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Thread: Dilemma: Accepting offers from universities

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    Dilemma: Accepting offers from universities

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    Hi all,
    I want advice regarding a sticky situation I am in. Say for example, there are four universities I have applied to and are waiting to hear back from. Let's assume the university names are A B C and D, and their rankings and my preference for the universities are in that same order (D being the lowest ranked school). I get admission offer from all of them but they write that funding offers will be made separately in the coming months.

    Now, D is the first to offer me funding and set a deadline (say March 17) within which I have to accept. But here is the dilemma. The deadline is here but I am still waiting to hear back from A B and C. Maybe because they are good school and have not made their offers yet or maybe I was not in their first round of offers but I am still hopeful that I will get funding somewhere in A B or C.

    So my question is - is it ok to accept offer from a certain university and then going back on my word if I get offer from a better university? Are there any ramification - legal or otherwise - of such action?

    Any advice/suggestion/personal experience/knowledge regarding the aforementioned situation is most welcome. THANK YOU!

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    Re: Dilemma: Accepting offers from universities

    Graduate schools in the US have a common April 15 deadline. Outside the US, you simply have to ask for more time when these kinds of situations occur.

    If they won't give you time, accept and then "change your mind" as necessary. It's your life, don't let anyone make you choose an inferior option. Every school has many qualified candidates to fill your spot.

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    Re: Dilemma: Accepting offers from universities

    Thank you sir for your reply. I have actually faced this dilemma last year when I applied to grad schools, where my "safety" school offered me funding way before all the other ones I applied to and set the deadline to accept on March 17. I asked for time but they extended it by only 5 more days.

    So you are saying to your knowledge there are no ramifications of accepting and then declining the offer for a better school?

    Thanks!

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    Re: Dilemma: Accepting offers from universities

    Of course there might be some ramifications but I'm certain that if you do well in grad school that it will be forgotten.

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    Re: Dilemma: Accepting offers from universities

    Quote Originally Posted by Taus2018 View Post
    Thank you sir for your reply. I have actually faced this dilemma last year when I applied to grad schools, where my "safety" school offered me funding way before all the other ones I applied to and set the deadline to accept on March 17. I asked for time but they extended it by only 5 more days.
    You could let the other schools know about the deadline that you have. I think they'll expedite their decision in those cases.

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    Re: Dilemma: Accepting offers from universities

    Here is the US-wide agreement for funded offers: April 15 Resolution | Council of Graduate Schools

    (i) You can always change your mind until April 15 if you accepted a funding offer before April 15. This is true whether the graduate school had set an early deadline (e.g. March 17) or if it is a normal offer with a deadline of April 15.

    (ii) For offers of admission (that are separate/unaccompanied by funding), there are no restrictions. Schools are allowed to set deadlines before April 15, but more importantly, if an admissions offer is *not* funded, the student is in the right to withdraw at any time (including, say, in June), and then accept another offer (funded or unfunded).

    However, keep in mind a student shouldn't hold a written commitment to two or programs simultaneously at any point. It's not illegal, but it'd be highly unethical. You need to withdraw each agreement before you accept a different offer.

    (iii) the caveat is that the resolution is not legally binding. If a particular university decides to write a contract that, say, (a) asks you to reply before April and withdraws the financial offer thereafter; (b) mandates a $1,000 fine if you renege on your acceptance, that contract will clearly violate this resolution, but the university can't be punished, and the contract would be legally binding. So, read the fine lines before accepting any offer, and when you have doubts, ask the admissions committee by writing whether their program in fact follows the above resolution.

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    Re: Dilemma: Accepting offers from universities

    I'm curious about the second part of (ii). The April 15th resolution doesn't speak to unfunded offers one way or another.

    By the way, the programs I am familiar with are all happy to give a student a release after April 15th. Who wants a student who doesn't really want to be there?

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    Re: Dilemma: Accepting offers from universities

    Quote Originally Posted by startz View Post
    I'm curious about the second part of (ii). The April 15th resolution doesn't speak to unfunded offers one way or another.

    By the way, the programs I am familiar with are all happy to give a student a release after April 15th. Who wants a student who doesn't really want to be there?
    Agreed. The reality is that professors don't even care what your name is until after you've passed first year exams. One random student out of a dozen or more doesn't show up on the first day of math camp? No big deal.

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