I hold three offers from top-tier universities in the UK for a PhD in the humanities, with three great supervisors. However, one of the three has already let me know that the department has not nominated me for internal funding, which makes me quite pessimistic for the other two as well.
So, should I fail to get any funding from any of the three (and facing therefore the haunting perspective of a self-funded PhD), would it be a good idea to take a year off, work on my CV and skills, and then reapply to the same three uni's next year?
In no way would it be a 'wasted' year, since I will likely publish 2-3 papers (already working on two), I'll finish my Master's (I have yet to graduate), improve two foreign languages other than English, better refine my writing samples and researhc proposal and so on - so that I hope my profile will get more competitive for funding next year.
What I wonder is if this is frowned upon. I mean, if the admissions committee knew that I was admitted and then declined my unfunded offer, would this go against my chances of readmission (and funding)? Would the greater academic strength of my improved profile offset this possible act of academic 'unkindness'?
And how usual is it to turn down an unfunded offer hoping for funding in the following admission cycle?
(possible duplicate, as there are some similar questions, but the core of mine is the funding issue and how frowned upon is it to decline and reapply because of this)
P.S.: I am an EU national, so also consider Brexit and its possible consequences on funding awarding to non-UK applicants.