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will it be better if I accept the offer?


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Hi, I was accepted into Georgetown (phd) in the early Feb. The official acceptance letter said I am currently being considered for a full funding package. My POI said they will make initial funding offers within a few days. But I haven't heard anything from them yet..

I should decide if I accept the offer by 4/15. I haven't accept thier offer yet because I haven't heard anything about the funding. 

Would it be helpful (or look better?) to get funding if I accept thier offer first? This is my top choice and I am eager to study there..

Thanks in advance!

 

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I'd say it is very unlikely to have positive impact. I doubt people are actually that cynical, but from the objective perspective of the department, they should be happy to not give you any money if you are willing to go there without any. It surely can't hurt to politely ask them about the funding situation though. I would generally advise against going to any program without funding. It's probably not going to be a great thing on your CV - it might look like you went to a program not based so much on your merits, but on your financial abilities to pay for yourself. You'll definitely look like a second class student.

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34 minutes ago, humidz said:

I'd say it is very unlikely to have positive impact. I doubt people are actually that cynical, but from the objective perspective of the department, they should be happy to not give you any money if you are willing to go there without any. It surely can't hurt to politely ask them about the funding situation though. I would generally advise against going to any program without funding. It's probably not going to be a great thing on your CV - it might look like you went to a program not based so much on your merits, but on your financial abilities to pay for yourself. You'll definitely look like a second class student.

True. I would say accept the unfunded offer ONLY IF the unfunded offer is the ONLY OFFER you have.

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1 hour ago, humidz said:

I'd say it is very unlikely to have positive impact. I doubt people are actually that cynical, but from the objective perspective of the department, they should be happy to not give you any money if you are willing to go there without any. It surely can't hurt to politely ask them about the funding situation though. I would generally advise against going to any program without funding. It's probably not going to be a great thing on your CV - it might look like you went to a program not based so much on your merits, but on your financial abilities to pay for yourself. You'll definitely look like a second class student.

 

1 hour ago, historicallinguist said:

True. I would say accept the unfunded offer ONLY IF the unfunded offer is the ONLY OFFER you have.

Thank you for the advice!  I already got an another offer from the school in Canada, which is kinda famous in computational linguistics with a full-funding package. But I always wanted to go to Georgetown..

But you guys are right. It will defenetely look bad on my CV.

Edited by nonduos
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10 hours ago, historicallinguist said:

I would say accept the unfunded offer ONLY IF the unfunded offer is the ONLY OFFER you have.

I beg to differ. Do NOT accept an unfunded offer in linguistics EVER. It's not worth it. Living expenses are high, tuition is expensive, you'll end up with a ridiculous amount of debt and/or you'll spend your time working a second job and won't be able to concentrate on your studies. Your first job(s) are unlikely to pay you well enough to justify the debt. What's more, even students from top schools who are fully funded and well supported and do nothing other than brilliant linguistics for 5-6 full years often have trouble finding a job these days, so coming from a school that didn't even like you enough to fund you isn't going to look good. This is not to say it is impossible, but assuming that you will be the exception that beats the odds is never a good idea when we are talking about a significant amount of debt and years of your life that may not lead to a (good) job.

If you are set on applying to grad school and didn't receive the offers you were hoping for this year, you will be better served taking a break, improving your application, and reapplying again in a year or two. 

OP, you have nothing to lose by following up, reiterating your interest in the program, and asking again if there is any update to their funding decisions timeline. I would suggest doing that and then waiting it out. Please do NOT accept an unfunded offer, it will not be good for you and it will not make you more attractive to the program or more likely to receive funding. 

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8 hours ago, fuzzylogician said:

I beg to differ. Do NOT accept an unfunded offer in linguistics EVER. It's not worth it. Living expenses are high, tuition is expensive, you'll end up with a ridiculous amount of debt and/or you'll spend your time working a second job and won't be able to concentrate on your studies. Your first job(s) are unlikely to pay you well enough to justify the debt. What's more, even students from top schools who are fully funded and well supported and do nothing other than brilliant linguistics for 5-6 full years often have trouble finding a job these days, so coming from a school that didn't even like you enough to fund you isn't going to look good. This is not to say it is impossible, but assuming that you will be the exception that beats the odds is never a good idea when we are talking about a significant amount of debt and years of your life that may not lead to a (good) job.

If you are set on applying to grad school and didn't receive the offers you were hoping for this year, you will be better served taking a break, improving your application, and reapplying again in a year or two. 

OP, you have nothing to lose by following up, reiterating your interest in the program, and asking again if there is any update to their funding decisions timeline. I would suggest doing that and then waiting it out. Please do NOT accept an unfunded offer, it will not be good for you and it will not make you more attractive to the program or more likely to receive funding. 

Thanks fuzzylogicians! As you said, I don't think it is a good idea to accept an unfunded offer.

Even though the school I got an offer with a full funding package is famous with computational linguistics, during the interview I found out I am not that interested in my POI' project. Also, I am waitlisted in UW computer linguistics program and I haven't heard anything from them yet. 

I am working in the company related with computer linguisitics now, and I already told my supervisor I will quit because I start my phd this fall. ( I guess it was too early to tell him!!!)

As you said, I need to email my POI and ask him about the timeline. Thanks!

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If I were you, I wouldn't worry as much about the particular project. Interests shift over time and what you think you want to do now may not be what you will want to do in 2-3 years. I think more important questions are whether you generally like the program and whether you got along with the PI. Having an advisor you get along with is SO much more important than having a project that is the perfect fit. I would choose a better advisor over the better project any day of the week. I wouldn't recommend choosing a project you're completely uninterested in, but as long as you find it at least somewhat exciting, I would give more weight to these other considerations. Another question you might want to ask is about placement records for recent alums. If this is a Canadian school, how does it do with placement in the US, assuming that's whether you want to end up (and more specifically, if you are looking to go back into industry, do companies generally know and respect this school?). Good luck with your other applications!

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21 hours ago, nonduos said:

Thank you for the advice!  I already got an another offer from the school in Canada, which is kinda famous in computational linguistics with a full-funding package. But I always wanted to go to Georgetown..

Did you ask Georgetown about the funding situation then? It surely can't hurt to tell them you have another offer, either. In fact, some of the programs that have accepted me asked if I received other offers and said they might try to match them.

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  • 2 weeks later...

What about a terminal unfunded MA?

I only got one acceptance this year, and bah bah bah, the dreaded unfunded MA. However, my BA in linguistics really does nothing for me in the "real world," so an unfunded concentrated MA will at least make it so I can get a job when I graduate. and I mean, really the only bad part will be the first year's out-of-state tuition which is pretty brutal, the second year would be in state and it looks like it's about the same cost as my undergrad institution.  I think the MA could be enough to get me into that funded PhD later if I really apply myself. (Where there's a will right?) -at the very least it's experience vs. doing nothing. 

I've basically already decided, but I guess if anyone has feedback I'd appreciate it since it appears we're all in the same field.

On 3/19/2016 at 10:13 AM, historicallinguist said:

True. I would say accept the unfunded offer ONLY IF the unfunded offer is the ONLY OFFER you have.

 

On 3/20/2016 at 9:30 PM, fuzzylogician said:

If I were you, I wouldn't worry as much about the particular project. Interests shift over time and what you think you want to do now may not be what you will want to do in 2-3 years. I think more important questions are whether you generally like the program and whether you got along with the PI. Having an advisor you get along with is SO much more important than having a project that is the perfect fit. I would choose a better advisor over the better project any day of the week. I wouldn't recommend choosing a project you're completely uninterested in, but as long as you find it at least somewhat exciting, I would give more weight to these other considerations. Another question you might want to ask is about placement records for recent alums. If this is a Canadian school, how does it do with placement in the US, assuming that's whether you want to end up (and more specifically, if you are looking to go back into industry, do companies generally know and respect this school?). Good luck with your other applications!

 

On 3/20/2016 at 8:43 AM, humidz said:

Did you ask Georgetown about the funding situation then? It surely can't hurt to tell them you have another offer, either. In fact, some of the programs that have accepted me asked if I received other offers and said they might try to match them.

 

Edited by charlemagne88
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19 minutes ago, charlemagne88 said:

What about a terminal unfunded MA?

I only got one acceptance this year, and bah bah bah, the dreaded unfunded MA. However, my BA in linguistics really does nothing for me in the "real world," so an unfunded concentrated MA will at least make it so I can get a job when I graduate. and I mean, really the only bad part will be the first year's out-of-state tuition which is pretty brutal, the second year would be in state and it looks like it's about the same cost as my undergrad institution.  I think the MA could be enough to get me into that funded PhD later if I really apply myself. (Where there's a will right?) -at the very least it's experience vs. doing nothing. 

I've basically already decided, but I guess if anyone has feedback I'd appreciate it since it appears we're all in the same field.

Not much to say if you've already decided you are doing this, but I would not recommend it. At the very least, I would look into deferring for a year, so that you can move to the new state now, work for a year to build up some savings, and start next year as an in-state student. That would give you a chance to reapply to other schools and hopefully secure a funded offer, and would also significantly decrease your debt burden if you do end up paying out of pocket. 

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1 minute ago, fuzzylogician said:

Not much to say if you've already decided you are doing this, but I would not recommend it. At the very least, I would look into deferring for a year, so that you can move to the new state now, work for a year to build up some savings, and start next year as an in-state student. That would also give you the chance to reapply to other schools and hopefully secure a funded offer, and would decrease your debt if you do end up paying out of pocket. 

Thanks for the response!

It's really hard to just take a year off. I'm a non-traditional student (put off college for a few years after high school) so waiting another year makes me just that much older -granted I'm not "old" lol just older than the 22 year old graduates. Like I said before, there's not much you can do with a BA in linguistics unless you do some kind of specialized training in graduate school, or settle for a job whose qualifications only require a non specific BA. --> I know there ARE research assistantships out there, but they usually involve moving and are in themselves pretty competitive. 

I guess in the end I really think it's best I start now, and look for scholarships, funding, assistantships, etc.. once I'm there. Also What if I moved there for a year and then didn't get accepted next year for some reason or another. Then I'd have exhausted a lot of resources and effort for nothing.  

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Yeah, you've made up your mind and I'm sure I'm wasting my breath here, but you've gotta know that starting now or a year from now doesn't make a big difference, and almost everyone who starts a PhD program is older than those 22 year old graduates, if there was ever a point in comparing yourself to them (which there isn't). The point of deferring is exactly that you can start next year if you don't get a better/funded offer, and that makes the whole "what if" second paragraph of your response irrelevant. But heck, it sounds like you just want someone to tell you that you're making the right call; I won't give you that, but maybe someone else will. 

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8 hours ago, charlemagne88 said:

Also What if I moved there for a year and then didn't get accepted next year for some reason or another. Then I'd have exhausted a lot of resources and effort for nothing.  

That's why he said "defer". A lot of places are okay with extending your offer to next year. Asking about that possibility definitely can't hurt, it can only make you see your actual options more clearly.

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