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School wants me to accept/decline offer before visiting the campus!


barnswallow

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Hi everyone,

 

I am in a confusing situation. I was accepted in to an awesome masters program, but in my acceptance letter I am instructed to make a decision about attending the school within 3 weeks of receiving the letter, which is very soon! On top of that, I was invited to grad visit day, which doesn't take place until a week after I am supposed to have made a decision. 

 

I'm 95% sure I will accept the offer - it looks like a great program with a super PI, but I don't want to make a final decision before I even meet my supervisor in person and see the facilities. I sent a polite email to the graduate coordinator asking for an extension until after the visit day, and have received no response. I tried to make it clear in my letter that I was happy about the offer, but maybe they were put-off by the request? I'm not sure what to do as my deadline to accept/decline draws closer and closer.

 

Any suggestions? Should I try emailing again? Thank you to everyone who responds!

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First of all congratulations on your acceptance. Second, I agree with the above post, you have done the right thing - Try email/calling the school (depending how long ago you initially contacted them). 

 

Sounds like what you are saying is that you are happy that the school accepted you, and are almost sure you will take it; however, you do not like how they have put such a quick deadline on your decision, especially since you haven't been able to see the campus. 

 

Things to think over...

What is their rank on your list of schools that you have applied to? 

Why did you originally want to work with this professor?

Do you think it is worth it to make the decision before seeing the campus?

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Thank you for your help. This program is my #1 choice and I really want to start making plans and letting my employers and profs know where I'm going, so the accept button is getting harder and harder to resist! However, I feel strongly that I should be able to attend the visit first, and ideally I would like to see what kind of funding other school can offer me first. From what I've read on here, three weeks to decide seems off for a February offer.

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I think it's a good thing that you contacted them to ask, and I'd probably email again or even call. I had a school (none of the ones I listed in my signature, btw) tell me they wanted me to meet with an adviser to plan my course schedule within a month of getting accepted. I thought this was a little excessive because I had yet to hear from any other schools and was likely not going there. When I asked them about it, they backed off and just said that they just want to make sure students are ready for course registration and that maybe it would help me make a decision. So, who knows, it might be wishful thinking on their part that they're trying to pass off as a rule...

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If you have an offer from the school of graduate studies, the department deadline is moot and arbitrary. I highly doubt the offer will be rescinded. It sounds like they have another qualified candidate but not enough funding. Too bad for the other guy. It is completely reasonable to wait for a visit. However, if I were you, I would simply skype with the supervisor and some of his or her graduate students and accept asap. it is only a masters, 2 years goes by fast regardless of whether or not you get along with your supervisor.

Edited by selecttext
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ummm isn't it April 15 by law? how are you supposed to know you won't get an incredible offer from your number 2 choice? 3 weeks is not nearly enough time. something is odd....

 

 

you could contact the other schools and rush their official decision, and in light of these constraints, i doubt they would be irritated by that.

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ummm isn't it April 15 by law? how are you supposed to know you won't get an incredible offer from your number 2 choice? 3 weeks is not nearly enough time. something is odd....

 

 

you could contact the other schools and rush their official decision, and in light of these constraints, i doubt they would be irritated by that.

The `rule' of April 15 doesn't apply to Canadian schools. Not sure what school barnswallow has been accepted to but I've seen another (or maybe the same) school with a three week decision time.

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Thanks for your help everybody!

 

bedmas is correct, I only applied to Canadian schools so the April 15th rule isn't applicable. I don't mind having a short time to decide, I intend to make a quick decision anyway. I just really wanted to attend the visit first and am afraid the coordinator may have been put off by this request since she hasn't responded to me, and I feel weird accepting the offer now, after making that request. I think I will wait a few more days and see if she responds. If not, I may give the school a call before the deadline passes.

 

Thank you!

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Hi Barnswallow,

 

By any chance are you talking about McGill? 2 years ago, their Physics department accepted me on approx. Feb 1 and gave me 4 weeks to decide. Unfortunately, another one of my choices (Queen's) did not have an application deadline until March 1 !!! I emailed both schools and they worked together -- McGill gave me an extra 2 weeks and Queen's processed my application and sent me their decision before the deadline. 

 

Even if you are not talking about McGill, I think what you did was right -- emailing usually grants you an extension. Waiting a few more days and then calling before the deadline passes is what I would do too, in your shoes :)

 

By the way, I feel that graduate admissions in Canada, especially in Physics/Math/Astronomy, is very much more "informal" than what we read about here on gradcafe. There are no April 15 agreement things and it's basically "rolling admissions" until they fill up all their spots. So, some people might not get an offer and/or visit until May or June. In Canadian Physics programs, it's also usually the case that the specific professor "hires" / "accepts" you as a grad student, instead of the department accepting you. So, as long as you meet the minimum requirements of the University and department, the prof can pick anyone they want. In some of my Canadian MSc letters, it very specifically said that "Prof X and Prof Y" are willing to take you on. This is unlike US schools where usually you are accepted to the department and then figure out who will work with whom after/during the first year. 

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Thank you TakeruK for the extremely thoughtful response!

 

I did apply to McGill as well but I haven't heard back from them yet. I applied to their medical physics program, for which they specifically state that a supervisor should not be selected until the second year (hence no funding for the first year!).

 

As for the school in my original post, you are correct, the admission went through much faster since I had a supervisor picked out who was willing to work with me. I believe that is definitely the reason I was accepted only 2 weeks after the admission deadline. I feel really lucky that I got a good response from the first prof I contacted back in the fall, and my first choice to work with. Unless things are a catastrophe at the visit or they rescind the offer for some reason, I intend to go here. So excited!

 

I heard back from admissions today and they have extended my deadline by 2 weeks, so things seem to have resolved themselves. I'm sure many of you can relate to that paranoid feeling I had when they didn't respond within a few days! I want to thank everyone who told me I did the right thing or gave me advice, I'm new to these forums, but it seems like an awesome community here!

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It seems like you've already got it sorted, but just my two cents...

UC Riverside accepted me and within two weeks I received an e-mail saying that the 2013 cohort was filling up and if I wanted a spot I needed to respond ASAP.

I contacted the graduate admissions counselor, and he informed me that it was an automatic e-mail sent by the department and that I did in fact have until 4/15 to decide.

 

So I know it's a different scenario, but sometimes just asking someone else can really shed some light on the situation!

Good luck with your decision!

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