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MolecularMedic

Which to Pick?

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Hey everyone,

 

Long-time lurker, first time poster. I'm applying for dev bio programs this cycle and am at a bit of a crossroads.

 

I have been offered interviews at a number of schools but I need help with three of them. UPenn, UCSF (DSCB), and Yale to be explicit.

 

Here's where I'm at with dates:

 

UCSF     Feb 5 - 7

Yale       Feb 6 – 8              or            Feb 19 – 21

UPenn   Feb 19 - 21

 

I have already accepted UPenn and Yale. I have plane tickets for both already purchased. For the Yale interview I initially accepted the Feb 6 - 8 weekend, but I know the Feb 19 - 21 weekend exists.  

 

Today I was given a chance to interview at UCSF, one of my absolute TOP schools. In order to make this all work, I would have to change tickets/weekends at Yale and UPenn. Is that even feasible? I don't even know yet if UPenn has an alternate weekend.

 

What should I do? I have to decide by Friday! Please help me!

 

- MolecularMedic

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If you already have plane tickets and committed to those schools then I do not think it is in any way appropriate to cancel. I would talk to UCSF and see if they will let you come visit/interview at an alternative time. If they are very interested in your application then I think they will agree to this.

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I spoke with UCSF just a bit ago. They have an alternate weekend, Jan 23 - 24th. This is a day shorter? It also conflicts with UC Santa Cruz (which I had already accepted an interview with as well). For both UCSF and UC Santa Cruz I wouldn't need plane tickets since I am local to the bay area. 

 

It seems like no matter what I do, I will have to cancel on a school.

 

I'm just worried because UCSF is one of my top schools, like ever. I want to get an offer there so bloody badly. 

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You should have probably thought about this before you went and accepted interviews to all the other programs; however hindsight is 20/20.  Since you are local they DEFINITELY should be able to arrange something for you.  You won't need travel arrangement or hotel.  They'd just need to at a minimum coordinate a few professors for interviews and arrange for a grad student to give you a tour.  Seems pretty easy to me.

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Well, you need to tell them that you already have interviews scheduled on those dates but are still extremely interested and would like to plan for an alternate date. You aren't the first person this has happened to and you won't be the last. They know it happens and will be prepared to deal with you not being able to make either the official or the alternate weekends.

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If the school bought your plane ticket for you, there's a good chance it's a fully refundable one. That's what many programs do as this is a common issue. If you bought the ticket for later reimbursement, you may want to just go ahead and eat the cost to interview at the programs you're most interested in. A few hundred bucks is not fun to lose, but this decision will pretty much control your life for the next five years.

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If the school bought your plane ticket for you, there's a good chance it's a fully refundable one. That's what many programs do as this is a common issue. If you bought the ticket for later reimbursement, you may want to just go ahead and eat the cost to interview at the programs you're most interested in. A few hundred bucks is not fun to lose, but this decision will pretty much control your life for the next five years.

All 6 of my tickets are non-refundable.

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I spoke with UCSF just a bit ago. They have an alternate weekend, Jan 23 - 24th. This is a day shorter? It also conflicts with UC Santa Cruz (which I had already accepted an interview with as well). For both UCSF and UC Santa Cruz I wouldn't need plane tickets since I am local to the bay area. 

 

It seems like no matter what I do, I will have to cancel on a school.

 

I'm just worried because UCSF is one of my top schools, like ever. I want to get an offer there so bloody badly. 

It sounds like to me that if you were going to cancel on a school UCSC is least likely to hold a grudge against you for doing so as they haven't paid a significant sum of money on tickets for you.

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If the school bought your plane ticket for you, there's a good chance it's a fully refundable one. That's what many programs do as this is a common issue. If you bought the ticket for later reimbursement, you may want to just go ahead and eat the cost to interview at the programs you're most interested in. A few hundred bucks is not fun to lose, but this decision will pretty much control your life for the next five years.

 

I had an issue with a ticket being non-refundable for Washington's MCB program, but they're willing to pay a cancelation fee for me. My situation is that I just received an interview from their Microbiology program and if I switched weekends for the MCB program, I could fly to seattle once and stay for a week, rather than flying to and from multiple times. I thought it was a long shot calling to request a change but as soon as I told them that I had a second interview that would line up with the other weekend, they immediately told me that it would make so much more sense to come to the second weekend. So if you're not flat-out cancelling people are surprisingly understanding.

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