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Unusual Request


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I posted this in the Ed forum as well, but figured more people would see it here:

I'd love some outside opinions on my dilemma (emphasis on opinions as I don't think there's a clearcut answer):

I am on a waitlist for the one program I applied to (this is for a master's). At first I was devastated, but after some investigation it seemed promising that I could be offered a place. I have spent a lot of time thinking/researching more about the program, and the school in general, as well as what I would like to do there and after graduation. After some serious reflection (and some changes in my life) it dawned on me that the waitlist is a blessing. This time in limbo has allowed me to realize there is a different program within the same school that suits me better-- maybe the admissions committee even saw that. Thinking about my essay, it makes more sense as an application to the other program.

So maybe I won't be offered admission from the waitlist, in which case I'll apply for the other program next year. BUT! Here is where I need your opinions: Do you think it make sense to contact the grad coordinator of my current program (I have emailed with him before) and inquire if I could attempt to switch tracks now and contact the program coordinator for the other program? They sometimes allow admitted students to do that, even thought it's rare. Is this a stupid idea? I'm just thinking that if I'm offered a spot I would take it, it's just that the other program is a better fit. . . but in terms of my personal life this year would be a much better year for grad school, so I am also wary of hurting my chances of getting off the waitlist. I can take some of the same courses if I an admitted to the first program and ultimately, the degree is the same, but the focus could be better tailored to my interests if I could switch tracks.

Thoughts?

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. but in terms of my personal life this year would be a much better year for grad school, so I am also wary of hurting my chances of getting off the waitlist. I can take some of the same courses if I an admitted to the first program and ultimately, the degree is the same, but the focus could be better tailored to my interests if I could switch tracks.

Due to the first sentence above, you should probably be silent now. If you really find after getting there and doing a few courses that it would really be a better idea to do the other program, you can always try to explain to them nicely about it and switch. If you're on very good terms with the professors and if you've done well, I don't see any reason why they shouldn't let you switch.. especially if you've already done some of the coursework required and only need to take a few more.

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Since you only applied to one school, you really have a lot of leeway on when you make a decision; you don't have to hurry to accept another offer before you hear back from the waitlist. And since your other option is reapplying next year, I don't see what harm it would do to wait and see what happens with the waitlist. If you are accepted, that might be the right time to ask if there is any flexibility between the tracks if you start taking courses and find another track better suited for your interests. You might also ask if people take courses from all tracks, or just the one they are admitted into. Once you've been admitted, they aren't going to rescind your offer for asking questions, and the answers will give you a good picture of whether you should accept the spot or reapply next year to the different track.

If you aren't accepted, dilemma solved.

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