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PSA: Please don't hold on to so many acceptances while you're making your choice.


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It's hard to turn down an offer before weighing every option, and it's too early for a lot of people. Many programs have not even made funding decisions yet. Choosing a graduate program is a huge decision and I think it's fair for someone to take as much time as necessary deciding.

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I think its a bit selfish to suggest this. Considering they worked just as hard as anyone else to get those acceptances, they should have the time they need. 

 

We all want in grad school and we want to save our own hide first.  Is that such a bad thing?

Edited by acetylcholine
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This is 100% false. Wanting something for yourself is not selfish. Wanting something at the expense of others is. Grow up. 

 

How is it at their expense if they've already got it?

 

Wanting something at the expense of others is realizing that the process is competitive and someone will get screwed in the end no matter what you do.  Maybe they won't get screwed next time.

 

Or maybe you didn't get burnt enough.

Edited by acetylcholine
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How is it at their expense if they've already got it?

 

You're asking people to make decisions for the benefit of yourself, not themself.  

Edited by GeoDUDE!
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No, I'm just asking them to make them in enough time so those of us still waiting can get offered the position, if that's the school's modus operandi.

 

You will be offered it eventually if that's the way things are going. Everyone has to make a decision by April 15.

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How is it at their expense if they've already got it?

 

Wanting something at the expense of others is realizing that the process is competitive and someone will get screwed in the end no matter what you do.

 

Or maybe you didn't get burnt enough.

 

Because you are putting pressure on them to make a decision which has nothing to do with you. There is nothing wrong with wanting to have all options on the table before making a decision. Most schools have a wait list. Whether or not they accept is not going to change whether or not you are on that list. If there is a wait list, they will notify people on that list as soon as positions become available.

 

And for the record, I got burned by a total of 8 schools when I applied, so I know how much it sucks to be rejected. Stop assuming that you are the only one who went through this application cycle twice and doesn't know if it will turn in their favor.

Edited by kimmibeans
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its not even late enough in the application season to be waitlisted. Either you're a strong enough applicant that you'll get in, you're strong and you'll get waitlisted, or you don't match what the program wants and you'll get rejected. Until it comes down to waitlist time, other people's decisions aren't having an effect on you. It's only March 1. Several programs haven't even finished interviews yet.

I wouldn't expect anyone to make a decision until ALL offers were on the table. People don't just apply to crappy back up no name state schools--they apply to back up schools that are still highly ranked just not quite as high as the schools they're competing for. And not only that, they wouldn't spend the time and effort if they weren't interested in the research and frankly people change their minds about which school is top choice when they visit and have the info.

So PSA: let people make their decisions in their own time and focus on your own applications. Other applicants aren't whats holding you back and you don't need to be a jerk across the board to people because youre upset.

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Thank you.  This has been a message from the Still Worried Grad Applicants.

First of all, the people who were accepted have all the right to hold onto their offers as long as they please (before the appropriate deadlines of course), because as others pointed out on this thread, choosing a graduate program is a major decision, possibly one of the biggest in one's life, and selecting a choice out of their acceptances cannot be done overnight. If you were accepted to all those schools you were interviewed at, do you think you could make your decision rapidly so that you might make room for others on the waitlist?

Edited by FoggyAnhinga
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No, I'm just asking them to make them in enough time so those of us still waiting can get offered the position, if that's the school's modus operandi.

 

I think it's a fair rule going forward that you shouldn't count on a waitlist. A waitlist is meant for the program's convenience and not yours. You should make decisions independent of your waitlist status. If something works out after the deadline, most people/programs will understand if you accept a late offer. I'm sympathetic to your situation, but your waitlist status is out of your control and no one here can do anything to help you. We don't know which programs have waitlisted you, and there are no guarantees that you'll be the one selected off the waitlists.

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It's not up to the accepted applicants whether or not you get in off the waitlist, and it's not their job to ensure that you do. It's not even like the speed at which they turn down their offers would make a difference towards your chances. 

Regardless, if you want that last interview to count, do not let this attitude shine through. Word to the wise.

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While I think it might be reasonable to ask that people decline acceptances to programs if they are very sure they do not want to attend them (due to bad fit, etc.), people definitely deserve the to have the time they need to make a decision. They should not feel pressured to hurry their (incredibly important) decision, as long as they are working within the appropriate timeframe.

I do hope things go well for you, but this persistent negativity probably isn't helping you, and it certainly isn't contributing to this forum.

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This is also the stage where 1) the final 'first round' of offers are just being offered for some schools 2) additional funding packages may be offered around this time 3) people are contacting profs to make their final decisions. Believe me, I'm on a wait list and want off it ASAP, too, but either it'll happen later this month or it won't.

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On a slightly related note, please excuse me to being naive - but is funding that variable? Is it not a set amount? I have limited understanding of the grad school admissions process, but in my field, it's $X dollar amount and if you're offered admission, you can rest assured you'll be getting that amount.

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I know that this phase is often the most stressful time, when we might not have any offers, or we have some offers to some of our lower choices but still waiting to hear back from some of our top choices. But that doesn't mean we have to aggressive towards each other about this! 

 

I suggest these guidelines, which can really just be summarized as "don't be a jerk":

 

1. Don't be a jerk and procrastinate on making your decision. Once you do have enough information to make a decision, go ahead and make it. For example, if you know for a fact that you will go to one of your top 3 choices and you got into all 3, it's a good time to decline/withdraw all your other schools. Or, if there is a safety school that you no longer need, go ahead and decline it. Don't rush yourself though and give yourself time to visit the school and think carefully about how you want to spend your next 5-7 years. It's fine to take time if you need it to make the best decision for yourself, but don't be a jerk and just procrastinate until April before you seriously start thinking about your future. That is, don't treat this like a homework assignment--just because the deadline is April 15 does not mean you should wait until then to decide (unless you need the time).

 

2. Don't be a jerk and rush others into making a decision. They deserve your acceptances and have worked hard to get here, just like you. Every accepted applicant deserves the time necessary to make the right decision for them. And sometimes that means waiting for other offers. For example, there might be a 2-body problem so one partner has to wait until the other hears back from the schools in the same area to decide. Or, other information might be missing, such as waiting for the announcement of national fellowships (I believe these get released in early April). It's also important to realise that just because a waitlist exists doesn't mean that if someone declines, someone from the waitlist will get in. A school that wants 20 new students might make offers to 30 students, knowing that usually only, say, 40% of offers are taken. So they might only fill a few spots from the waitlist even though many people will be declining. Or, they might change their mind and just take a smaller class after all. You also don't know if the waitlist is something like 10 students, or all 200 students that met all minimum qualifications. Don't count on waitlist status meaning anything. Don't be a jerk and blame/guilt those with offers for the decision that the school made. We're all in this together.

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On a slightly related note, please excuse me to being naive - but is funding that variable? Is it not a set amount? I have limited understanding of the grad school admissions process, but in my field, it's $X dollar amount and if you're offered admission, you can rest assured you'll be getting that amount.

 

It really depends on the school. In my current program, funding is fixed at $30,000 per year unless you have a fellowship that specifically pays more for stipend support. So, NSF holders take home about $32,000 per year. My campus has a minimum stipend set to $28,000 and a maximum stipend of $38,000. The maximum stipend is hard to reach (the median on campus is about $30,000) and usually only possible in special cases. For example, I know one person that is a dual citizen of Canada and the US and won both the NSF and NSERC (Canada's NSF) graduate student awards (totalling $50,000 of stipend support). So, instead of maxing out at $38,000 for three years, they chose to defer one award for 3 years, so that they have 6 years of total support. 

 

In Canada, we pay tuition out of our stipend packages so unlike the US numbers above, Canadian grad schools generally think of stipend in terms of pre-tuition numbers. At my last program, the pre-tuition (tuition is only $7000 though) stipends ranged from $24,000 (no fellowships) to $40,000 (NSERC doctoral fellowship), or even $50,000 (a special super prestigious award). 

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I know that this phase is often the most stressful time, when we might not have any offers, or we have some offers to some of our lower choices but still waiting to hear back from some of our top choices. But that doesn't mean we have to aggressive towards each other about this! 

 

I suggest these guidelines, which can really just be summarized as "don't be a jerk":

 

1. Don't be a jerk and procrastinate on making your decision. Once you do have enough information to make a decision, go ahead and make it. For example, if you know for a fact that you will go to one of your top 3 choices and you got into all 3, it's a good time to decline/withdraw all your other schools. Or, if there is a safety school that you no longer need, go ahead and decline it. Don't rush yourself though and give yourself time to visit the school and think carefully about how you want to spend your next 5-7 years. It's fine to take time if you need it to make the best decision for yourself, but don't be a jerk and just procrastinate until April before you seriously start thinking about your future. That is, don't treat this like a homework assignment--just because the deadline is April 15 does not mean you should wait until then to decide (unless you need the time).

 

2. Don't be a jerk and rush others into making a decision. They deserve your acceptances and have worked hard to get here, just like you. Every accepted applicant deserves the time necessary to make the right decision for them. And sometimes that means waiting for other offers. For example, there might be a 2-body problem so one partner has to wait until the other hears back from the schools in the same area to decide. Or, other information might be missing, such as waiting for the announcement of national fellowships (I believe these get released in early April). It's also important to realise that just because a waitlist exists doesn't mean that if someone declines, someone from the waitlist will get in. A school that wants 20 new students might make offers to 30 students, knowing that usually only, say, 40% of offers are taken. So they might only fill a few spots from the waitlist even though many people will be declining. Or, they might change their mind and just take a smaller class after all. You also don't know if the waitlist is something like 10 students, or all 200 students that met all minimum qualifications. Don't count on waitlist status meaning anything. Don't be a jerk and blame/guilt those with offers for the decision that the school made. We're all in this together.

Definitely great advice!

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