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4 Acceptances, 4 Amazing Programs, 2 Questions


NewDex

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Hi,

 

So, I applied to MS programs at Case, UChicago, UPenn and NYU and got taken for all of them. I never thought that would happen and would honestly be excited to go for all of them - too bad I can't! What I've been thinking is:

 

1. The program at UChicago is the best fit for me if I take into account where I currently am. I graduated in a field of study and hope to transition into a different one, and the program there is designed for people just like me. The program at UPenn, however, is more prestigious, traditional and entirely within the area of study I want to later pursue. That being said, I don't feel like I'm the best prepared to go for the program at UPenn right now, but that the program at UChicago will prepare me for that. So my question is: would it be unlikely that they would accept me again if I declined their offer now and reapplied in 2 years, in case I still think that would be a good idea? Or declining their offer now means I'll never ever be able to attend that program one day?

 

2. I asked for extra days to think about the UChicago offer (the 1st one I got), they asked me how much time I'd like, I said 3 weeks, and they gave them to me. I know it sounds silly, but after reading some other posts describing similar scenarios and realizing that most people ask from 5 to 7 extra days only, I'm freaking out that I might have been too much of a glutton and that they might be feeling pretty upset at me for that. Should I let go of these thoughts? Apologize? Any thoughts on this?

 

Thank you very much for any insight, you guys! I really appreciate any feedback you can provide me on this!  :)

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The titles of the programs, just so you know how broad/narrow their scopes are:

1. Case: MS in macromolecular engineering

2. UChicago: MS in the Physical Sciences Division

3. UPenn: MS in nanotechnology

4. NYU: MS in applied physics

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If they told you that it was okay to take 3 weeks, then it's fine. If they needed an answer sooner, they would've told you. 

On your first question, are you planning to apply to the PhD program at Penn once you have the Masters? I can't imagine you would be accepted for another Masters degree in the same field, even if Penn is a better program. But having been accepted to Penn once indicates you're probably a strong candidate; it seems likely that getting a Masters elsewhere would help your application there. Of course, being accepted one year doesn't in any way guarantee a result in the future; there's just too much randomness in the admissions process for that. But declining their offer now to do another program shouldn't hurt you; departments are used to it. It's also entirely possible that the admissions committee in the future will have entirely new members and no one will know you applied before and you won't have any advantage or disadvantage either way. 

Edited by perpetuavix
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If they told you that it was okay to take 3 weeks, then it's fine. If they needed an answer sooner, they would've told you. 

On your first question, are you planning to apply to the PhD program at Penn once you have the Masters? I can't imagine you would be accepted for another Masters degree in the same field, even if Penn is a better program. But having been accepted to Penn once indicates you're probably a strong candidate; it seems likely that getting a Masters elsewhere would help your application there. Of course, being accepted one year doesn't in any way guarantee a result in the future; there's just too much randomness in the admissions process for that. But declining their offer now to do another program shouldn't hurt you; departments are used to it. It's also entirely possible that the admissions committee in the future will have entirely new members and no one will know you applied before and you won't have any advantage or disadvantage either way. 

 

Hey perpetuavix, thanks for your reply!

 

The point is that the MS at UChicago is less area focused than the one at UPenn. They're not exactly in the same field. The former is a MS in the Physical Sciences Division (this program is designed for you to take whichever classes you need in that division to make up for deficiencies and build up knowledge in the area of science you want to pursue in your PhD) and the latter is a MS in nanotechnology (all classes are necessarily in that area of study). There are a bunch of classes I would like to take before taking the ones offered by the program at UPenn, and the ideal case scenario for me would be if I could go for both. They currently do not offer a PhD in nanotechnology there, so I'd have to go for this MS if I wanted to take those classes, I guess. I'm not familiar with the nitty gritty of the US superior education system, so let me ask this: would it be possible to take those MS-level classes as a student in whichever UPenn PhD program later down the road? In other words, are all MS/PhD-level classes typically open to all grad students within a university?

 

Thanks for your insights, again!

Edited by NewDex
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If you'd be sad about missing the opportunity to do the nanotech MS at Penn, why not do it now? You wouldn't have been accepted if you were unprepared (admissions committees' whole job is to suss out whether you're equipped to do the work well!), so I wouldn't worry about that for now. If this is really worrying you, I'd also ask Penn whether they would let you take some of the other classes you think you need as electives, or enroll in summer classes before starting your nanotech curriculum. Getting 2 masters degrees isn't recommended unless you really need to, for example in the case of students who are drastically switching fields and need to do a second MA before they'd be considered for a PhD in the second field. 

Edited by brown_eyed_girl
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Thanks y'all! I guess I have a better idea of what I'll probably do now. I'm almost 100% sure UPenn would be best for me at this moment.

 

As a final question, though, the situation is that the PhD program offered by UChicago is really wonderful and would be the top choice one for me once I'm done with my masters. Under that light, would either choice increase/decrease my chance of being taken there better? In other words, which would help me best if my final ambition is to pursue a PhD at UChicago: the network I'd establish as a masters student there or venturing out to another equally prestigious school for my masters?

 

I'm sorry for how entangled what's going on in my head looks like and has come across! I just want to make sure that I make the best choice I can right now thinking long term and where it is gonna take me.

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Congrats on your decision! You really can't go wrong with these options, but it sounds like Penn will be a great place for you.

 

Others may have more specific insight on these programs, but from what I have heard generally I doubt you'd have any significant advantage applying to Chicago after completing your masters there versus after completing it at Penn. Plus, assuming that you want to go there for your PhD I think you'll benefit from having a different experience and building a larger network by going elsewhere for the MS. 

 

Good luck!!

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