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Tell admissions committee member at current master's program about other offers?


phd2010

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I am currently in a Master's degree program and applying to PhD programs. I'm applying to the school at which I am pursuing a Master's degree. One of the professors who wrote a letter of recommendation for me, and who also happens to be on the admissions committee, is asking me where I have offers/interviews. I tried giving a generic answer without mentioning other schools by name, but now she is asking for specifics. The problem is that my school hasn't made any sort of decisions regarding PhD admissions yet. If this were any other school's adcom asking where else I am considering attending, I would give the standard, "I applied to a select number of schools..yada yada yada..." without giving any actual information. However, she did help me out a lot and she does already know the schools that I have applied to, so I don't want to be rude or anything. What would you all do?

Edited by phd2010
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I see two possible situations where you're better off keeping your mouth shut. Either you've been rejected by most if not all your schools, or you got an offer from a much better school. In the latter case, well, you got to tell her at one point? In the first case, not good.

If you have positive feedback from some schools then there's no reason to not tell her?

sD.

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You might not want to tell if you got most/all negative answers so far. That doesn't sound too good.

If you've had some positive replies from schools in the same/better tiers, then the question is: Do you trust this professor? If this is someone you trusted with a LOR, it should be a person who is looking out for your best interests. I assume that's the reason for her interest in you, not anything else. There is some concern that she will use the information against you - e.g. influence the committee not to admit you because you have what-she-thinks-are better options. However, if the school is a good fit for you, there is no reason that should happen. Schools sometimes refrain from making offers to students they don't think will accept (=are too strong for the school and are likely to receive better offers), but you are there to make sure the professor knows this school is one of your top choices.*

Bottom line: I think you should be fine telling; if you discuss offers, make sure to mention that your current school is still a top choice and you can't decide until you hear from it. If you decide not to tell, keep in mind that professors often know when their colleagues on adcoms at other schools have made decisions, so no news could be interpreted as bad news.

* I assume this is one of your top choices. If you have better offers from other schools and you're unlikely to accept an offer from your current school, let the adcom know so they can stop considering your application and make an offer to someone who will take it. They'll appreciate it, and so will the lucky student who might get your place.

Edited by fuzzylogician
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