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Also, nobody said a word about what is "legal." That's a complete non sequitur. I care about what is courteous, what is fair,


Well, you've just changed the discussion from what is "ethical" to what is courteous. What is courteous is completely beside the point. "Courtesy" and "fairness" are admirable qualities to cultivate, and we'd all be better off by being kinder; however, I think it is absolutely absurd to tell people to put concern for etiquette and courtesy above their financial security or potential on the job market. That is flat-out naive and, quite frankly, some really terrible advice.


Moreover, this isn't about what you can "get away with" (which implies that you're doing something wrong, unethical, or illegal). If you're a person in this position, you haven't gotten away with anything. You still have to go to the first program and ask to be let out of your commitment. They can always say no; they have the power in this situation, not the applicant who's already accepted. All you're doing is just asking. Hardly a mercenary move. If asking to be let out of a contract--a possibility that is written into the Council guidelines--makes someone selfish or reckless, then you've just redefined selfishness.




Given a decision that (I know you're having trouble absorbing this point) was already made,


So we're not allowed to talk about situations more broadly or hypothetically now? You can speak only to "what's germane" to any particular post?




It could have materially hurt the program s/he had already committed to if that acceptance had been rescinded.


Or they could have just gone down their waitlist and invited the next person. Which is what my program does.




I assure you: these decisions are very important, and a whole host of other people's lives are dependent on them.


What was that about saying something repeatedly and authoritatively not making it true?




It's the rampant tendency of people in this process to act selfishly that hurts other applicants who have their lives in limbo.


This is the root of your assumption that I find very problematic: that these other applicants, who have their "lives in limbo" (I'm not sure what this means--they're still on the waitlist? They've been turned down from the program to which they might have been accepted if someone had just given up their spot sooner?) are somehow being hurt by other mercenary applicants. Here's news for you: as an applicant, you are entitled to nothing. No spot in grad school is "your spot" before you've been accepted, so no one is taking "your spot." You go into the admissions process knowing that your life may be "in limbo" for a while, or that you might get rejected altogether and have no plans for next year. You go in knowing you may very well walk away as empty-handed as you started. So I'm befuddled by your assumption that schools or applicants somehow owe something to one another. Thinking that way is just being entitled, plain and simple.




Yes, the question is for real. Why do you want to be part of a system that you've identified as corrupt and incompetent, particularly given your lack of regard for the actual programs themselves?


You have a short memory, bro. I said the process was messy and that universities' dysfunction starts at the administrative level (it does). A far cry from "corrupt" and "incompetent." But to answer your question more seriously: I thought I'd work on Wall Street or for the federal government but decided that the university system would allow me to get away with more of my unethical wrangling. Like, you know, telling people to consult the CGS rules and their advisors. Real ballsy stuff like that.




I said in the long run, which is a reference the adjunct future of the vast majority of the people who post here.


Fine, but my point still stands. Going into the adjunct scene with additional debt--debt which you could have avoided if you weren't too squeamish to petition to be let out of a contract--isn't something to take lightly.


None of this is to say that I think the OP made a poor choice. However, if the stakes had been higher--a choice between two PhD programs, or between one very mediocre program and one very well-regarded one--then the situation would have best been handled by consulting with the programs themselves rather than making a decision and second-guessing later. That's all I'm saying. And just so we're clear this time: I know that I'm speaking of hypothetical situation that might not be "germane" to this particular person's post.

Edited by hashslinger
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