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Early deadline to accept financial support and PhD offer (apparent violation of the April 15th CGS resolution)

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Hello everyone,

A few days back, I received an offer from a US university after a professor with similar research interests interviewed me and then decided to admit me in his group as a PhD student. The department also sent an offer letter mentioning the funding. However, the professor would like to hear about my decision regarding his offer within 10 days, I received the offer on 26th Jan. 2017. Although, the official offer letter does not mention any date by which I need to accept but the email sent by the department asked me to reply about their offer in 10 days. The professor already had informal discussion about this with me earlier.

This puts me in a difficult situation because I would ideally want to wait for other application results before deciding. I was expecting atleast one result notification from any one out of the 8 other universities that I applied to by this time, but it doesn't look like that is going to happen for me any time soon. So, it is highly probable now that I won't have any other offer before the deadline for this offer that I have received.

So, would it be okay to bring up the CGS resolution about April 15th deadline date with the department and/or the professor to request them to change the deadline to April 15th, because clearly this early deadline is only their informal deadline because they want to hire other candidates in case I reject?


I would really appreciate any suggestions in this matter and any other advice that you might have!



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Did that school even sign the resolution? Even so, I doubt there are any consequences of breaking it for them. Consequently, you would have no (other than burning any bridges with that university) have any consequences for accepting and then changing your mind later (following the resolution).

"In those instances in which a student accepts an offer before April 15 and subsequently desires to withdraw that acceptance, the student may submit in writing a resignation of the appointment at any time through April 15"

I would be honest with them, say you are following the CGS resolution (which states the above) and give them an answer before the deadline. It is pretty sassy to financial early deadline for acceptance, but they probably want to make sure to fill their spots with good candidates before they move on to other programs.

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Have you asked the school for more time? Sometimes, schools will just say that they want you to respond in X days but if you ask for more time, they will end up allowing it. If they refuse to give you more time, then I would follow @rising_star's advice. 

I am not sure whether it would help to mention the CGS resolution. It is possible that they don't know about it at all. Or, more likely, they do know about it and are pretending it doesn't exist. Either way, I think mentioning it will either do nothing or cause an argument that won't be good for you (i.e. they can rescind your offer). So, I would say you should wait until you are settled into the program to mention it for future students, or when you end up declining, you can also mention it if it's professional to do so. 

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Yeah, the program may not even be a signatory of the CGS, but even if they are they may be informally ignoring it. 10 days is not really enough time, especially when they know you are waiting for results from other programs.

In this case I would take rising_star and TakeruK's advice. First ask if you can have some more time to decide, given that you are waiting on decisions from other programs. If they say no, accept the offer, and then back out of it later if you get a better one. Frankly, they are setting themselves up for that kind of thing given that they want a response in early February instead of the far more reasonable mid-April - or even late March.

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