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Go a 3rd time or just settle?


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My first choice finally got back to me and mentioned that everything about my application was strong except for one particular area. If I were to improve in that area by taking classes, then I should get in. I don't know what to do. Should I just take another year off to apply again? This is all really confusing for me.

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Do you like any of the programs you got into?

I think I would just go for it if you do.

I feel ya though. I accepted a school I am sure I will do fine at, but it isn't very highly ranked, and I definitely considered redoing next year. But I am pushing forward and going with the one I got.

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If it's your first round I'll say yes, try again. But if it's your second round already, I think you should just let it be. Next year there will be another application pool so you may need to improve more than ONE aspects if the next pool is an incredibly strong pool. You just never know.

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Why even bother applying to other schools if you holding out for just the one?

Settle. The process is just too random for you too bet the farm on any one school. You could do all that extra classwork and have a 'perfect' application, only to discover that the department's funding fell apart or your subfield at that school is over-subscribed or the professor who shares your interests died/retired/relocated or...

As long as your 2nd choice schools have a solid reputation (i.e. you can get a job once you finish) and you are being funded I say go with one of them.

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Considering the agony I seem to remember you going through this season, I'd just go for it now.

You can improve that one aspect, but is admission really guaranteed after that? You'll be up against all of next year's applicants next year, and no one really knows what their applications will look like.

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What about doing a masters at a school you've gotten into and then trying again?

I'm definitely considering this and the school I got into is a good school. I can't help but keep looking towards the school that rejected me. I personally need to get over it and continue moving forward. I will just try getting into that school again after I finish a MS.

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When you get out of your masters, your application will be stronger than anything else you could do before the next round. Put the dream aside for the time being and add a masters to your resume.

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Sounds like you've already decided, but just another thought: if, for whatever reason, you don't get in next year either, you will have "wasted" two years. If you're perfectly content doing whatever you're doing now, it's not a big loss. If you're not, there's no time like the present to start!

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