After all your hard work - and interminable waiting - you receive a response to your graduate school application. You're accepted! Hurray! This might come in an email or phone call. Back in the day it was by snail-mail (and some graduate programs may still use old-fashioned paper letters).
After happy-dancing, sharing your good news and family and friends - and informing your professors, especially those who wrote recommendation letters on your behalf, it's time to think about your decision. While you're waited eagerly to hear that you've been accepted to grad school, take the time to consider offers of admission before you accept.
How to Reply
If you are notified that you are accepted to graduate school by phone, saying "yes" immediately will be very tempting. Don't! Thank the caller, likely a professor, and explain that you will reply soon. Callers expect this as everyone needs at least a little bit of time to consider offers. Once you have determined that the graduate program is for you, reply by email. Your reply email should be short, respectful, clearly indicate your decision, and offer thanks. For example:
Dear Dr. Smith (or Admissions Committee):
I am very writing to accept your offer to enroll in the X program at Graduate University. Thank you and I appreciate the time and consideration during the admissions process. I look forward to attending your program this Fall and am excited by the opportunities that await.
Rebecca R. Student
Edit Your Response
Tailor the email to your own style and needs. Express your excitement. In fact, the above might be considered dry. Feel free to say that you are very pleased, thrilled, or even honored. Express enthusiasm but moderate it. Be sure to clearly indicate your full name to avoid any miscommunication or confusion.
Congratulations on completing a milestone in your life -- and embarking on a new stage in your education!