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Accept unranked program or wait another year????


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I applied to around 15 Ph.D. programs, out of which I have one official acceptance offer, many rejections, and like 4 unknowns. I don't think any of the other schools will be accepting me since I haven't heard anything from them.



My top choice just rejected me after flying me out for a campus visit (along with 2 other finalists). I was also told by another good school that I was on the waiting list, but the people higher up on the list had already accepted so they couldn't offer me a position.


I'm worried that I'm settling for the only offer I've gotten (at a virtually non-ranked program in Stillwater, OK) and I could have a better chance of getting in to a much better program next year if I improve my GMAT scores and get more research experience - which would help my prospects once I'm on the job market as well.


However, there are many costs associated with waiting, and I'm not guaranteed anything next year either.


Does anyone have experience with this kind of situation? This is an extremely difficult decision for me and I could use any information/suggestions that anyone has!

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Is ranking that important in your field? Can you get research experience in the meantime? What are your options if you do not get accepted anywhere next year?

At the end of the day, it's still a crapshoot; you can improve your odds all you want, but there are no guarantees, whereas you have a spot now. Unless ranking is so crucial in your field that you could not possibly get a job after graduating from that program, I'd take the spot in Stillwater.

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Well ranking is important, but it won't prevent me from getting a job. It just might not be the job I would have preferred. Yes, I can get research experience in the meantime, but if I don't get accepted anywhere next year I think that would be the end of my efforts with the Ph.D.


I don't want that to happen, so I would rather go to a lower choice school than no school at all! I know you're right, though. I can't be sure I'll get in somewhere next year even with a better application.


Thanks for your input!

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