So the school that I got into for m PhD program offers a simple admission deferral process that I'd like to apply for, for personal reasons (I don't want to use this post to discuss whether or not I should defer; assume that the personal reasons are serious enough, because they are). This could defer my admission one year, to fall 2019.
My question is, would it be very unprofessional/unethical to also apply to other schools during my deferral period? It seems silly to throw away my offer, since I would like to take it, but I would also like to see where else I may be able to get in. Would it be better to simply rescind my acceptance, rather than having the department believe that I am certain on my intentions to enroll in a year?
Edit to clarify: The decision to defer is due to the personal reasons that I mentioned above, and not because I take issue with the program to which I've been admitted. If not for the personal reasons, I would go to school now. But, if I'm going to be deferring at all anyway, it would seem imprudent to not at least try my hand and open up the future by applying elsewhere. Telling the department about the personal issues and leaving out the previous sentence, though, does seem wrong.