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I just got an early email from a professor letting me informally know that I've been accepted for the PhD (CS) program at his school in the US. I only just applied to very few schools (actually just two), and this school (and prof) was my top choice. Should I just excitedly tell him that I accept his offer? Could anyone advise me regarding the proper protocol for responding to such an email. And what sort of a reply the prof might be expecting. For example, could I immediately ask about the research projects I would be likely to work on in the email? Would he be expecting that? Or should I just keep the content limited to the fact that I accept this offer and am excited to work with him. Are there any other key things that I should ask him. I live outside the US and am not sure about the exact protocols at the moment.

Thanks!

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I'm at an R1 and have been sending those happy informal e-mails to students ahead of the formal notification from the graduate school. And I've been corresponding with a few who have responded.

My expectations are that you should be thrilled but I also think you should hold your cards close to your vest, just in case. For example, maybe your 'B' school offers you a much better financial package. In that case, you can ask us if we can match. And even if you don't have a competing offer, you have leverage while you haven't made a decision.

You could also ask if there is a campus visit day for prospective students. We plan ours in mid-March and it's a good way to meet other grad students and your future advisor. You might be able to get some travel funding to attend.

If you're going to say no, you should say no as soon as possible, as you might open up a slot in the waiting list for another student. But if you're thinking about saying yes, then there is no disadvantage and considerable good reason to delay saying yes until near the deadline. Advisors not only know this - but if they are good advisors, would advise you to do this.

  • Thankyou so much for the reply RoboKaren! I have not heard from the second school as yet, not even for an interview, so I am not sure whether I hold any sort of leverage in that sense. I plan to say yes, but does that ever seem weird? To explicitly say yes? Also, can I ask him about the funding he has available for me? – abc123 Feb 14 '17 at 6:20
  • No need to say yes, just say that you're excited to learn more about the program and the professor's work. Say yes when you make the formal response to the program. – RoboKaren Feb 14 '17 at 8:30

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