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quite confused with the funding offer... can anyone help?


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anyone who reads this thread... please give me some advice!

So I just got an admission offer from one of my dream schools, but I'm quite confused with the funding offer. The coordinator told me that they were not able to secure funding for me, but the program is going to offer me admission based on the notion that I would get a graduate assistantship position on campus. It is basically no funding guarantee, but he emphasized that all of the students who were asked to the same kinds of the offer are able to find graduate assistantships on campus. I'm just anxious because I don't know what might happen if I decided to attend the school and I couldn't find any assistantships...

has anyone experienced a similar situation before? if not, can you give me some advice? what would you do if you were me?

Edited by curiousgeorgee
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The department doesn't have any funding to offer you. In the past, students have been able to find funding from other departments, There is a good chance it will happen again but it is not guaranteed. Without a secured job, you'd also be responsible for paying tuition.

If I were in this situation, I'd pass on it. It seems to be a scenario which is putting too much stress on you without any guarantees.

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If you decide to attend the school and don't find any assistantships, then you have no funding.

It's weird that they say "assistantships on campus". Does that mean that the department has no assistantships for its students at all, or that they are not able to offer you one and you would have to do some sort of administrative assistantship on campus (e.g. working in an office) or other places on campus (e.g. writing centre?).

Is it normal in your field for graduate students to have to work outside of the department for funding? And is it normal for your field to not fully fund its students? If the answer to both is no, then I wouldn't consider this offer. It's basically an admission with no funding, which is equal to a rejection in my perspective. I think that if your field normally works as TAs and RAs in the dept for funding, then having to work outside the dept will mean less contact with your faculty and colleagues. It will most likely mean doing work not related to your areas of interest at all and basically provide you with no benefit other than the funding. You would be at a disadvantage compared to students who are able to gain experience relevant to their career goals. In addition, I believe that a department who admits a graduate student needs to be responsible for funding the student too. I would worry that I would be treated as a second-class student and a department that admits but not funds its students would raise red flags for me. 

If you still want to consider this offer, the next steps should be to talk to the coordinator and ask him about the process of finding an assistantship. Also, ask him to connect you to all the students in the past that he has mentioned who were able to find graduate assistantships on campus. Talk to them about their experience to find out what kinds of jobs are there, which ones might be better and how hard they had to search for one.

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