Jump to content
  • 0

How to gracefully tell a program to give me some time to decide?



I am in the very fortunate position of having received an acceptance to a PhD program this year (last year was not so successful, if you look at my signature!). However, the program that first accepted me did so very early in the general process, from what I can tell, and is now asking me very pointed questions like "What is the likelihood that you will accept our offer?" and "When can we get an acceptance from you?" (I'm not kidding, more or less that exact wording in emails and on phone calls).

I know that I'm under no strict obligation to reply until April 15th, but also want to tell programs 'yes' or 'no' as soon as possible so as not to lock up funding for others. They are an excellent program with fantastic researchers, but I simply don't have enough information yet from all my other applications. They're my top choice right now, but I don't know what will happen in two weeks! I'm trying to figure out how to say "insufficient data at this time" in a polite way.

There are other programs that I am also very interested in that frankly haven't even interviewed anyone yet (if my contacts in the programs and the results posted here are to be believed). Based on job availability for my wife and funding offered, several of my other applications could reasonably 'beat' the program pressuring me for a response.

I want to be respectful to this program, and I am extremely grateful and honored by the admittance, but I cannot also make any guarantee of my acceptance at this time barring input from other programs.

Any suggestions on how to communicate that tactfully?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 answers to this question

Recommended Posts

  • 1

My advice would be to just be honest. I think most programs recognize that almost all of their applicants have applied elsewhere so just telling them that you are still waiting to hear back from a few of the schools you've applied to would be a fine option. As for how to tactfully say this maybe something like "I am unsure as to when I will officially let you know if I plan to attend your program or not because I have yet to hear back from several of the other programs I have applied to. Since I have several factors I am weighing in making my decision I would really like to have all my options on the table before I make any final decisions. However, I do understand the need for promptness in my decision and as soon as I am able to let you know my final decision I will." You could also probably throw in something about this program being one of your top choices too so that you continue to express your interest in their program.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 0

After getting a very early acceptance I asked a professor what to do since I'm still waiting on two schools that I see more favorable.  He told me to be honest with them and let them know that there are two other programs which I find at least as attractive as them.  I did also note to them that the fellowship they were nominating me for was going to be a large factor in my choice, both as a way to say thank you and also to make them try a little harder on my nomination form ("If you really want me to go there, getting me that Fellowship will go a long way.") . They were very gracious in their response and have been very helpful for any forms and questions and whatnot.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.