I have been admitted to three PhD programs but I am leaning to program A. Program B is attractive and simply only with the admission letter and fellowship letter I'm not sure if it's the right school for me. (I am pretty sure I will be declining program C.) So, should I still talk to my program B's advisor professor and program director professor before making the decision or should I just save their time by saying that I will decline the offer immediately? I pretty sure its easy to meet any of these professors in the near future, so I want to be polite and leave a good impression for program B. (Is is better to appear to ponder about this program or to save their time and give them the chance to move onto their next waitlist student?)

1 Answer 1


You should decline offers only once you've accepted another written offer, ideally not until you've received some confirmation of your acceptance.

Until you've made a decision, there is nothing wrong with gathering any information that would help you make that decision. I would not recommend soliciting information that will not influence your decision in order to play any "game" with the system (e.g., to make yourself look good, make other people feel good because you considered them carefully, etc).

It's not clear to me you've made a decision yet, as you only describe yourself as "leaning".

Once you've made a decision and accepted an official, written offer, it would be most polite to decline all other offers to let those programs make decisions about offers to students they may have on a waitlist, etc.

  • Thank you! Your response is really helpful! Yes, I guess I'm still wanting to learn more about Program B but feel a bit guilty to ask questions because I'm currently leaning closer to Program A. I'd also like to ask if it's a good idea to bargain for additional funding from Program A mentioning that another school is offering more if I do make the decision to go there?
    – user163145
    Commented Mar 15, 2023 at 3:07
  • @HEEHEE academia.stackexchange.com/q/194047 might apply. I wouldn't feel guilty about asking questions while your mind isn't made up, though.
    – Bryan Krause
    Commented Mar 15, 2023 at 3:24

You must log in to answer this question.