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Okay to accept offer now and back out later?


treetree123

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So I've been accepted to 2 programs and I'm interested in both. The problem is that I've just heard back from the second program, and the first program has an acceptance deadline on Monday.

Both programs are within driving distance of where I currently live, and I'd really like to visit them in person before making a decision.  Would it be awful to accept the first program, visit in person, and then possibly back out of the first acceptance later? The academic community is small, and the PIs at both schools know of each other.

I know there are people on the wait list behind me, and I don't want to be rude or unprofessional or have this backfire. The programs are similiar in rank and I really want to get a feel for the departments and campus atmosphere to make the most informed decision. However, I don't know if this is strongly frowned upon or some sort of serious offense or anything.Thanks. 

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That would not be advisable. Backing out of an acceptance could burn a bridge, since it'll lead to money being committed to you and could lead to other students being rejected off the waitlist because you've taken a spot. If you back out, that will cause an inconvenience. Not that there aren't legitimate reasons why that might happen, but it doesn't sound like you have one. Have you tried asking for an extension on the decision deadline? 

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