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Deferring an unfunded M.A offer


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I have been accepted for M.A programs at several top schools. However, I will be unable to attend this fall because of personal circumstances. How liberal are schools in deferring offers of admissions? How do I approach this? I'm not entirely sure if I will be able to attend in F12 but if not next year then I will probably never go.

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I have been accepted for M.A programs at several top schools. However, I will be unable to attend this fall because of personal circumstances. How liberal are schools in deferring offers of admissions? How do I approach this? I'm not entirely sure if I will be able to attend in F12 but if not next year then I will probably never go.

Why do you wanna go if you;re not sure you wanna go?

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The likelihood of getting a deferral depends on a lot of things: the school, the department, the field of study, how much the department/POI want you. Many, many psychology programs make it clear that they do not offer any deferrals on their admissions pages. All you can do is try.

I would start with ranking the programs that you have been accepted to in order of which you would go to if you didn't have this personal situation. Start at the top of the list and email or call (a phone call might be better in this situation) the grad director or your POI, frankly explain your situation in as concrete terms as you are comfortable doing. Some people seem to want to defer MA offers as a way of holding onto an option that they don't find too appealing but is better than nothing if they don't get into a PhD program in the next application round - you want to make it clear that that is not you, that this really is where you want to be, you just can't make it happen this year.

If that program isn't going to allow you to defer, move down to the second program on your list. If you keep going and get to any schools that you aren't too excited about, I would just decline admission but explain the personal reasons so as to make it less of a rejection of the program - that way if you apply again next year they won't think that you thought you could do better than their program by applying again and are just applying to them as a safety. This is presuming that your personal circumstances will allow you to do applications next round - if that isn't the case, keep going down your list to try to secure a deferred offer until you have no options left.

Anyway, that is how I would approach your situation. Hope that helps!

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