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quandry1028

Very Confused: Rescinding Non-funding offer for Funded Offer?

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Okay, I would really appreciate any help with this. 

 

I got into my dream school A for a master's program. The school's funding wasn't finalized, so I told them explicitly that funding is the most important to me. The response was, essentially, we will help you with it--very positive and optimistic.

 

I assumed that I would not get into school B. So I took A at their word and committed early. 

 

I later get into school B. B is more highly regarded, has more opportunities, peers of a far higher caliber--it's only downside is that it is located at the other side of the country. B also offered me a fellowship that would cover all of my tuition and part of my living costs. 

 

I kept communicating with administrators at A. They decided not to award me any fellowships, but they said they would look into alternatives for me. I told them that B offered me a fully funded fellowship. They said it would be difficult to match, but they would try to work on something. 

 

Meanwhile, I have been doing a lot of legwork trying to find funding for College A. I've visited administrators, tried looking for jobs (TA-like positions that will waive my tuition). So far the amount of funding I got is essentially $0, and all I have are two possible job leads. I won't know if these jobs will pan out until May or even June. One of them I am not interested in, I would simply work it to pay tuition (gratefully, I might add). I think my odds of landing one of these jobs is 5%-20% approximately.

 

Also, the administration at school A is annoyed with me. They don't like me trying to work, and I get the sense that they just want me to take out loans and sit down. It feels like they haven't been trying, even though they have explicitly promised to take steps for me. I caught them lying to me on occasion. 

 

School B was kind enough to extend the deadline to accept their offer. I have not declined their offer yet. 

 

First of all, is it possible to decline A and accept B?

 

The financial and career benefit will be huge to go to B. I am also feeling hesitant about A, due to the way the administration has treated me through the whole process. Even my housing at A is not guaranteed. If I do go, and the current funding situation stays the same, I will have to pay close to $40,000, an amount I am not at all comfortable with. The benefit to going to A is the ability to stay close to family, and maybe a significant other depending on her plans. 

 

The other issue is that A knows I have a funding offer from B, since I was so forthright with them (and yet they lie to me).

 

Any advice would be greatly appreciated. I'm finding the situation quite difficult.

 

 

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I would choose B because it is better and has provided funding. There is no reason to choose A.

 

If you decline A, there is no problem because they themselves know that they have not provided funding.

 

I don't see any confusion here.

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It's a relief to hear these answers. 

 

Would there be an issue with A contacting B and badmouthing me? 

 

I have tried my utmost to go to A, in good faith. Even while B was rolling out the red carpet and going as far as to extend my deadline (unsolicited). 

 

How would I contact A?

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If you're worried about the proverbial "bridge burning" due to your original commitment to School A, you should understand that this situation does not dictate that in anyway. Clearly School B, which will be much better for you short-term and long-term, wants to offer you the best option available. School A, is not giving you any positive reasons other than it being your dream school prior to this conflict. The distance is always a factor, but when you're fully integrated into a program and have made that leap I think you'll find School B makes the most sense. The jitters will go away!

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Accept B first.

I don't think A would badmouth.

 

Let A know that it is impossible without funding and hence you are declining (with nice words and that you are in regrets and in pain to take this decision). 

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This strikes me as sound thinking.

 

Would I wait a while to tell A? They are very annoyed at me for having gotten into B (sounds like it . . . ). I gave them my word and did everything I can to keep my part of the bargain

 

The fact that they are lying to me and treating me in a negative way makes me hesitant about any interactions with them. 

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if you feel comfortable that way, you can wait for some time after you accept B and before you tell A.

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I would accept B and decline A right away after; you have no reason to feel guilty about anything. It really sounds like you've given it more than a decent chance, a lot more than most others would have done.

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Yeah, I am very fair, and I do everything I can to keep my word.

 

The problem is A might badmouth me to B. The administrators from A know I got into B--they were angry about it, and they haven't been forthright with me so far.

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Here's the thing to remember: you've done nothing wrong. You have acted in good faith the entire time. You gave them a chance to find you funding and they did not - what are they expecting you to do?

 

I'm sort of skeptical that they are actually angry with you about it - perhaps they are disappointed or annoyed, but I would be very shocked to find them badmouthing you to B. That would reflect so badly on them, and be extremely unprofessional. If they are actually angry with you, then they obviously don't care about what is best for you. I wouldn't want to go to a place like that.

 

Accept B's offer, professionally and politely tell A that it is not financially feasible for you to attend their program, and apologize for the inconvenience of rescinding your acceptance. Go to B, and don't look back. It is great to be polite and courteous to everyone, but ultimately you have to do what is best for you. Clearly, that is attending B.

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I wish it were true. I was shocked by school A's anger too. An administrator had the audacity to actually raise his voice while speaking to me about funding. And given how many falsehoods and half-truths have been told to me, I would not put it past one particular administrator to bad mouth me. 

 

Feel trapped at this point. 

Edited by quandry1028

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If they are treating you this way, it's even more of a reason to go to B. Whatever you do, keep all your correspondence professional. Don't do something that they could point at as something inappropriate you did.

 

Seriously, accept B's offer and ditch A. This doesn't sound like an environment you want to be in.

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A school has no right to badmouth you for not accepting an unfunded offer. They're upset because they won't get money from you (which it sounds like they desperately want). Thank school A for their offer and politely decline. Keep all emails.

I doubt they would bother contacting school B, but if they do, you will have the emails to back you up.

If it was funded, it may be a little rude to decline, but it still wouldn't make you a bad person or worthy of being badmouthed.

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A school has no right to badmouth you for not accepting an unfunded offer. They're upset because they won't get money from you (which it sounds like they desperately want). Thank school A for their offer and politely decline. Keep all emails.

I doubt they would bother contacting school B, but if they do, you will have the emails to back you up.

If it was funded, it may be a little rude to decline, but it still wouldn't make you a bad person or worthy of being badmouthed.

Yes, this. I'd upvote if I could. Keep all the correspondence. I would also decline their offer over email, so that you have a record of their response...

 

Don't let them bully you. Go to B.

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I really doubt that A will badmouth you. That would be very unprofessional and would look worse on them than it would you. If they did do that though then it wouldn't change B's offer. They wouldn't take it away just because you declined another school...

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If A was reasonable and professional, yes. The trouble is, they have lied, represented themselves falsely, and have even been aggressive towards me. If this sort of behavior continues, it think "bully" is the right way to put it. 

 

Given the way they acted towards me, I cannot be certain that A would not contact B. I wish I could give everyone here a sense of what I experienced at A--especially from one high-ranking individual who was keenly interested in whether I had declined B or not--to explain why I can't safely make the jump. 

 

I am shocked by how this is all working out too. In a sane and professional situation, I would have no problems declining A and going to B. But A's behavior does not make me feel safe at all. And given what I know about B, I am certain that B would react negatively.

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What we're saying is that if A does badmouth you to B, it looks far, far worse for them than it does for you. Frankly, even if it all went as horribly as you fear (you decline A, they badmouth you to B, and then B rescinds their offer) - is that really worse than going to A? This sounds like a recipe for a toxic environment and unhappiness, not to mention a lot of debt. In a worst-case scenario, you can apply elsewhere next year. Is that really such a terrible outcome?

 

The longer you wait, the worse it is (more inconvenient for A). You should absolutely accept B's offer and decline A. Be very apologetic and professional about it to A, but just do it.

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If A was reasonable and professional, yes. The trouble is, they have lied, represented themselves falsely, and have even been aggressive towards me. If this sort of behavior continues, it think "bully" is the right way to put it. 

 

Given the way they acted towards me, I cannot be certain that A would not contact B. I wish I could give everyone here a sense of what I experienced at A--especially from one high-ranking individual who was keenly interested in whether I had declined B or not--to explain why I can't safely make the jump. 

 

I am shocked by how this is all working out too. In a sane and professional situation, I would have no problems declining A and going to B. But A's behavior does not make me feel safe at all. And given what I know about B, I am certain that B would react negatively.

 

If A is treating you that way NOW, imagine when you are in...

 

I would risk going with B. What would they do? Rescind their offer? I don't think it works that way... Schools do compete for the best applicants and it's not like you are in the middle of the program.

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I am not sure how school A would know about school B but I doubt they would care about a student as much as to badmouth them. There is no common information system which tells these schools where else did you get in and what did you do with the offers you got. Also I highly doubt that B would not rescind their offer. Yes it is not nice to say no to an offer that you already accepted, but I know some people who did it and had no problems with it.

Besides, everyone knows that funded offer> than unfunded offer.

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You know what you need to do for yourself and your future. The longer you wait, the harder it will be on everyone. The nonfunded program might have time to offer the spot to a person on the waitlist. 

 

Let go of the idea of a school "badmouthing" a student because of a decision made in the wake of funding information. You assume they were "mad" that you got into another school...really, they know that most students apply to more than one school, and they know that funding availability affects decisions. If anyone at the school raised their voice at you it may be because they were having a hard day, they are often unprofessional, and/or they were annoyed by how often you were contacting them. I doubt it was because they were "mad" you got in elsewhere, especially for a masters program not tied to research with a specific PI.

 

Accept the funded offer, get written confirmation, then decline the nonfunded offer. This situation happens often, and it certainly not worth the angst you seem to be feeling. 

Edited by med latte

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I feel angst because I usually keep to all written agreements, and spoken ones too for that matter.

 

If the path was clear, yes, then definitely B is the wisest decision. And the advice is very rational. Unfortunatley, I kind of got into this mess by doing the rational and straightforward thing. Once I got into B, everyone told me to let A know the situation in a polite and open matter. Had I not let A know, I would not have to worry about angry and unstable administrators in order to switch to B. In effect, I feel like I am being punished for being honest and straightforward, and I finding the situation with A patently unfair.

The next two weeks are going to be tough . . .

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accept B, get confirmation. Tell them that B is your dream school and you are very happy to accept the offer. Get the written confirmation.

Speak to your POI and tell the same and have a conversation.

since you are worried about A's administrators, tell them whenever you are comfortable that you won't join them.

 

Why will B's administrators rescind your offer when you are willing to join them. They see such cases every year. Why will your POI or department dean agree to rescind your offer when a vindictive admin from school A complains about you. This won't happen even in a highly fictional movie.

What can A say the max, you promised and then did not keep that promise. That is not a reason to jeopardize your career.

You are not the first and you won't be the last to do this.

 

Everyone here has posted the same thing. 

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Accept B and rescind your offer from A.

Like everyone else has said, you really need to care about yourself and your career over an administrator being "angry" with you. Even if they do get angry, what's the alternative? You suck it up and join a program that had treated you as badly as you say? No. Obviously you don't want to do that. By being fearful of rescinding your offer from A you're setting yourself up to attend that institution. Why would you want to do that, given everything you've said to us?

If you're really that concerned about rescinding their offer because A will "badmouth" you (which would be EXTREMELY unprofessional and reflect poorly on them, like others have said!) then accept B FIRST and after you've gotten written comfirmation rescind your acceptance from A. Simple.

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