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Accept offer from school, but then withdrawing and accepting another school's offer (after getting off wait-list). Opinions?


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Is it possible to accept an offer from one school, but then pull out and accept another offer from a different university? I am blessed to be able to get accepted to at least one program because it means that I can attend grad school. But I'm in a bit of a dilemma. I'm on the waitlist for my top 2 choices (and am in tier 1 for one of them) so I hope to get an offer from one of them. Won't hear back until after April 15th. They are both cheaper options and significantly closer to home. However, I know it's really unethical and unprofessional to withdraw my decision... not sure what to do. 

The offer I was given was WITHOUT any funding so I don't have any legal obligations, right? However, I know that I will be burning bridges and feel like I would be blacklisted since our field is so small :(

Edited by ready2beSLP
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I don't think it's unethical or unprofessional if you politely withdraw a decision. Waitlists mean that these things are bound to happen, and programs certainly wouldn't keep a blacklist. The worst that would happen is you would lose that deposit, but no bridges will be burned

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To be honest, this was going to be my plan as well. I'm currently accepted at one school and waitlisted at 6 others (2 being from my top 3 choices). All the schools I'm waitlisted at are closer to home and less expensive. I don't think it's unprofessional to do so because this is your career that you're talking about. By accepting, you'll at least have that satisfaction of knowing that you'll be attending a program somewhere, in case the waitlists don't work out. I'm sure there are many people who have been in these situations and have withdrawn from a program, that's why there are waitlists!

If there is a deposit, just put into perspective how much money you would be saving by attending the cheaper option. Losing ~$500 by withdrawing would be a lot cheaper then spending thousands of more $$$ in tuition. 

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9 hours ago, pbandj said:

I don't think it's unethical or unprofessional if you politely withdraw a decision. Waitlists mean that these things are bound to happen, and programs certainly wouldn't keep a blacklist. The worst that would happen is you would lose that deposit, but no bridges will be burned

Thank you for replying! I wasn't sure how common it was for students to withdraw their decisions.  I just feel really uncomfortable and guilty knowing that I might be hindering someone else's chances of attending grad school there by accepting an offer that I would later renege. But you are right - that's why waitlists exist.

13 minutes ago, hopefulslp1 said:

To be honest, this was going to be my plan as well. I'm currently accepted at one school and waitlisted at 6 others (2 being from my top 3 choices). All the schools I'm waitlisted at are closer to home and less expensive. I don't think it's unprofessional to do so because this is your career that you're talking about. By accepting, you'll at least have that satisfaction of knowing that you'll be attending a program somewhere, in case the waitlists don't work out. I'm sure there are many people who have been in these situations and have withdrawn from a program, that's why there are waitlists!

If there is a deposit, just put into perspective how much money you would be saving by attending the cheaper option. Losing ~$500 by withdrawing would be a lot cheaper then spending thousands of more $$$ in tuition. 

It is comforting to know that I am not the only one in this situation. I hope you get into the program you're looking to attend! Which programs are your top choices?

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20 minutes ago, 18SLPHopeful said:

Just keep in mind that you are holding a spot that could be offered to another student.  I don't necessarily think it's unethical to withdraw a decision but you should recognize that after April 15 you are messing with other people's lives to some degree.

I am aware of that I would be jeopardizing a spot in a graduate program, which is why it is a dilemma. 

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Not an SLP but my undergrad program has a MS program and they said this “technique” is highly frowned upon. They do not keep a blacklist. But the field is so small the information can be communicated because so many universities are connected. It’s just more about your personal morals on the situation. It won’t stop you from getting a degree but it is frowned upon.

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2 hours ago, 18SLPHopeful said:

Just keep in mind that you are holding a spot that could be offered to another student.  I don't necessarily think it's unethical to withdraw a decision but you should recognize that after April 15 you are messing with other people's lives to some degree.

But she's not holding the spot on purpose...It's not her fault if she's notified about an acceptance to her top choice after April 15th. I am also taking this decision and I have tried to start denying acceptances as soon as I know because I know what being wait listed feels like. But it's other students that are sitting on offers until April 15th that are the reason that we might be notified after we already have to make a decision. 

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I agree -- you should ultimately do what is in your best personal and professional interests.

A close friend of mine was not only accepted into a doctoral program with a graduate teaching assistantship, but was 2 weeks from starting the academic year when she withdrew for personal reasons. (She was only in the state because her partner lived there, the relationship had just fallen apart, and she needed to move back home, cross-country, where she would have more support.) She felt horrible about doing it, but has also never regretted that decision for a moment. Life happens, and schools know that. A bit of shuffling around, even last-minute shuffling, is to be expected.

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14 hours ago, ready2beSLP said:

Is it possible to accept an offer from one school, but then pull out and accept another offer from a different university? I am blessed to be able to get accepted to at least one program because it means that I can attend grad school. But I'm in a bit of a dilemma. I'm on the waitlist for my top 2 choices (and am in tier 1 for one of them) so I hope to get an offer from one of them. Won't hear back until after April 15th. They are both cheaper options and significantly closer to home. However, I know it's really unethical and unprofessional to withdraw my decision... not sure what to do. 

The offer I was given was WITHOUT any funding so I don't have any legal obligations, right? However, I know that I will be burning bridges and feel like I would be blacklisted since our field is so small :(

My professors actually suggest this to all of us. Worst thing that happens is that you lose your deposit in the process

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Some schools range in deposits that you put down. Some are $500 and others are $300 while a friend of mine that was accepted into  her program had no deposit. So like others have said if you can afford to lose the money than do what you need to do. Personally that is a significant amount of money to lose but if you don't care than its up to you. If you end up not going to the school you put the deposit down for at least you are giving someone else a chance. I know my first two times applying I would have loved for that chance.

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The way I see it, is you gotta focus on you. Do what is best for YOU. I'm accepted at a school that wa in my top choices, due to it being close to home, but I'm still waiting to hear back from my top school (which is also close to home, but about $30k cheaper). If I get waitlisted or don't hear back from my top choice before the 4/15 deadline, I'll be accepting the offer from the other university. If I get accepted/off the waitlist? I plan on doing the same thing.

As long as you're okay with losing all/some of the deposit, I say go for it. It's your life, and most likely you won't be attending the school you withdraw from for your master's anyway. And honestly? You won't be an a*shole for "holding a spot," because you're not doing it like others who collect their acceptances and decide on 4/15, even though they've known where they're going since they applied. It seems like a lot of people do this, AND accepting that spot and not giving it up affects the waitlisted people more than accepting it and withdrawing.  

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