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Delaying an offer until Feb/March


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Hey everybody,

I wanted some help in deciding something. I have recently been offered a PhD position at a new institute in France. I originally met the institute head in an internship in England while I was working in an adjacent lab to his with some of his collaborators. He was then preparing the move to this new institute and offered me a possible position. I was then in the middle of my undergrad. Fast forward a year later and he's just opening up his institute and he formally offer me a position in August. It's a good option that already comes with funding, but I was planning on applying to US and UK schools and I will only receive answers from these schools late Feb/March.

I was a bit overwhelmed with schoolwork and applications when he made his offer clear, so I said that I might be able to answer better in November when my schoolwork would be smaller. November has come and I don't know what to answer. As I said, it's a good offer, even if the research that they specialize is different than what I would originally choose, but there's also a possibility of a co-advisor closer to the research that I want to undertake. I would be satisfied in working with him from what I've seen, but I would decline that offer if I get into my top schools. I don't know if I'll be able to get in to my top schools, but at the same time, I don't want to offend him by asking for a very big extension (and therefore making it clear that he's not my top choice).

So, what should I do? Do I ask for an extension and risk losing this chance? Or go into an ethical minefield by just accepting it and if I get into my top schools I decline? Am I overthinking this?


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