A large number of US schools I applied to have put me on their waitlist, and since I also applied to a few programs in other Europe that release their decisions later, I still need more time to make my decision. (Especially because I've been put on the waitlist for the best graduate school in the world (or at least US) in my field, so it would be painful to accept a different offer, and then receive an offer from them that I cannot accept!)

I started receiving offers just this week, which is only a few days to the April 15th deadline, and I have at most 2 weeks to decide. That being said, I understand that there are other people on the waitlist, and I think the grad schools may say it's not possible to get an extension. But another problem I have for making the decision, is that I'm in a super-stressful situation for my finals now, and with all grad school stuff, the psychological pressure is high and I really believe I might make a bad decision in this situation.

Is that (the stress and pressure) a good reason to ask for at least a few days more time for making the decision (so I'll be done with my exams and have a couple of days to make decision in a more relaxed condition), or is that too personal to explain to grad school and not acceptable?

2 Answers 2


Most of your colleagues are going through stressful scenarios right now as well, finishing up exams, projects, term papers, and the other parts of their undergraduate careers as well. So it’s unlikely that you’d get an extension just because of deadlines.

If you had extreme extenuating circumstances—personal illness, family issues, or other events—you could make a request that is more likely to be accepted. But in general, there’s not much you can do.


I don't see the trouble with asking for a few days extension. In general, an inquiry in advance doesn't cause problems, as long as you make the request professionally. You should, however, be prepared for this request to be denied at least some of the time.

First, I would reiterate your continued interest in the program. Then I would use the short turnaround as the justification for my request, rather than stress.

If you were not invited to/able to attend the visit day as a waitlisted student, you might also request to be put in contact with some faculty or grad students to help you make your decision.

  • The problem with asking for an extension is that at that time the program may want to open up admission to their waitlist. If they wait any time at all after the deadline, the chances of admitting anyone off the waitlist drop dramatically, because those students are going to assume they will not get off the waitlist and they will make plans to go elsewhere. Asking for an extension sort of ignores all the other people that the deadline exists for.
    – Bryan Krause
    Apr 12, 2018 at 19:54
  • @BryanKrause Sure, but I trust the program can weigh those dynamics for itself. For instance, my program has no wait list and routinely grants short extensions. I don't think it is the OPs responsibility to guess what the department's situation is - OP can ask and get an answer.
    – Dawn
    Apr 12, 2018 at 20:06
  • OP was already on a waitlist at those institutions, and therefore doesn't have much bargaining power. I see your point though that asking is unlikely to destroy relationships.
    – Bryan Krause
    Apr 12, 2018 at 21:03

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