This is my cousin's problem. In the first week of March he was offered a PhD offer (Upper Middle ranked School in USA) in Physics and he received his I-20 to get the visa.The admit was fully funded. He accepted the offer because he didn't have any offer at that time. But few days ago, a top ranked school admin said to him that, he might be admitted as a lot of students haven't accepted their offer (it is not guaranteed though plus admission is completed ).

He was always expecting to get admitted in that school. The deadline of the offer letter from first school is 15th April (He accepted the offer already).

Will it be possible to decline the first offer later/admission if he gets the offer after around two weeks from the top ranked school? I want to know the consequences of this situation.

EDIT:

I have received another suggestion from academia. He suggested to defer the admission (if he gets from the second university) from the Top ranked school. After a semester completed in the first admitted University, If my cousin feels that he should change the department, he will be able to do it. How reasonable is this?

  • 4
    So he's thinking about declining a fully-funded offer from an OK school in order to potentially be offered a maybe-not funded offer from a top school? After a deadline the school he has already agreed to go to has for accepting an offer? Does this seem like an honest, acceptable thing to do? Academia is not that big a field, if he were to do this it would be remembered, and it wouldn't be a good start at the top school either. – Sergio Gucci Apr 14 '16 at 22:16
  • 1
    If the top school gives him the offer it will be fully funded. He asked me my recommendation and I told him that it would be very unethical to do. His reply was that, a good choice for a long term would be great for his research carrier. Will the previous school accept his apology? – Rockey Apr 14 '16 at 22:23
  • I'm not sure, that would be dependent on how upset they are when one of their fully-funded students suddenly leaves. I think they'd accept his request and "accept" his apology, because nobody wants a student who doesn't want to actually be there, but I imagine bridges will be burned no matter what. – Sergio Gucci Apr 14 '16 at 23:55
  • Did your cousin already get his student F-1 visa using the I-20 he got from the first school? – scaaahu Apr 15 '16 at 6:23
  • I think he can do that (is it ethical? good move? etc., I can not comment on that). The old will have to revoke his I-20. The new school has to issue him a new one (I do not think you can transfer I-20s between schools). – The Guy Apr 15 '16 at 12:19

Assuming both schools are members of the Council of Graduate Schools, they have an agreement about cases like this. If you don't change your mind and reject the offer from the first school by April 15, you have to get a letter from the first school releasing you from your obligation to attend before accepting the second school. Otherwise, the second school will be unable to take you.

In the one case I know about, there wasn't any problem in obtaining this letter. However, I can't promise that all graduate schools will be as reasonable.

If your cousin gets an offer from the second school before April 15, he should contact the admissions officers at the first school by April 15 (today!) and tell them he is rescinding his acceptance and why.

If he gets an offer after April 15, he needs to make sure the first school is okay with him not coming and get a letter from them before he accepts the second school.

  • I have received another suggestion from academia. He suggested to defer the admission (if he gets from the second university) from the Top ranked school. After a semester completed in the first admitted University, If my cousin feels that he should change the department, he will be able to do it. How reasonable is this? – Rockey Apr 15 '16 at 19:00
  • That's a reasonable alternative. – Peter Shor Apr 15 '16 at 19:09
  • But will the first university let my cousin go to the second university? – Rockey Apr 15 '16 at 19:21
  • They very likely will, but he has to ask the first university to release him formally. If he doesn't, and the second university finds out about it in September, there could be real trouble because they would be legally unable to pay him his stipend. – Peter Shor May 8 '16 at 16:30

Is it ethical? Possibly not. But does it matter? Probably not. If the 'top school' is actually a 'top school', don't shed a tear - they have more than enough money and a long enough waiting list that losing your cousin won't bring them financial hardship. The scholarship will go to someone else in that case. No one will care in 6 weeks, except your cousin, who will be happy having made the choice best for him. I've never seen an academic department that couldn't find surfs....sorry, employees.

Your Answer

By clicking "Post Your Answer", you acknowledge that you have read our updated terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy, and that your continued use of the website is subject to these policies.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.