I've been accepted by the PhD program at my safety school (where I am completing my undergrad), and have been declined admission at my reach schools. While my safety school's offer is solid, I would prefer to attend a better school in a different city. I am still completing research for my undergrad thesis, which is taking longer than expected, and would retake the PGRE in the fall. Both of these would enhance my application, so I think I would have a much better shot next year. The way I see, it the options are as follows: -Ask to complete a Masters program at safety school instead of PhD . The reason I didn't apply to the Masters program in the first place is because I heard from a prof that some schools just trash those apps.(Drawback: graduate committee might get seriously pissed) -Get a job and reapply next year (Drawbacks: No current job offer, Unsure what happens to LOR's) -Accept safety school offer; the deadline hasn't passed yet. (Drawbacks:4-5 years of boredom with current location.) I would appreciate your opinion on how suicidal the first two options are.