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Accepting offer now and declining later?


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I've been accepted to one school and just wait listed at my top choice. Can I accept the offer for admission and later decline it if I get accepted off the wait list from my top school? Anyone have experience or advice? I've heard you can ask about your position on the wait list? Help!

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17 hours ago, dino515 said:

I'm in the same position. I think you can accept and decline later, but you'll lose the deposit you're putting down on the accepted offer. You can definitely ask about your position on the waitlist! 

If the program adheres to the April 15th Resolution, you will have to receive written release from the first institution to reverse your decision.

"Acceptance of an offer of financial support* (such as a graduate scholarship, fellowship, traineeship, or assistantship) for the next academic year by a prospective or enrolled graduate student completes an agreement that both student and graduate school expect to honor. In that context, the conditions affecting such offers and their acceptance must be defined carefully and understood by all parties.... an acceptance given or left in force after April 15 commits the student not to accept another offer without first obtaining a written release from the institution to which a commitment has been made. Similarly, an offer by an institution after April 15 is conditional on presentation by the student of the written release from any previously accepted offer."

This being said, in general, one should not accept admission to a program which they do not intend to attend.

I would reach out to the waitlisted program and let them know that you would accept their offer if given, but otherwise you will be accepting another offer.

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20 hours ago, Modulus said:

If the program adheres to the April 15th Resolution, you will have to receive written release from the first institution to reverse your decision.

"Acceptance of an offer of financial support* (such as a graduate scholarship, fellowship, traineeship, or assistantship) for the next academic year by a prospective or enrolled graduate student completes an agreement that both student and graduate school expect to honor. In that context, the conditions affecting such offers and their acceptance must be defined carefully and understood by all parties.... an acceptance given or left in force after April 15 commits the student not to accept another offer without first obtaining a written release from the institution to which a commitment has been made. Similarly, an offer by an institution after April 15 is conditional on presentation by the student of the written release from any previously accepted offer."

This being said, in general, one should not accept admission to a program which they do not intend to attend.

I would reach out to the waitlisted program and let them know that you would accept their offer if given, but otherwise you will be accepting another offer.

But in the OP's and most cases, they do intend to attend provided that they do not get off the wait list at their top choice. I don't think it's fair to say that anyone who does not receive a proper answer by April 15th should either surrender their position on a wait list or reject their safety offer. In my opinion, that defeats the purpose of the wait list somewhat... 

I've been told that accepting & then later declining is not uncommon. It is not necessarily a good thing to do, but schools are used to seeing it. This is a program that you'll be attending for the next 2-5 years of your life, after all -- it's okay to act in your own best interest here. 

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