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Hello. In a bit of a pinch here. I have an offer in hand but I am a bit doubtful if I will be able to attend grad school this year at all. However because it's not certain i also don't want to just give it up. Is it possible to accept an offer and then drop out a bit later? 

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If you have a good reason for not attending this year and think you might be coming back, you can sometimes request an admission deferral. The most common reason I've seen people defer their admission is to take a gap year for an internship or volunteer work, but that by no means implies they won't consider other circumstances.

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On 4/7/2020 at 3:02 PM, pipettingerror said:

Is it possible to accept an offer and then drop out a bit later?

If you are sure that you won't be attending, it's best that you decline the offer and leave the spot for someone on the waitlist. Accepting an offer only to back out later is disrespectful to say the least. It's something you can do, but really shouldn't. But of course people have different ideas about this, with many on this forum suggesting that it's both normal and fine. After all it's one of the most important decisions many of us will ever make in our lives, so if you really feel like that's what you should do, then do it. Though my suggestion is to only do it if you have a very good reason to not attend after accepting your offer.

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27 minutes ago, jonliu said:

If you are sure that you won't be attending, it's best that you decline the offer and leave the spot for someone on the waitlist. Accepting an offer only to back out later is disrespectful to say the least. It's something you can do, but really shouldn't. But of course people have different ideas about this, with many on this forum suggesting that it's both normal and fine. After all it's one of the most important decisions many of us will ever make in our lives, so if you really feel like that's what you should do, then do it. Though my suggestion is to only do it if you have a very good reason to not attend after accepting your offer.

The April 15th Resolution speaks more to competing offers than needing to reverse one's intention to enroll altogether. Additionally, the circumstances may be very different for a Master's level program with a general track for all students* versus a mentor-model PhD program.  

While I would strongly advise anyone against accepting an offer with the intentions of potentially reversing course and trying to accept a different offer, I think that if you can see a realistic possibility of attending the program, and the alternative would be not attending (as indicated by your interest in deferral) that you should consider accepting the offer. I would continue to speak with Admissions officers and program directors regarding your particular situation, express your keen interest, but also be a bit forthcoming (if possible) about the extenuating circumstances which you are under. 

* Four years ago, I accepted admission into an unfunded Master's program but ultimately declined to enroll for personal, financial, and professional reasons. I personally did not find this to affect my outcomes in academia (and I was actually accepted into the PhD program in the same department in this previous round). 

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Maybe it didn't come across well. I am not juggling competing offers. I had only my first choice on hold and that was because at this point it wold have been impossible for me to predict if with the ongoing pandemic my personal circumstances would allow me to attend. Since there is still no clarity I have turned the offer down and will not be joining any PhD program this year.  As @Modulus recommended, i got in touch with the graduate committee, my interviewers, and my PI and let them know of the circumstances and everyone was very understanding. Hopefully the place can go to someone who is able to attend. Thank you for pitching in everyone.

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9 hours ago, pipettingerror said:

Maybe it didn't come across well. I am not juggling competing offers. I had only my first choice on hold and that was because at this point it wold have been impossible for me to predict if with the ongoing pandemic my personal circumstances would allow me to attend. Since there is still no clarity I have turned the offer down and will not be joining any PhD program this year.  As @Modulus recommended, i got in touch with the graduate committee, my interviewers, and my PI and let them know of the circumstances and everyone was very understanding. Hopefully the place can go to someone who is able to attend. Thank you for pitching in everyone.

Glad to hear it went well. I hope you can get to start the program of your dreams next cycle. Did your program indicate whether or not you would receive any preferred status in a future round?

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  • 2 weeks later...
Posted (edited)

 

Not exactly. In fact when I was initially discussing my situation with the graduate advisor he said it might be a bit tougher next year because they may have to take fewer people with the losses brought about by the pandemic. I would take it with a grain of salt because they were of course wanting me to accept the offer so that agenda was there. But no doubt what will happen next year is a mystery. 

 

That said, after declining the offer I got in touch with all the people I knew at the department and they did encourage me to apply next year. @Modulus

Edited by pipettingerror
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I'm having the same problems, but with 2 Canadian schools, they don't have the national deadline like the US and their processing time is ridiculously long. So I ended up accept one offer just 15 minutes before the other one arrived (which I haven't heard anything from for 5 months until then) @_@. I'm writing to withdraw my acceptance from the first one, is there anyway I can word my e-mail wisely without sounding like a douche?

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  • 4 months later...
On 4/27/2020 at 10:46 PM, thean said:

I'm having the same problems, but with 2 Canadian schools, they don't have the national deadline like the US and their processing time is ridiculously long. So I ended up accept one offer just 15 minutes before the other one arrived (which I haven't heard anything from for 5 months until then) @_@. I'm writing to withdraw my acceptance from the first one, is there anyway I can word my e-mail wisely without sounding like a douche?

I'm applying to both US and UK schools, and I'm not sure what to do! Some UK decisions will come out in May/June/July. How do I navigate this? It would obviously be foolish to deny any US acceptance ~in case~ I get into a UK school. Is there was to request an early decision? I'm sure plenty of people apply to multiple countries--what do they do? 

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