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Waiting It Out vs Playing It Safe


MPAallday
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So I've started to receive some final decisions from schools, but I'm still on the wait list for two of my top choices. Most schools have a deadline of April 15th (or around there) for applicants to either accept or reject their offers. The problem is, I'd really like to see if I get off the wait list for the two top programs I'm in line for... but I don't want to forgo an admissions opportunity and then be left with nothing (if neither of the wait lists pull through).

 

I know there's a forum on Grad Cafe specifically for this, but I'm interested in hearing other public affairs students' responses. I'm sure many of you all are in a similar predicament.

 

Are you going to wait it out and see if you get into that top-tier program, or play it safe and accept an offer from a lower-ranked school?

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You should keep in mind that, assuming you can afford it, you could always put down a deposit at the school you've been accepted to, and remain on the waitlist for the other school. You forfeit your deposit of course if you withdraw after the deadline (and I have no idea how big the deposits are), but it's one way to have your cake and eat it too. 

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I'm not a Public Affairs person, but I've been told that it's often standard practice to "accept" an offer with every intention of backing out if something better comes along. I myself hesitate to do this because I don't want to burn any potential bridges, but it's something to think about I guess. I'm in the same boat. 

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You should keep in mind that, assuming you can afford it, you could always put down a deposit at the school you've been accepted to, and remain on the waitlist for the other school. You forfeit your deposit of course if you withdraw after the deadline (and I have no idea how big the deposits are), but it's one way to have your cake and eat it too. 

Some people seem concerned that schools will force them to pay a semester's worth of tuition -- although this doesn't seem really plausible. If it's only a deposit fee then that's understandable it wouldn't be refunded.

 

I'm not a Public Affairs person, but I've been told that it's often standard practice to "accept" an offer with every intention of backing out if something better comes along. I myself hesitate to do this because I don't want to burn any potential bridges, but it's something to think about I guess. I'm in the same boat. 

Yeah, I mean c'est la vie. What schools are you deciding between?

Edited by MPAallday
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Well, read the fine print carefully, but it should be pretty easy to figure out what a school's policy is on refunds because of withdrawals.  They should have clearly stated deadlines and guidelines about when you have to pay and what the refund policy is.  You can also always ask the office: "What happens if I accept this offer and then I have to withdraw at some point before I can matriculate?"  It's not a crazy question, things happen (parents get sick, you get sick, you suddenly go broke, whatever).   Let's assume that anyone considering this year is not the first person in this situation, so school's will have policies to protect both themselves and the student from bad decisions. 

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