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Should I turn down a great Ph.D program for a Fulbright and apply again next year, assuming I will be more competitive?


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I would really appreciate some perspectives, esepecially from those who are Fulbright recipients or semi finalists. If I am awarded Fulbright, is it worth turning down two good PhD programs in hopes of getting a better one next year? 

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I am assuming you would be turning down the PhD programs after you are awarded the Fulbright? If not, then you are taking a hard gamble.

Also, depends on how "good" are the PhD programs you currently have in bag. Are you settling with them? 


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If you get the Fulbright, ask the programs about deferment. Many, not all, programs allow students to defer or take time for Fulbright or other similar awards. If the PhD programs are a great fit for you and where you want to be if you weren't on a Fulbright, talk to the director of the program and your POI about whether that is possible. If you feel like the programs are good but not the best for you, then I would probably decline and reapply to those schools and more next year after the Fulbright. 

Also, as battermix said, all this is only after you would officially be awarded a Fulbright and not before.

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