First off, I messed up big time here. I'm applying for a Fulbright academic fellowship after having finished my undergrad last year.

This spring, I figured I would email some potential advisors and get a head start on my application. I found one that was a good match with my previous work, and she agreed that she could host me as long as I got the scholarship in the end. (edit to be clear: the start date was clearly stated in our initial correspondence, contingent on me getting the scholarship)

But this coincided with a move to Europe (I was there for 6 months on a research scholarship) - I know this is no excuse, but just to explain the circumstances better - and I forgot to reply to her.

I sent her an email now apologizing profusely, expressing my understanding that she might not want to host me any longer, and explaining the circumstances to her (i.e. if she was still willing to discuss this further). I wanted to let her know that I wasn't shopping around for other opportunities, and am only emailing her back after so long because I couldn't find anything; on the contrary, our research interests align well (it's not a huge country and this is just about the only research group that works in my field anyway).

I'm operating under the assumption that she's going to say no, but lesson learned for next time. I'm just wondering how big of an offense I committed here?

closed as off-topic by Davidmh, yo', scaaahu, Wrzlprmft, gman Sep 1 '15 at 10:21

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  • 5
    I suspect there is no general answer here. How big of an offense this is probably depends more on the professor's personality and the specifics of the arrangements she had in mind for you than anything else. – ff524 Aug 25 '15 at 23:18
  • If she had been in any doubt, I'm sure she would have emailed you. She is probably planning to see how things go, and see whether you do anything else flaky. So just make sure you don't, and you should be fine. – aparente001 Aug 26 '15 at 11:18

I have a friend who did something similar. She didn't realize she had a job offer on her voice mail for several months. In this case, the job opening still existed and she still qualified, so they hired her anyways. I don't think there's any reason why this has to be any different.

On the other hand, she could quite possibly have moved on to other things or hosted someone else in your absence, in which case it might just be unfeasible for her to pick you up after all this time.

And there are many people who would refuse you just on the principal that you made a mistake. I've certainly met plenty of them.

At the end of the day, you've probably done all you can to rectify the situation. If she denies you, just move on with life. If she doesn't, buy her some cookies and be happy. :)

  • 1
    +1 Some are generally tolerant of human error, others aren't (either because they do not trust, or because they are super-reliable themselves). Hope and see. No regrets - you did what you could. – Captain Emacs Feb 13 '16 at 12:09

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