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Thread: Regarding declining

  1. #1
    Trying to make mom and pop proud
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    Regarding declining

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    Hi.
    I am an applicant this year, and I have a question regarding the admissions process.

    I am wondering if there is any possibility that declining an offer from a school might leave a negative impression of me on the faculty at that school.
    I know that this would be the case if I, for example, receive an offer in late January and hold it all the way until early April before I finally decide not to go.
    What I want to know is whether declining an offer can still be harmful if I notify the school promptly (e.g., within a week after receiving the offer).

    Thank you, and hope you all enjoy your New Year's Eve!

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    Re: Regarding declining

    Declining quickly is much more preferred over holding it all the way until April. If you know for sure that you do not want to attend a particular program that has given you the offer, let them know ASAP. This way, they can move on and start recruiting the next applicant. Although schools may be curious as to why you are declining their offer, this is much better than leading them on until April, when the other candidates on their shortlists may have already accepted offers from different schools, but would have came to theirs. In addition, if you have applications pending at other schools and you have not heard back from them, but you have decided that you have an offer from a school that you would for sure choose over them already, then also email the phd coordinator and 'withdraw' your application. This way, they do not invest more time into deciding whether they should give you an offer or not.

    All being said, you need to put yourself in the department's shoes... The faculty on committees invest their time and energy into the process. They would like to recruit the best candidates that have applied. By holding on to an offer when you already have decided that you would not go to their school, this diminishes their own ability to pursue a different candidate.

    Best of luck.

  3. #3
    Trying to make mom and pop proud
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    Re: Regarding declining

    tm_associate,

    Thank you for your quick and friendly answer. I am afraid, however, that my question was not about holding an offer all the way until April. I was asking about holding an offer just for a relatively short period of time (e.g., one week) and then declining. I was wondering if it might upset the committee members of the school I rejected and make them develop a bad impression of me. I am an international, so my point might not have been very clear on my initial post.

    Or what if I withdraw early from a school? Would it hurt their impression of me?

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    Re: Regarding declining

    Hi Simma,

    No, none of those things would leave a bad impression on the school or the committee members. In fact, I did the same and accepted my offer after two weeks. I made sure to stay in touch with the Phd coordinator and conveyed my reasons for waiting to accept. Frankly, I have never heard of anyone who accepted asap, unless it's an offer in April.

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    A long long time ago XanthusARES's Avatar
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    Re: Regarding declining

    No hard feelings from declining too soon. It's a much better situation for the school and as long as you decline with good reasoning you'll be fine.

    When I withdrew my applications I simply wrote to the coordinator and said that I had accepted an offer and would no longer like to be considered for admission.

    More than half of the schools I emailed sent out congratulatory emails back and told me to stay in touch (which I did). When I'm on the market in a year, we'll see if they really did have any hard feelings.
    Til now I always got by on my own
    I never really cared until I met you...

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    Re: Regarding declining

    Accgirl and Xanthus,

    Thank you for your answers. I knew that there exist some cultural differences between the U.S. and my country, so I wanted to check. Again, thank you for the answers!

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    Re: Regarding declining

    No problem, Simma. I see that you are an Accounting applicant, good luck with everything.

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    Re: Regarding declining

    Hi Urch fellows. This thread is old but I would like to bring it back.
    I think my applying season is almost done. I have some offers and would like to decline some this week. I really don't want to keep all offers until Apr 15. Some universities contacted me to get updates. I was straightforward about all my offers and said that I would decide quickly after I have all options. I feel not very good as in all the interviews I always mentioned that those universities are my top choices and Profs seemed to appreciate. (That's why they gave me offers!??). But now I will decline their offers. When I responded to universities to update my offers status, some Profs seem to appreciate (and congrats me) but some really don't. As the world of academia in the business field is pretty small, I was wondering whether there is an issue if I meet them again in a conference or on the job market later? I'm not sure if I overthink or not.

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    An Urch Guru Pundit Swami Sage
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    Re: Regarding declining

    Telling them that they were top choice was a mistake. That is the only real problem here. Business academia is small and some people will probably be bothered by you lying.

    That said, you are here now. Write to the programs. Thank them for the time that they spent with you and explain that you have received dominating offers.

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    Re: Regarding declining

    Thanks YaS! Your advice really helps as always. Back to my situation, I said they are my top choices in the interviews because at the time I did my interviews I didnít have any offers in hands. I would never think I have more than two offers. But PhD Admissions are more random than I expected. As choosing a university to do my PhD is a big decision and there are many factors (research Profile of universities, Profs, stipend, location, etc) we need to consider, I wanted to have all possible options before making a final decision. But it seems not to be a good strategy in the long run. Yes, I think I should decline politely and quickly. It will help others in the waitlist.
    Any other thoughts are very welcome!

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