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I met with a faculty member for a history MA program but have decided not to apply there. Simply put, there are better programs that I would be a better fit for and also it requires an expensive verification of my transcript which other universities don't require. However, I met with the graduate director and they were very helpful earlier this year. Do I need to do anything/is this a valid reason for not applying?

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    Interviews are a two way street. While the graduate director was very helpful, that help indicated to you that the program was not for you. That is still quite helpful, but you do not have to apply.
    – Jon Custer
    Dec 4, 2023 at 16:30
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    "Thank you for meeting," blah blah blah, "Unfortunately I have decided not to apply to XYZ University because I don't think it will be a good fit for me. Thank you again for your time! Sincerely, ohivegotswag"
    – A. R.
    Dec 5, 2023 at 21:33
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    Maybe explain this to them, so that they can improve their process and if they don't want to than you can apply to those other opportunities. This gives them a chance to change and it gives you an out without feeling bad. Dec 8, 2023 at 1:24

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You do not need to apply to a program just because someone is helpful any more than you need to enter into a marriage agreement with anyone who has smiled at you.

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    You don't? Anyone knows a good divorce lawyer?
    – DonQuiKong
    Dec 5, 2023 at 8:11
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It would be polite for you to send them an email thanking them for their help and letting them know that you will not be applying. There is nothing else you need to do. You may but do not need to explain your reasons.

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I think application fees are a perfectly good reason not to apply to a school. They can get outright predatory. If you have reason to believe that the fee is larger than typical, and is within the school or the program's control, it could even make sense to write to them and politely tell them that you're not applying for this reason. Maybe that will help nudge them towards reducing their fees someday.

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