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Can you rescind your accepted offer?



First off, let me just say that this is a hypothetical question. I am curious to know if anyone has ever rescinded their accepted offer from grad school and are there any negative ramifications associated with doing so?

I am just wondering because I see that some schools can make an offer for admission as early as December but I don't really know how much time they give you to respond. What if you accept an offer too early and you have a change of heart later on in April when you also get accepted by your dream school?  I can see that it will reflect poorly if one chooses to rescind an offer but are there any real acute consequences?

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Your decision is 'due' on April 15, so just don't accept anything until you have heard back from who you want to and decide. When I applied to law schools/grad schools before entering my MS program, as a matter of professional courtesy, I didn't keep more than one offer in my pocket at a time. By comparing A to B and declining on the fly, I hopefully opened up a spot for someone else. Why accept if you don't want to go? In any case the the for the consequences question... probably depends on a lot of things.

Edited by Quickmick
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Yes, it is possible and there are possible negative ramifications but the details depend on each case and whether the damage is worth it depends on each case as well!

However, it sounds like you are worrying about a hypothetical, so maybe this answer will be most helpful to you:

- If you are applying to funded US programs that are part of the Council of Graduate Schools Resolution then, your offer will be valid until April 15, 2017. All schools part of this resolution will all set a deadline of April 15, no matter when they respond with an offer, so that you have an equal chance to consider every offer. This is a simplification but the basic gist is that for offers of funded PhD programs, you have until April 15.

- For schools not part of this convention or outside of the US, then you may have to do things like ask for additional time to decide etc. Many major Canadian schools will follow the April 15 convention though since there's lots of parallels Canadian and US schools. Others will generally give you about 4 weeks but will also generally be okay with a few weeks of extension if required. 

Anyways, I think this is a problem to not worry about until you get to it :) Then you can search for specific situation (or post about your specific case) here and people can be more helpful with things that can work for you. 

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