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I have received an oral offer from University A, but a few days later I got the interview invitation from University B and I attended it. I am still waiting for the interview result which could come up until next week or the week after next. Now University A asked me whether I will accept the offer, so they can start the administration application. I would like to request a longer decision time or defer this offer so that I can wait for the decision from University B. How do I write this email? Can I just tell University A the truth that I'm applying for an another position?

The position in University B suits my career plan much better than A, and pays much more. This is why I really want to do something for this position. Can you please advise me on how to write this email?

Edit: I am applying for funded PhD position in Europe. The first offer from University A came in 2nd May. I decided to accept this offer (and I thought a "yes" during the interview means an acceptation of the offer) and started to apply for a necessary certificate which is required to study in the specific country. The interview invitation of University B came in 11th May. I interviewed in 17th May and the interviewer told me they will inform me of the result 3 to 4 weeks after (which is around the first half of June). These days I confirmed some details with University A and keep in touch with University B. 31st May I received an email from University A, asking whether I will accept the offer.

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    What kind of position is this? May 31, 2023 at 15:13
  • For a good answer, you should provide more details, minimally the nature of the position, how long you've been in the process with university a, and how long you've been holding an offer. Jun 1, 2023 at 0:20
  • @ScottSeidman OK, I edited my post with specific timeline.
    – xuehua an
    Jun 1, 2023 at 1:18

1 Answer 1

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"Dear University A,

Thank you for the offer. I am very excited about this opportunity but I am waiting to hear back about another position. I will be able to let you know my final decision by [insert date here].

Thanks and best wishes,

xuehua an"

It's as simple as that. There is no need to lie or obscure the truth. This is a perfectly fine and acceptable thing to do. All universities know that applicants are applying to multiple places and potentially juggling many offers.

It's probably a good idea to contact University B as well and let them know you have another offer in hand which you need to reply to soon. This could speed up their decision making.

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    Depending, of course, on whether a written offer from A has ever shown up. If not, well, it isn't really an offer.
    – Jon Custer
    May 31, 2023 at 13:17
  • Thank you for your help! I thought I had to explain my current situation to University A, but now it seems unnecessary. However, would it jeopardies my offer (if I could get the offer) from University B if I write the email? Would it seems too rash and impatient?
    – xuehua an
    May 31, 2023 at 14:41
  • @JonCuster University A only offered me an oral offer during the interview, I haven't sign anything or upload any documents. So this is not an offer, literally, and even I reject this offer, it won't affect my credibility, right? When I interviewed with University A, the interviewer said she would close the position post, and I thought this was our final decision. This really brought me heavy psychological pressure when I found that I want to choose the other position.
    – xuehua an
    May 31, 2023 at 14:51
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    @xuehuaan Some universities are only able to make one offer per hiring cycle, and they completely understand that their offer may not be accepted. You are doing something very normal, and you won't be doing anything wrong if you end up going with University B.
    – isaacg
    May 31, 2023 at 21:24
  • @xuehuaan if the interviewer at A is at all competent, they will have a 2nd/3rd/4th etc choice who they will make an offer to if you say no. It's not your job to worry about what they will do if you decline; it's your job to accept whichever offer is best for you. Jun 1, 2023 at 13:18

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