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I was offered an admission of offer (math) today and I found out that I have till Feb 15th to accept the offer. Most schools in my country (Canada) actually send out offers during Feb, and there is a low probability that I will get an offer then, is it okay to ask schools to extend the offer date?

Note I am Canadian. Schools in Canada don't generally give out scholarships until NSERC hands out theirs. My school gives entrance scholarships after you get NSERC, in which case, they announce it in March, wayyy past the deadline.

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Yes, it's definitely okay to ask. They're certainly not going to rescind the offer because you ask for more time. Depending on the school, their applicant pool, how bad they want you, and (probably) how rigid their administrative structure is, they may grant or refuse your request.

You should, of course, word your request very politely and recognize that they have the right to say "no".

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  • How about something like ""Dear [Name of Grad coordinator]", I was recently fortunate enough to receive an offer of admission from University of X and I have till [date] to give my answer, I am wondering if the deadline for the offer could be extended please? Thank you for reading" – Hawk Jan 22 '14 at 0:21
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    If they ask, is it a bad idea to tell them that "because I want to see what other schools' responses' – Hawk Jan 22 '14 at 0:33
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    I would just tell them that you need time to consider all your options. – David Ketcheson Jan 22 '14 at 12:20
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To pick up on David's answer -- UK (and the Commonwealth legacy counties like ANZ) have zero administrative wiggle room. US admission committees may be more lenient (I was asked once by our grad admissions director if I knew of any good applicants that they could get a couple of weeks past the deadline), but you need to have a strong case to have any leverage in deadline extension negotiations -- i.e., to be sure you are on the top of their pool (e.g., offered a good competitive scholarship). If you are not, you will hardly get your date extended. In most programs, there are dozens of applicants with a continuum of qualifications and a handful of places to offer, so if you can't commit to taking the spot, it is way too easy for the admissions committee to extend the offer to the next person in line. If you think you have a low probability in your own country, where your credentials are easier to evaluate than in a foreign country, you should seriously consider accepting with gratitude.

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  • I am from Canada and the deadline for the application is supposed to be Feb 1st. The school I go to only gives their internal scholarships after NSERC gives me one (which they don't reveal until March, past the offer deadline). I don't think my application was stellar, but this was a top program in my country. – Hawk Jan 21 '14 at 15:35
  • I am Canadian by the way – Hawk Jan 21 '14 at 15:42
  • To be clear, are you saying that the applicant may lose the offer just by asking for an extension? Or do you mean that he may lose the offer if he doesn't accept by the deadline? I think the latter is obviously true, but your answer seems to imply the former, which is confusing (unless that's what you meant). – David Ketcheson Jan 22 '14 at 12:18

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