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Friendly Reminder: If you know you're not going to accept an offer, decline early


fauxtog

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Additional note: I would decline directly to the department, not just the "official" way. I know the official way of notifying UC Berkeley you are coming or not coming takes forever (possibly weeks) to get to our graduate department.

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This.

Don't feel bad about taking your time to decide, you earned your offers so don't let anybody pressure you. But once you've made up your mind and feel confident about the decision to decline an offer, do it. Don't keep everybody waiting. Tell the department directly so they can offer the spot to the lucky person who is next on the list as soon as possible. You'd want the person taking up your spot at your top-choice school to do the same.

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I'll also add that if you decide you won't be going to a school even before they've sent you an offer, you might want to withdraw your application. Why? Because a lot of schools don't do "waitlisting", they simply send one round of offers under the assumption that a certain % will accept. If you get an (official) acceptance into a top choice, and you are certain then that you wouldn't choose a "safety" school, then consider withdrawing your app from consideration. If you wait until they've already sent you an offer, then declining it might not help anyone at that point. Of course, it depends on the program, and the timing doesn't always work out this way, but just throwing that out there since that's what I did.

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I just want to say that I'm glad everyone has emphasized that you should withdraw/decline when you are ready. No one should feel pressured to withdraw/decline until they are absolutely sure.

At this point it seems likely that I will be withdrawing some apps, but I'm waiting until I am absolutely sure and 100% happy with the decision. I am also waiting on an official acceptance from one school (the department said that I should expect an official acceptance from the graduate school in the next couple weeks). It is a school I am very excited about, so I want to wait until I have something official, even though the chance of it becoming a rejection is very small.

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Yeah, I just want to add I applied for ten programs. After my first acceptance, I immediately withdrew my bottom three applications before I heard decisions from them. Some of the programs I really liked even, I just knew I would never actually attend them. The graduate secretaries at all the schools were very nice and it was totally painless. It took two seconds to send them emails.

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