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Declining Offers/Withdrawing Applications Thread

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I would also like to add-- if you know you're not going to attend an institution, please don't wait until April 15th to tell the department that you are going elsewhere. This also goes for waitlists--if you can take yourself off of them the department can go to the next person if a spot opens up and not wait to hear back from you first!

I know this may seem (very) obvious, but I've had a few previous colleagues wait until the 15th deadline to tell all/most of the schools they would be going elsewhere including the ones that they had already ruled out as live possibilities. Sometimes folks will have very little time when they receive a last minute offer to decide on whether or not to say yes or no and to figure out how it compares to any other offers they already have. The earlier the waitlists get moving, the better off everyone is (and sometimes previously rejected folks can receive an offer--e.g. UVA last year).

Edited by MtnDuck

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To echo what MtnDuck said: the effect cascades. By your decision impacts hundreds of people indirectly, and at least one person directly. Your decline opens up a spot which enables someone to decline their lesser offers. If most shifting happens in April, there just isn't enough time for adcoms to go down the waitlist. If there is on average 3 day per offer turnaround, the adcomms can't get through 10 people on their waitlist in 3 days -- when the declines really happen.

Objections:

But they are willing to fly me out! This is a great opportunity to visit schools and network with professors I am interested in.

  • This is really an unfair tease. If you know you aren't taking their offer, then you're going on false pretenses, wasting their department's money, and making people wait for minimal gains. Is it really a good idea to use people to sight-see? It isn't like you're going to get a letter of recommendation. Just add them on PhilPeople for pete's sake.

But if I decline that doesn't impact you. So what?

  • For some people, if they were given an offer before the 15th, they would accept your school's offer. You are literally impacting someone's ability to get into a school or get into a better school. It doesn't have to be about impacting anyone you know. The sooner the impact, the sooner others can impact others down stream.

I am under no obligation to make any decision before April 15. If I wait, that's my prerogative.

  • True. Nothing is forcing you to make a decision, and definitely not to rush you. But if nothing will change your mind about the decision, then why take the time? If you are still unsure, that's one thing, but if you already have an obviously better offer, then this shows a character defect when you know this impacts other people's futures. Comparative harm account: you're harming people. You have a right to harm people, but that doesn't mean harming is right.

Whatever my choice and whenever I decide to notify them, such course of action would be statistically normal. You cannot expect me to act otherwise.

  • Okay, I won't argue that it is obligatory, but clearly you don't see supererogatory actions as worthy of aspiration. I hope you're not working in ethics.

It seems like it could be in my interest to hold onto the offer. I can use it as leverage.

  • Sure, if you think they are really comparable. But I'd argue it might even be in your interest to decline. The school might come back with a counter-offer that would not have been available if you didn't give them ample time to put together a more lucrative package.
Edited by Duns Eith

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18 minutes ago, Duns Eith said:

 

But they are willing to fly me out! This is a great opportunity to visit schools and network with professors I am interested in.

  • This is really an unfair tease. If you know you aren't taking their offer, then you're going on false pretenses, wasting their department's money, and making people wait for minimal gains. Is it really a good idea to use people to sight-see? It isn't like you're going to get a letter of recommendation. Just add them on PhilPeople for pete's sake.

I agree with everything you have said but you did leave out one reason why one might hold onto an offer which might be common. I am seriously considering accepting Rice's offer (as per my post) and to that end I am flying for the preview day which I had to confirm by today (it cost them $1,000 for flight (I am flying from Canada) plus $200 for lodging at the Marriot at the Texas medical center). However, If I get into Notre Dame next week (I have made the first cut), then I will probably choose it over Rice. However, by then, I can't reject Rice's offer after how much they have spent. I should at least give them a chance to persuade me otherwise; and unfortunately, the preview day is not till late March! 

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23 minutes ago, VentralStream said:

I agree with everything you have said but you did leave out one reason why one might hold onto an offer which might be common. I am seriously considering accepting Rice's offer (as per my post) and to that end I am flying for the preview day which I had to confirm by today (it cost them $1,000 for flight (I am flying from Canada) plus $200 for lodging at the Marriot at the Texas medical center). However, If I get into Notre Dame next week (I have made the first cut), then I will probably choose it over Rice. However, by then, I can't reject Rice's offer after how much they have spent. I should at least give them a chance to persuade me otherwise; and unfortunately, the preview day is not till late March! 

That sounds like a legit reason, and this isn't what I have in mind. I hope the visit helps!

Edited by Duns Eith

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I was a "finalist" for Penn State's program, but I declined the offer to interview because I had been admitted to Vanderbilt which is a better fit for my AOI. I hope that ended up helping somebody but somewhat doubt it did.

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11 minutes ago, Marcus_Aurelius said:

How does one withdraw an application?

I would just email the director of admissions directly and tell them that you have a different offer that you will definitely accept. (There is probably a way to do this online in some of the systems, but I would say even if you do that still email the director of admissions, since they might not notice that you've done it in the system, etc.--at least in our system we still have access to withdrawn applications and they look just like regular ones.)

In addition to the reasons given above, this helps admissions committees A LOT! If you withdraw your application, then we can offer the spot we might have offered to you directly to the person who would be first on the waitlist, instead of waitlisting them. (Or, if we were on the fence about you, we can stop worrying about you altogether and just move on.)

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2 hours ago, Marcus_Aurelius said:

How does one withdraw an application?

Similar to what @lurkingfaculty said, when I had to withdraw some of my apps last year I just emailed the DoA with an explanation. One of the places also had an online thing I had to fill out for the records, but if that's the case then they'll email you anyway with a reminder; the important thing I think is to let the DoA know that you won't be attending. :)

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Thank you, lurkingfaculty and Kantattheairport.

I just withdrew from Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Notre Dame, Pitt, and UT-Austin. I couldn't always find a DGS/DGA, but I tried to find the most relevant email(s), and I'm sure folks there will be able to forward them to the right place.

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Just now, Marcus_Aurelius said:

Thank you, lurkingfaculty and Kantattheairport.

I just withdrew from Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Notre Dame, Pitt, and UT-Austin. I couldn't always find a DGS/DGA, but I tried to find the most relevant email(s), and I'm sure folks there will be able to forward them to the right place.

Thank you for your contributions, and congrats on  all your acceptances!

I just wanted to ask, although I'm guessing the answer is "no" considering your AOI, but Pitt wasn't HPS by any chance? 

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3 minutes ago, ringoandme said:

Thank you for your contributions, and congrats on  all your acceptances!

I just wanted to ask, although I'm guessing the answer is "no" considering your AOI, but Pitt wasn't HPS by any chance? 

Not HPS, just regular Philosophy department.

And thank you, and best of luck to you. :)

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17 minutes ago, Marcus_Aurelius said:

Thank you, lurkingfaculty and Kantattheairport.

I just withdrew from Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Notre Dame, Pitt, and UT-Austin. I couldn't always find a DGS/DGA, but I tried to find the most relevant email(s), and I'm sure folks there will be able to forward them to the right place.

You are amazing. Thank you!

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6 hours ago, Marcus_Aurelius said:

Thank you, lurkingfaculty and Kantattheairport.

I just withdrew from Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Notre Dame, Pitt, and UT-Austin. I couldn't always find a DGS/DGA, but I tried to find the most relevant email(s), and I'm sure folks there will be able to forward them to the right place.

 

This doesn't help me, because I'm not even applying this season. But you are amazing.

❤️

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8 hours ago, VentralStream said:

@Jespersen Do you mind if I ask you what is your AOI?

Not at all! I'm primarily interested in moral and political philosophy (of which Arizona is a powerhouse), philosophy of mind (especially the kind that's informed by neuroscience, so it's not really easy for me to give up on WUSTL right now), and history of early analytic (especially meta-questions about philosophy and its methodology)---but most excited when they intersect! I have side interests in philosophical logic and feminist philosophy as well.

(I saw you were accepted to Ohio State. Congratulations! If you have any questions, feel free to PM me.)

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On 2/19/2019 at 8:21 AM, Jespersen said:

I will turn down NIU, and withdraw from U Mass, Indiana, and Cornell. I hope it helps someone!

Did you apply to PhD in NIU, or Master's?

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5 hours ago, markovka said:

Did you apply to PhD in NIU, or Master's?

It’s their Master’s.

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6 hours ago, markovka said:

Did you apply to PhD in NIU, or Master's?

I thought NIU does not have a PhD program? Am I wrong about that?

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37 minutes ago, a ravenclaw said:

I thought NIU does not have a PhD program? Am I wrong about that?

NIU has a terminal MA only, no PhD.

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