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how to reply to admission before funding offer is made


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Fellow students:

I hope you can help me. I was accepted by two programs but not offered funding yet. One of them is so expensive that without funding it is just far out of my reach financially (even with a student loan). The second one, on the other hand, is not only much less expensive, but the director's emails indicate funding is more likely to be offered there soon.

When I first got accepted in March, he said funding decisions hadn't been made yet, but he'd get back to me in a couple of weeks. When I didn't hear from him after 3 weeks, I emailed asking if decisions would be made soon. His reply:

" ....we have been slow in getting all the funding offers out. You are on our waiting list for a graduate assistantship. I am waiting to hear back from a couple people right now, and then I will know how much we will be able to offer. I recognize that I was slowing in meeting the last estimated deadline I gave you, but I expect us to be better this time; you should get another message from me in about a week.

Thanks for your patience, and again my apologies,"

That was 4/10. I replied 4/14 with a question about the program, further explaining my interests, and this:

"I am really honored to be given the opportunity to attend UC in the fall and I truly appreciate your help. I am looking forward to learning whether the department can offer me any assistance; but I also realize that I may have to start out without that. In addition, Miami U's political science department also accepted me, but I'm also waiting on an offer for assistance from them as well. Once I know the financial obligations to consider, I am sure I can make a decision within a week. I'll be sure to let you know as soon as I make a decision."

Then, nothing. No word since then at all. I've been on pins and needles ever since. This is where I plan to go, but I'm afraid telling them that before hearing back about the funding will decrease my chances of getting an offer at all. On the other hand, it's been over 2 weeks since his email and I wonder if I should let him know something.

Should I 1) notify him again letting him know I accept admission but still hope for funding; 2) notify him again as I did before asking if a decision will be made soon; or 3) wait it out?

I believe I can get funding later if I give them my best (which of course I plan to do). The dilemma is that I don't want them to think I don't need assistance, but I also don't want them to think I don't plan to go there.

Please advise...

Thanks,

Deb

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First thought: This director sounds like a bit of a weasel. That was two weeks ago!

Second thought: They've accepted you. They're not going to rescind the offer.

Should I 1) notify him again letting him know I accept admission but still hope for funding; 2) notify him again as I did before asking if a decision will be made soon; or 3) wait it out?

If funding is important to you, don't accept anything until you get an answer.

I believe I can get funding later if I give them my best (which of course I plan to do). The dilemma is that I don't want them to think I don't need assistance, but I also don't want them to think I don't plan to go there.

I don't know about that. Maybe, maybe not. Once they've got you as a student, who knows if they'll be in a hurry to fund you.

At this point, a phone call is not out of line. The DGS should at least be able to explain where they're at in the funding decision process. Get him on the line and let him do the talking. He's got some 'splaining to do.

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I agree with engguy. You should call DGS or the person who wrote you the email. You should politely remind him/her that you were supposed to hear something from them by april 17 and ask if they have made any decision.

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I also had e-mails which were semi-promises. Both said I was high on the list, expect to hear soon about funding, we are almost sure you will get something, we just need to know what the first round of offers are going to do, &c. I was happy at first, not later. At the end, one school never came through with funding, even though I kept being patient and waiting and so on, but the other school did offer a TA-ship after I was patient &c. So it's hard to say--maybe so, maybe not. Any Ph.D. went to grad school AND knows the need for support unless he was born into a royal family of some kind. I can't believe they forget even twenty years later. But they get busy, and one more grad student, more or less, matters way more to the grad student than to the department, esp. if it's kind of a large one, but even if it's not. Like I said to my son's kindergarten teacher--you have 25 students here, but I only have one. Anyway, like one of the previous writers said, it does not hurt to phone and ask how's it going, how does it look, I sure hope I get good news, I'd love to come to your school.

And also check on your FAFSA which I hope you sent in because that should be worth a couple thousand dollars even if you don't get anything else, and would help with rent.

One of my friends got a TA-ship a week after she started classes. It was that late. I think someone who was accepted didn't show up, but she never asked where the money came from and didn't care. Optimism is free and good luck can happen to anyone who doesn't quit.

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Frankly, I'm beginning to think I should get a 2nd BS in my minor (PoliSci) and not go to grad school at all yet. I like SOC just fine, but when I came back Jan '07 to finish my BS, I wanted to get it in PoliSci, but decided to finish SOC instead since I was so close. Even though PoliSci is my minor, I took courses they require for a major because it's what I love. I'm graduating May 10 no matter what I do next. The question is what to do next. Guess I should start a new thread huh?

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I applied to 2 Poli-Sci programs. One rejected me. The other accepted me, but wait-listed me for funding and costs 25K a year. I can't afford to borrow that much, so I declined. It's unfortunate too because a really good program, much better than the one that rejected me. That's why I'm thinking about the 2nd BS in PSC. If I get it, I'll have another year to make myself a more attractive candidate and get more and (maybe) better offers.

Or I could get on my way to grad school now. The SOC dept. that accepted me has 2 areas of study that are very political..Structures of Inequality and Population Studies. I could specialize in those. The school is close, so I won't have to move my family or commute far. And as a pro later I'll have a much broader range of research topics to choose from.

I'm just second-guessing things because I'm afraid of committing to SOC when Poli-Sci might suit me better and be a better career path.

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you can always get a MA in soc, take poli sci classes, and then apply to poli sci PhDs. i just don't think a second BS is going to make a huge difference in your application. maybe you need a better writing sample, better letters, or a more focused SOP. Again, I don't think a second bachelor's will really give you those things. i'd take the offer that you've got and do what you can to make yourself more attractive to programs. then again, maybe you should take a year off, take grad courses in poli sci and soc, and use that to figure out which you really want to pursue.

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Thanks, I think you're probably right. I should go on and get started with SOC. I took a closer look at the courses offered, especially in the areas of inequality and population, and I feel better about it.

Now I just have to figure out whether to go on and accept admission even though their still deciding abut funding. Do you think accepting admission before they offer assistance will hurt or help my chances of getting an assistantship?

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Actually, accepting their offer might help re funding. It gets you on the list. It makes you one of theirs. Call tomorrow and have a friendly talk, say you are going to send in an acceptance, can they help find support in this department, work-study, or anywhere on campus? I knew a guy in Journalism who got an assistantship in Computer Science giving tours. It sounds weird, but he was a really good talker and could explain science to ordinary people.

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I was actually told specifically by a professor that the department is more likely to give you funding if they think you might go elsewhere otherwise. If you accept and they think they have you regardless they might not find the need to splash out the cash.

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I was actually told specifically by a professor that the department is more likely to give you funding if they think you might go elsewhere otherwise. If you accept and they think they have you regardless they might not find the need to splash out the cash.

Ditto McSpitto. Your acceptance is one of the small bits of leverage you've got, and program directors will jerk you around quite a bit if they think they can get away with it. Do not accept on half-promises or insinuations. If they want to fund you, fine. If not, then don't accept and hope that they will later come up with $15k/year out of the goodness of their hearts.

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Ditto McSpitto. Your acceptance is one of the small bits of leverage you've got, and program directors will jerk you around quite a bit if they think they can get away with it. Do not accept on half-promises or insinuations. If they want to fund you, fine. If not, then don't accept and hope that they will later come up with $15k/year out of the goodness of their hearts.

Unfortunately, I'm dealing with the same kind of situation--but I was specifically told that the university does not offer funding to its masters students...so I have no room for leeway at all.

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One of my current professors has spoken on my behalf a couple of times to one of the professors in the graduate department...once to tell her what kind of student I am and once to check on funding. The current professor called me today to tell me the future professor said 1) because of state funding cuts, they only have 4 graduate assistantships next year, so it's extremely competitive; 2) these GAs usually go to students in the PhD program, not entering master's program students; 3) there are also many university scholarships yet to be granted which often pay as much as 80% tuition. She said I haven't done anything wrong or been pushy at all. The professor she talked to said they simply haven't made the funding decisions yet and that I may very well be offered something, although she herself isn't on the decision committee and can't say for sure. My professor assured me that even if I have to start out with a loan, she believes I have what it takes to get an assistantship later if I do as well with them as I have done with her...which I plan to try my hardest to do.

So I have accepted admittance and applied for a student loan. I'm now going to try and focus more on the achievement of graduating in a couple of weeks and being accepted into a graduate program. Among graduate students, it seems small. But among all undergraduates about to get their degrees, and even more so among people in general, this in and of itself is a major achievement. It's taken me over 20 years to get a college degree (life gave me more than a few roadblocks), and now I'm finally reaching that goal and looking over the horizon into a professional career.

Since I began this thread, I have been so encouraged by all the feedback. I hope I can offer some wisdom of my own to some of you someday...

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dafelker

I was in a similar position from early Feb. to the beginning of April. I didn't want to commit without funding but it was to my first choice school so I was very nervous. Finally I called my advisor and she called me back and we had a great conversation and she stressed that they are really looking for people to be teachers once they get their PhD. Happily, that's what I wanted to do so I was able to honestly say that that was my future goal. This was about 2 weeks before the funding decisions were going to be made. A few days after funding decisions were supposed to be announced I still had not heard anything so I called the person in charge of assistantships and and said that it was my first choice and if I had funding support I would definitely be attending etc. etc. She happened to have my file on her desk and I had an offer the next day. They were late making decisions because of a a severe lack of money available this year and in the end I was one of 2 offered support. I think my personal calls and enthusiasm for their program probably pushed my file to the top and I am pleased. Your situation sounds a bit different but I would make sure they know that you would go there if you had the support.

Best of Luck,

StudyMom

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