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Waitlisted - Concerned about Double Depositing


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I've been admitted into a great school and sent in a deposit thinking it was somehow a part of the application process but not necessarily THE statement that I AM COMING. Google searching around, I have found that this may have been a horrible and even illegal act. However, the reason I did so was because I thought you could change your mind after you made such a deposit.

In addition, I really do plan on going to that school since I was wait listed at my top choice, but if my top choice changes their minds I will go to it instead and, in effect, double deposit by confirming my place in their Fall 2012 class. I'm really scared now that doing so would lead both my second choice college and my top choice college to rescind their acceptances and, in effect, leave me without any place to go. This is what happens for undergraduate applicants, at least.

I wasn't even aware of this ethic until after I did the potential damage, but I would like to hear your thoughts?

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I don't have experience nor have I heard similar stories, but I think you can relax as long as you have honest intentions. Is there any statement in the acceptance letter to the effect that paying a deposit is a binding agreement to attend the school? If not, you might be off the (legal) hook; if so, you might have a problem if you attend elsewhere. But I really think they understand that people make mistakes, and that you're off the ethical hook as well as long as you operated under honest motives, and if you explain these when/if it comes time to. The worst you may face is the loss of your deposit, though if people at both schools know each other, then this could stick to your reputation if you "double-dip." Good luck.

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I think you'd lose your deposit, and you would have to notify the school that you do not intend to attend, but I can't imagine a program would want a student who'd rather be somewhere else.

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I don't have experience nor have I heard similar stories, but I think you can relax as long as you have honest intentions. Is there any statement in the acceptance letter to the effect that paying a deposit is a binding agreement to attend the school? If not, you might be off the (legal) hook; if so, you might have a problem if you attend elsewhere. But I really think they understand that people make mistakes, and that you're off the ethical hook as well as long as you operated under honest motives, and if you explain these when/if it comes time to. The worst you may face is the loss of your deposit, though if people at both schools know each other, then this could stick to your reputation if you "double-dip." Good luck.

The letter says "A non-refundable admission deposit of $100 is required of all admitted students." I thought that meant that anyone accepted should pay this deposit and, if they do actually attend, it would just be applied towards tuition.

Beyond that, there is nothing too concerning. It's just that I was reading about this and it is taken pretty seriously for undergraduate common applications at least. My impression with graduate schools, at least for theology, is that you could pay the deposit and still change your mind for any reason. Granted they might think you're a jerk for holding them off if you just frivolously pay the deposit at all schools you are admitted to, but this would be assuming that I did it as an honest mistake.

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I would email the school to which you paid the deposit and explain the situation. Check to find out whether the deposit was supposed to be binding and tell them that you are waiting on a waitlist, which you plan to accept if admitted. Explain that you made a mistake and you are happy to forgo the deposit if you choose to attend the other school. I think that even after April 15th, students can get out of binding contracts with the permission of the university, which almost always grants it. The best thing is to contact them sooner rather than later and talk about it.

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I called and basically asked them if there are any legal implications to having paid a deposit to the school while i await wait list decisions. I told them that if I was removed from the wait list I anticipate I would have the challenge of trying to decide which school to go to because I respect each school for different reasons. He didn't necessarily seem excited that I had other offers more so because they would like to have me (they are a great school that I'd love to have as well) but he said we do have people change their mind. I guess I won't worry about it though I hate to have made the admissions counselor bummed out at the prospect of me choosing another school.

My decision process of course takes into consideration my wife's vocational and educational interests in dietetics so I would have to adapt to her needs and, suffice it to say, both schools are very comparable.

Bottom line, looks like I was overly paranoid a little but they do take the deposit as a sign that I'm coming so we should all definitely be very careful who we deposit to! I hadn't received any advice on the matter personally so I just didn't know. Other comments are welcome!

Edited by Windfish
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Woops, I did just that coming into my Master's. I got a full funding offer early-May after I'd already committed to a different school with partial funding. I just told them my situation had changed, and I was not going to be able to attend their program. They were a little miffed but didn't give me a hard time over it, and really, it's your choice.

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Woops, I did just that coming into my Master's. I got a full funding offer early-May after I'd already committed to a different school with partial funding. I just told them my situation had changed, and I was not going to be able to attend their program. They were a little miffed but didn't give me a hard time over it, and really, it's your choice.

Ok, at least I'm not the only one! I'm feeling pretty bad about basically telling them there's a possibility I could change my mind and that I didn't realize the deposit had that strong of an implication to it but I'll try not to worry about it.

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