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Questions about declining admissions offers. (Should I inform grad students too?)


maelduin

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I just wanted to poll here and see what everyone thinks about this particular situation.

 

I have had a pretty wonderful experience with some grad  students  in some programs. Would it be strange to send them an e-mail informing them of my decision (not to attend), while at the same time thanking them for their help? Some were actually incredibly helpful.

 

 

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Guest Gnome Chomsky

I don't see why not. You're not obligated to but it could be a nice gesture. You might see some of these people at future conferences. It might be awkward bumping into them at a conference if they gave you so much help and never heard from you again. If you notify them now and you do bump into them at a conference, it might be less awkward. Then again, if you notify them and they never respond and then you bump into them at a conference, it might be even more awkward. I guess that's life... 

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Hah! Great observation. I suppose that could be true. I think I'm going to send them the mails though. I feel I'd appreciate the gesture, so maybe I should just go with my gut on that one. Thanks!

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I have spent a lot of time talking to prospective students to my program and I always appreciate it when they drop me a line to tell me what they have decided, whether it's my program or somewhere else.  So no, it wouldn't be strange at all.  They'll probably wish you well.  Although I go to my program, I consider it my job to give prospective students an honest (mostly positive, but still honest) outlook on my department, not to convince them to come at all costs.  So there's no resentment if they decide to attend elsewhere.  On the contrary, I just want them to find a place that's best suited for them.  I think most grad students feel that way, and won't be upset that you didn't choose their department.

 

At the same time, though, I understand if they never contact me, and it's not awkward if I meet them later somewhere else.  I just make a point to ask them where they went instead.

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I had great conversations with graduate students over email, the phone, and during visits, and I sent a few of them quick emails thanking them for their time and explaining my decision. I kept them brief and casual. In some cases, I asked to stay in touch - I'm in a small field looking at education in a few countries abroad, so it's a pretty big deal to meet someone else in my area, and feel like it's an asset to keep in touch and meet up in conferences. Think of it like an extended cohort.

 

I certainly would enjoy these emails if I was on the other end.

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Guess it depends. I sent one graduate student a very long series of messages detailing my entire decision process and why exactly it was that I selected UCSD over her school, UCSB--literally every aspect of my decision that I could think of. I also included every aspect of her school that I liked, and reasons why I declined. That is, of course, because she asked for these details specifically and she's been my friend since undergrad.

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