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I applied to two graduate schools (both for an MS). "University A" gave me an admissions decision already. Upon reading their admissions letter, I have to make a decision within one week (it's currently mid-June). Unfortunately, I still have not heard back from "University B". They will be making their decision by July 31st.

I'm not entirely sure what to do here. My preference would be to go to University B, but if I don't get in there, then obviously I'd like to go to University A.

Would it be wrong to accept the offer to University A, and then withdraw later? Or, would it reflect poorly on me if I asked for an extension to make a decision? I find it strange that University A wants a decision so quickly, seeing as how you can apply for admission for the fall quarter up through mid-August.

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    Probably useful: academia.stackexchange.com/questions/9985/… – mhwombat Jun 12 '14 at 17:38
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    I suggest contacting University B and letting them know your circumstances. If they have flexible policies and your are a particularly strong student, it may be the case that they make an earlier decision. However, many of the admission decisions are made at a committee level, so you may be in a position of having to make an immediate decision. I strongly advise against accepting admission at University A and then deciding not to attend if University B accepts you. If you choose to accept University A before a decision from University B, I think you should inform University B. – Brian P Jun 12 '14 at 18:54
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Would it be wrong to accept the offer to University A, and then withdraw later?

Ethically, I think this would be wrong unless you expressly told University A of your consideration when you make the decision. When you accept an admission offer you are taking up limited resources and potentially depriving someone else of admission to the university.

Or, would it reflect poorly on me if I asked for an extension to make a decision?

Not at all - just tell them that you are very interested in A but also have other possibilities and would like to make a fully informed decision. The worst thing that will happen is that A says "no".

I find it strange that University A wants a decision so quickly, seeing as how you can apply for admission for the fall quarter up through mid-August.

Presumably, University A has a limited number of slots that they can fill, and, if you say "no", they would like to extend the slot to someone else before decisions are made. I'm a bit surprised that these universities are making fall MS decisions in June - these decisions are typically done by mid-April.

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