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Withdrawing applications, effects on future prospects


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Hello all,

Does anybody have experience withdrawing applications? Going into the admissions cycle, I didn't have a good sense of my position in the field and may have over-applied as a result. I'd like to withdraw a few of my remaining applications at this time in order to pass priority to other applicants. What would be the most polite way of doing this/the most appropriate channel to convey my intent? Or would this be considered poor form/is it more appropriate to allow the programs to make a decision first and only turn down the offer afterward? This is for a STEM field, and most of the programs I applied to are rotation-based, so I haven't had interactions with many PIs yet.

Secondarily, I am also curious: has either (i) a bad interview or (ii) turning down an admission offer at an institution been known to negatively affect postdoc/TT chances at that institution down the line? I get the sense I'm overthinking this, but I appreciate any feedback.

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I am actually in the similar situation as you. I was confirmed funding with my “dream program” shortly after sending in applications to backup programs. When I receive interview weekend invitiations, I just politely decline saying something like, “I have already confirmed my acceptance with another program, and don’t feel right wasting the time of your department.” And thank them for the invitation obviously. I don’t think it’s a negative either way (going to interview even though you have no intention vs. rescinding application)

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  • 2 weeks later...

It is actually considered courteous to the universities to which you have applied to withdraw your application upon your decision to attend elsewhere. This saves them the time from carefully considering your application and allows them to over your potential slot to other scholars who may desire it.

A general "I appreciate the opportunity to apply/attend(if you've been accepted) to XYZ University. I am writing to thank you for that opportunity, and also to inform you that I have accepted an admissions offer elsewhere... blah blah blah - thank you for your time" should be more than fine. As long as you are respectful, it shouldn't damage any further opportunities. All universities know their applicants apply multiple places and can only accept one.

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