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Asking for an REU Position Early

by Newtime
Tags: early, position
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Jan11-11, 04:58 PM
P: 348
I have a formal offer to which I must reply in a few weeks and in informal offer to which I must reply in a reasonable amount of time. However, I think a different program (REU) might be a better fit given by background and current interests. The problem is that this program won't let me know whether or not I'm accepted until early April - late even for REU's. So my question is: is it in poor taste to ask for early consideration of an application? My main concern is that this might come across as arrogant.
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Jan11-11, 06:00 PM
P: 1,088
I don't think it would come across as arrogant at all. If you explain your situation and the reasons why you're asking for early consideration, then surely they'll see the position you're in and see that you really do need to make a decision quickly. Plus, it gives them some valuable info on why some applicants may have withdrawn their applications in the past, and perhaps even prompts them to consider making quicker decisions on who to accept for the REU if they are to attract all of the best students.

Also, what option but to ask them do you have anyway? If you just withdraw without saying anything, you only lose out, whereas if you ask for early consideration, you at least get a chance to perhaps get to know the decision fast enough. You could also hedge all of your bets on getting accepted, but I'm not sure how sensible that is, as I don't know the decision making process as far as REU's are concerned or what your "stats" are. I say just go for it, and don't overthink and preempt their responses.
Jan11-11, 06:25 PM
P: 18
I did that myself. The worst you would get a reply on the line of "we cannot consider anyone earlier". I got that one, as well as one very nice reply that tells me that I'm a strong candidate (followed by an official offer few days later). It certainly doesn't hurt to ask. (although I did feel bad about turning down that offer eventually because they are so nice about it).

Jan11-11, 07:02 PM
P: 348
Asking for an REU Position Early

Thanks for the replies. I went ahead and did it. Like you said; worst case scenario is "no, you can't."

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