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Thread: Grad School Help/Question

  1. #1

    Default Grad School Help/Question

    Alright, I have a couple of really important questions, I hope someone can help me with. I have applied and gotten acceptance to a PhD program.

    1. Do you think that if I asked, they could extend the timeline given to me to accept? They gave me until Apr 15, but I need more time than that.

    2. The bigger question...say like they do not give me that time. Is it ok to go ahead and accept the PhD program, but if I get into the program that I really want to within the next 1-2 months, to tell the PhD pgrm that I want to go in another direction?

    This is VERY important! Thanks!
    Don't ask Marvin Harrison what he did during the bye week. "Batman never told where the Bat Cave is," he explained.

  2. #2
    Member Pingu's Avatar
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    Default Re: Grad School Help/Question

    The April, 15 deadline is for students who are guaranteed to receive financial aid from the institution, so I assume that you are in this situation.

    I believe that you should be honest with the first university (A) and tell them that if you were to be admitted at the other one (B) you would have to bolt the first. If there is a big difference between universities (say IU vs. Stanford), they will probably understand and give you additional time to decide. (what's the point of this April 15 deadline anyway? Since when do universities need 5 months to prepare for the next fall?)

    At the same time, if you're not sure that you will receive financial aid in case you're admitted at institution B, you should be cautious in the way you negociate with A. My overall advice is to be honest when negociating.

    You may want to read the comments on this post on a philosophy blog:
    http://leiterreports.typepad.com/blo...er_studen.html

    The post is about philosophy but I believe that most of the comments apply outside philosophy.

    I don't know what your field of study is but you should try to find out whether there is an agreement
    between universities and the American [Insert your field of study here] Association.

    And BTW, congrats for being admitted to a PhD program.

  3. #3
    Member Knucklehead Warrior's Avatar
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    Default Re: Grad School Help/Question

    That's a tough one. I'm still thinking on the right thing to do vs. the prudent thing to do. While they might be understanding if you explain why you need extra time, don't count on it. The pessimist in me sees a possibility they might rather withdraw their offer than extend the time to consider it, i.e. just telling them you'd prefer another program might make them less confident about having you in theirs. I'm thinking of this from a business standpoint, not an academic one, having more experience in business than academia.

    1.
    How about this? Resign yourself to not getting the extra time and to waiting it out for the other offer. Tell them near April 15 that you'd like to accept their offer, but will have to decline if not given further time. See what they say. The downside to this scenario is that they probably have backups for your spot, not to mention that you could end up in the cold.

    2.
    Accept their offer. Wait for the other one. If it doesn't come, you're still in. If it does, then you face the ethical predicament. I think in that situation you have to do what's right for you. They have no idea whether you held out for the other opportunity or became dissatisfied with theirs. They probably still can plug the hole you leave behind, and you're assured of at least your backup choice.

    3. I've been in similar situations regarding job offers. They will know why you want extra time, in fact they'll probably ask you if that's the reason. They might be willing to wait, but they have their own timetable for getting things done too. Asking them to wait one month might not be unreasonable, but two probably is.

    4.
    Why not ask the other guys to speed up their process for you? You CAN explain to them why you have a problem. Perhaps they will put you on some fasttrack in the process and make up their minds earlier. At the very least, someone should emphathize with your problem and maybe give you a better idea of your chances.

    Is this a decision that will haunt you the rest of your life? We all have those. Consider which dilemma you'd rather have haunt you -- an ethical one or giving up the career choice you prefer. It's a no brainer for me, nobody's 100% ethical all the time, life is full of choices. While I feel badly about keeping program A on hold, that's what I'd do. In the meantime, I'd do everything I could to get program B's act in gear and find out.

    Sorry for being so long winded. Another thought crossed my mind. Why is there such a discrepancy between the deadlines? Is it possible that program A cannot compete with program B and therefore sets an earlier deadline just to force people to decide earlier than they want to? Just trying to find justification for keeping them on hold I guess.
    Don't thank me, I'll kill ya.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Grad School Help/Question

    Quote Originally Posted by Knucklehead Warrior View Post
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    2.

    Accept their offer. Wait for the other one. If it doesn't come, you're
    still in. If it does, then you face the ethical predicament. I think in
    that situation you have to do what's right for you. They have no idea
    whether you held out for the other opportunity or became dissatisfied with
    theirs. They probably still can plug the hole you leave behind, and you're
    assured of at least your backup choice.


    Is this allowed? This is the question I'm worried about. I mean, ethically
    I would not feel good, but if I need to do it I'll do it. But if I do accept
    from option A, it's not binding is it? If it isn't, which I wouldn't think
    it is, then I could go ahead and accept, and then decline later if I get
    what acceptance I want more.






    3. I've been in similar situations regarding job offers. They will know
    why you want extra time, in fact they'll probably ask you if that's the
    reason. They might be willing to wait, but they have their own timetable
    for getting things done too. Asking them to wait one month might not be
    unreasonable, but two probably is.


    I'm thinking I might ask for that extension, but like you said, I don't
    know how they would take that. I figured just to say that I have not yet
    heard from other schools that I'm considering, and that I want to have all
    the information in front of me before I make a decision. Or something like
    that.



    4. Why not ask the other guys to speed up their process for you? You CAN
    explain to them why you have a problem. Perhaps they will put you on some
    fasttrack in the process and make up their minds earlier. At the very least,
    someone should emphathize with your problem and maybe give you a better idea
    of your chances.


    I might have to wait a week or 2, since I just completed the application for
    that. My own lack of foresight there, but oh well. They said they would
    hopefully have it by the end of April, but I'm not sure.




    Sorry for being so long winded. Another thought crossed my mind. Why is
    there such a discrepancy between the deadlines? Is it possible that program
    A cannot compete with program B and therefore sets an earlier deadline just
    to force people to decide earlier than they want to? Just trying to find
    justification for keeping them on hold I guess.


    Actually, prgm A is the much better prgm. Problem is, prgm B better
    suits my needs. What throws this all for a loop is prgm C, which is the
    one I really want to get into. But that one I don't know how long they will
    take, because it could be from now till June 1 before I hear.
    Don't ask Marvin Harrison what he did during the bye week. "Batman never told where the Bat Cave is," he explained.

  5. #5
    Administrator/ The Real Jay ChicagoJ's Avatar
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    Default Re: Grad School Help/Question

    Is the financial aid you'd need to apply for binding? If not, you should be in a position to have a frank conversation with them about your timeline and how it varies from theirs.

    Several years ago, I was a long way down the road to spending the last year of my MBA in the full-time program, but I got two pieces of information on the same day - a less-than expected financial aid package (all loans, no grants/ TA assignments) and the news of my wife's pregnancy, which meant that I didn't want to quit my "day job" just yet...

    Of course, in that situation I was just moving between a full-time and part-time section of the same MBA program, but the university didn't have a problem holding open that space in both programs until the financial aid package was finalized.

    Good luck, and of course, congrats on your acceptance.
    Why do the things that we treasure most, slip away in time
    Till to the music we grow deaf, to God's beauty blind
    Why do the things that connect us slowly pull us apart?
    Till we fall away in our own darkness, a stranger to our own hearts
    And life itself, rushing over me
    Life itself, the wind in black elms,
    Life itself in your heart and in your eyes, I can't make it without you


  6. #6

    Default Re: Grad School Help/Question

    Quote Originally Posted by Jay View Post
    This quote is hidden because you are ignoring this member. Show Quote
    Is the financial aid you'd need to apply for binding? If not, you should be in a position to have a frank conversation with them about your timeline and how it varies from theirs.
    I'm not quite sure what you mean. They have already offered their financial aid package along with the acception, so I do not have to apply for it.
    Don't ask Marvin Harrison what he did during the bye week. "Batman never told where the Bat Cave is," he explained.

  7. #7
    Administrator/ The Real Jay ChicagoJ's Avatar
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    Default Re: Grad School Help/Question

    I mean, are there any financial strings attached to an April 15 deadline?

    Or are they just holding a seat open for you? That was my situation.

    If its just the seat, it should be flexible. If there is money involved, maybe not.
    Why do the things that we treasure most, slip away in time
    Till to the music we grow deaf, to God's beauty blind
    Why do the things that connect us slowly pull us apart?
    Till we fall away in our own darkness, a stranger to our own hearts
    And life itself, rushing over me
    Life itself, the wind in black elms,
    Life itself in your heart and in your eyes, I can't make it without you


  8. #8
    Cheeseburger in Paradise Los Angeles's Avatar
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    Default Re: Grad School Help/Question

    Also note that MANY programs allow you to defer your acceptance up to one year.
    “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” - Winston Churchill

    “If you can't be a good example, then you'll just have to serve as a horrible warning.” - Catherine Aird

  9. #9
    I consume tiny briefs Robobtowncolt's Avatar
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    Default Re: Grad School Help/Question

    I've sent in deposits to three places to hold my financial aid until I make a financial decision about law school. Will I lose 400 bucks? Sure. But since one of these places is likely to give me at least 20k more in free money than another place, it's well worth it in the long run.
    Narf!

  10. #10

    Default Re: Grad School Help/Question

    The financial aspect of the deadline probably is not flexible, as with most schools.
    Don't ask Marvin Harrison what he did during the bye week. "Batman never told where the Bat Cave is," he explained.

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