, it's nice to end things on a nice note with the ones that wanted you, too. To do this right, go into your applicant portal and find the button or link that says something like "Withdraw Application" or "Change of Plans". Tapping will open up a form that asks if you are declining your acceptance. Click "yes" and it will also ask if you'll be going to another college. For their own marketing purposes, you can either tell them where you'll be heading, but you don't have to unless it's a mandatory field.
Why go through all of this trouble? Because they track it, it's the right thing to do if you're selfless, and it clears a path if you want to transfer in the future to the school you just rejected. Giving a definitive "no" to the college, even after the enrollment deposit is due, helps the college deal with their waitlisted applicants a bit quicker. And, because anything can happen after Year One, you want to make sure there's still a good relationship with those colleges that did want you, just in case you become interested in them again later on, even for graduate school.
Thanks, but No Thanks
Just in case the school's applicant portal does not have a simple one-click feature, you'll have to reach out to your college admission representative, or whoever signed your acceptance letter, and give them a quick e-mail. It can read something like this:
Dear Undergraduate Admission Office, Thank you for XYZ College's offer of admission. I sincerely appreciate the time to review my credentials. I will be attending a different school in the Fall, but I wish XYZ University continued success. Best regards, Your Ex
Leaving your accepted colleges on a positive note is the right thing to do, and it'll set you up in the future if you decide to reconnect with an "old flame".