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Reapplying to schools,1 yr later--- thoughts?


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Question: Let's say I apply to school A, B, C, and D. A is my top choice; B, C, and D are my safety schools. If I'm rejected from A but accepted to B, C, and D, but I choose to take a year off in order to gain more experience and then reapply to all 4 schools, will my previous acceptance but non-attendance to B, C, and D hurt my chances of being accepted in the future? Basically, should I go ahead and submit applications to my safety schools even though I'm strongly considering taking a gap year if rejected from my top choice? Or would it be best to only submit applications to my top choice and one safety school this time around?

I think I have a decent chance of being accepted to my top choice school, but it's definitely not guaranteed. Please let me know your thoughts!

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If you don't want to go there, why apply? It might look weird to these programs if you're accepted one year, choose not to attend, but reapply the next. 

On a different front, I'm not really a fan of applying to safety schools. I think you should apply to programs that are a good fit for your research interests and be open to attending any of them pending funding and culture fit. For me, my "safety school" was a program I'd love to attend, but it doesn't offer funding to most admitted first years. That was my, apply and see if 1. I don't get in anywhere else. If that happens, I'll work out loans or 2. on the offchance I'm one of the two first years they choose to fund. Fit wise, I'd very happily attend. 

Have you visited school A before and therefore know for sure that it is the best fit for you in terms of research and culture (culture of program, department, school, surrounding city, etc)? If not, I'd be cautious of labeling any school a dream school before you've gone in to check it out (with eyes wide open). Unfortunately, there are stories on this forum of people miserable in their programs, several of which have stated they did not do their due diligence researching the culture of their department. If you have done the research and visited the institution, congratulations on finding a perfect program for you!

People keep trying to make me say which program would be my top choice if I get in. Truth is, I can't answer that question because I have yet to visit any of the programs to get a first-hand account of what it would be like there. I usually just tell people I'm waiting to decide that until all admissions decisions are in and I've had a chance to visit each campus to which I've been admitted. 

TLDR: Yes, this depends on the program, but there is a chance that getting accepted one year, declining without a specific change in circumstances, and then reapplying the next year could impact your admission. I don't like the idea of only applying to one program so maybe still apply to the others and either take your chances reapplying the next year or find some other programs (that would be a good fit for you) to apply to that round. Of course, none of this matters if you get into school A, haha.

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1 hour ago, soontobesocialworker said:

Basically, should I go ahead and submit applications to my safety schools even though I'm strongly considering taking a gap year if rejected from my top choice? Or would it be best to only submit applications to my top choice and one safety school this time around?

If you're not willing to actually enroll in the program if you're admitted, why spend money on an application? Don't apply to a bunch of "safety" schools that you have no intention of ever going to.

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