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Accepted for RA but decision deadline is 17 Feb


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Hi guys, 



I was accepted for computer science PhD program at University of Kansas, and one of the proffs there send me a research assistance position offer, but unfortunately , he wants me to respond to it by Feb 17.

I have applied to some more higher rank universities and some same rank(Purdue, Washington,Austin, Tennessee ) and  I do not know,when exactly they will announce their results, most probably final list will not be provided before that date!


please note that university of Kansas is part of the CGS agreement (2014 not 2015 "is it the same"??!)

, but no link to the agreement was mentioned in the offer??


So it is morally  , and legally, Ok to  

1-asks him to extend the deadline??

2- reject the offer after accepting it???

Edited by laith
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I would consult with another professor before making a decision here! But my advise would be to ask him for an extension! If he says no extensions allowed (which it would be weird if he did) then just tell him you accept the offer and if you do get in somewhere better, kindly let him know and decline :)


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if you do get in somewhere better, kindly let him know and decline :)


Don't do that... If the prof has a deadline to respond then its because he really needs a student and if you can't do it then he needs to make an offer to someone else. Doing this would be super selfish and screw over the prof and hurt your reputation in the field. Do you want to run into someone you screwed over at all the conferences in your field?


Anyway, I totally think it is appropriate to ask for an extension if you are very seriously considering the offer. I would let the professor know that you are in the process of making a decision and will not know by that date. Tell him that you are seriously considering the offer and will keep him updated as you make decisions. If at any time you decide that you will definitely not accept the offer because you got into another school that is a better fit then let him know right away so that he can ask someone else. I have already had to do this with a school who wanted me to respond to an offer in a couple weeks. Schools/profs totally understand that you might not be able to make a decision by then. They have to balance waiting on their top choice candidates and moving on to their next choices before its too late. My advice to go about this process honestly and both you and the school will come out of the process happy and on good terms.

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I think that you should definitely ask for an extension first. But if his extension still does not help you in your decision, I think you should accept and possibly decline. At the end of the day you do not want to be stuck in a program for 5 years if you're going to hate. Selfish? I don't see why you categorize this as selfish. Remember this is YOUR JOURNEY, not your POI.

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Both your options are legally okay. There are no binding legal agreements in the admissions process (perhaps in accepting money for RA/TA work but not in admissions itself).


Ethically? I would first ask for an extension. But only do so if you are actually seriously considering the offer and after you have done all you can to find out the other school's decision dates (so that you can ask for a specific extension, not just a general one). I don't see a real reason for them to deny your request, an early deadline might just be there so that students don't procrastinate if they already heard back from everywhere. No school really wants to force you to accept them.


If you have done absolutely everything you can (including calling the other schools to ask about admissions) and you still don't get an extension, I think it is fair for you to accept the offer at the last minute and then decline it if you get another offer somewhere else. You should be as clear about this as you can with Kansas though--say something like since you won't grant an extension, I have no other option right now but to accept the offer. I think if you do this, then you have acted in completely good faith during the whole process and if they get screwed over because you end up declining them, then it's their fault for being not flexible enough and hopefully they will stop setting deadlines prior to April 15. But if you go this path, keep in mind that Kansas and/or other people might still fault you for this action. In the end, you must do what's best for you, and in real life, sometimes there are negative consequences for either decision no matter if you were right or wrong. 

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