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During last year's CS PhD application season, several elderly family members of mine were hospitalized due to COVID-19. I was greatly impacted by this event as they looked after me during my teenage years. As a result, I was not able to focus on school work for two months and ended up only submitting 3 applications. Fortunately, all of my family members recovered.

I end up getting admitted into one of the 3 programs I applied to, and it's a decent program. However, I'm considering reapplying next year because there are a few programs that I didn't apply to (I wanted to, but wasn't capable emotionally) but could likely offer a better fit in terms of research interest.

In particular, I will be reapplying to the program I got in. Would this be viewed negatively by the committee for that school? Or, would it be possible to defer my admission until next year? How should I communicate this to the admission committee at that school?

(Background: In general, the program allows for deferral.)

Any advice would help. Thanks.

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    why would you be reapplying to the program you got into, is there soem scolarship/fudning aspect here? Feb 21, 2023 at 17:13
  • As I (perhaps) hinted in the prompt, there are other schools that could offer a better research fit (e.g., more potential advisors in area of interest). It would not be a terrible choice to attend the current program, but I'm simply asking for more choices as I'm planning on taking a gap year anyway in my home country after years abroad. Feb 21, 2023 at 17:30

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I don't see any downside to applying anywhere you think would be a good fit. Universities certainly understand COVID disruptions.

I assume you turned down an invitation. You will need to decide whether to refer to that in a new application, but a few words should be enough in any written materials ("Family responsibility due to COVID..."). You might be asked in an interview and you can expand it there.


If you've been rejected by a place, though, it probably isn't worth the effort to reapply unless there has been a change in your CV and visible accomplishments.

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  • Thanks for the answer. I haven’t turned down the offer yet. Can I defer the offer, apply to other schools, but make sure to accept/reject the deferral before next year’s decision deadline? Feb 21, 2023 at 20:47
  • That is up to the school in question. You would need to ask them. But you might just phrase it as a delay in acceptance for family/medical reasons and see if they are happy with that.
    – Buffy
    Feb 21, 2023 at 20:50
  • Do you mean it’s better to keep it he excuse “general” as opposed to going into full detail (ie, I’m reapplying because I only applied for 3 schools last time due to family/medical emergency)? Feb 21, 2023 at 20:58
  • I wouldn't talk to one school about applications elsewhere. That doesn't seem productive.
    – Buffy
    Feb 21, 2023 at 21:00
  • I see. I’m just concerned that the school could ask: “why don’t you just defer as opposed to delaying acceptance?” It would be hard for me to provide a reasonable answer without mentioning other schools. Feb 21, 2023 at 21:03

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