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How can I ask about being waitlisted for funding?


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I understand that funding is a delicate/sensitive issue for departments. I was waitlisted for funding at one of the schools that I applied to. I am on a ranked list and as funding becomes available, the department will move down the list. I don’t know my rank. I have a couple admits with funding and I’m wondering how I can ask about the likelihood of this program offering funding to me, in a way that is tactful. I just want them to be honest so that I can make a decision relatively soon. The longer I wait to decide, the crazier I will become.

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I don't think it's really that sensitive of a topic, since it's a reality at all stages. It's awkward as a graduate student applicant since this is probably the first time, but as a postdoc applicant, I found it very normal to have frank discussions about funding etc. So what I mean to say is that you shouldn't have to feel like you need to dance around the topic, just be clear in what you are asking, while being polite/not demanding.

In your situation, is the waitlisted school your top choice? (I think I might have asked you this before??). If so, then tell them that and ask them if they are able to provide you with an estimated timeline on your funding decision. You can say that you have some other offers with funding but you prefer their school. 

However, when was the last time you had contact with this waitlisted school? If it's within the last 2 weeks, then I would wait until the end of the month (or at least another week) before reaching out again. Meanwhile, between your 2 funded schools, you can pick one of them and decline the other.

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11 minutes ago, GameofLoans16 said:

Thanks for your response. The school where I got waitlisted for funding is not my first choice...I guess I just want some closure.

I completely understand this feeling. 

But if you are already certain you will choose one of the two funded schools over this one, no matter what the funding is, then the right thing to do is to withdraw the application and let the waitlisted school know you are no longer interested. (And to also accept one of the two schools and decline the other one). 

If receiving full funding from the waitlisted school would  make you choose it over one of the other two funded schools, then you should certainly keep waiting though.

I understand wanting to know how you would have fared in the waitlist but that really isn't the mature, professional, nor responsible thing to do. If you are ready to make a decision but are just holding out because you want to hear this final decision then you're contributing to the same problem you're facing (i.e. you may be keeping others on the waitlist while you wait for a waitlist decision that has no bearing on your future). Don't be that person. 

For what it's worth, last year, I applied to 18 postdoc positions, got 10 rejections and then got the offer I wanted the most! I withdrew all of my remaining applications when I signed the offer letter. Sure, I am curious what the other searches would have ended up deciding, but it was the right thing to do and I don't regret it at all. It also has not negatively affected me in any way.

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