I am an international applicant to a graduate program in Canada. I found out last week that at least one domestic applicant already received an informal email from the admissions team informing them that they were nominated for admission, and that they would get the official decision letter through the online application portal within two to three weeks.

My problem is that I have not received any such informal email, and I have to decide tomorrow on a job offer that restricts me from taking a study leave for at least two years. In other words, I have to choose between graduate school and a new employment opportunity, but I cannot make an informed choice until I know the result of my graduate school application. I already emailed the university about my problem earlier this week, but the admissions officer just asked me to wait two to three weeks for an official result or decision letter.

So, my question is: if I did not get an informal notice of admission from the academic department when other applicants did, can I assume that my application was probably denied?

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2 Answers 2


It depends on the department and institution. In my experience, informal emails regarding admission usually come from PIs and in that case you may or may not receive one. In other cases, a graduate admissions committee may send such informal emails to their top applicants, direct admits, or those nominated for fellowships etc. Plus, for programs with rolling admissions you may not get a first round offer but you could get a second or third.

I would say don't give up hope on this institution yet. Ask for an extension on deliberation time for the job offer. Worst case scenario, take the job and if you get an offer of admission you can resign. It isn't ideal, but people leave jobs all the time for a variety of reasons. Presumably, you won't be applying for the same position when you finish your graduate degree.


It means nothing. The funding model in all provinces favours domestic applicants so it is usual for programs to prioritize domestic over international applicants. Admission for international applicants also depends much more critically on available funding at the department and researcher level.

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