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Retracting Acceptance Offer to Graduate School - Consequences?

  1. Apr 14, 2014 #1
    I applied to universities X and Y. University X got back to me quickly and I visited and was relatively pleased with my visit. Recently I accepted this offer at X University, since University Y said I was wait listed.

    University Y says that they will have a couple of positions open, and they will e-mail the 'wait-listers' to let them know, and the position will be given out on a first come first serve basis.

    I REALLY would like an opportunity to look at University Y, I believe the program is slightly better and there is more faculty. I'm not really set in my ways on research, but have a general idea, so the breath of University Y's department would help.

    I plan on accepting the offer at University Y (assuming it will be there, and I will be first come) and then shortly after arranging a visit. Assuming all goes well I would keep the offer at University Y and retract my confirmation of acceptance at University X. If the visit was awful, I would tell University Y I would not feel morally or personally good about this, but this is a huge decision, and as much as it would pain me to go against my commitment, it would pain me more to give up a more fruitful opportunity.

    Would I be reprimanded for this action? I didn't sign any papers or anything confirming my acceptance.. I only sent an e-mail.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 14, 2014 #2
    You wont be reprimanded aside from being inconsiderate. Acceptance of offers even through emails are supposed to be more than "feelers"
     
  4. Apr 14, 2014 #3

    Physics_UG

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    This is unavoidable, especially when some universities have such early decision deadlines.
     
  5. Apr 15, 2014 #4

    Vanadium 50

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    I don't know what Physics_UG is talking about. The deadline is April 15th for the vast majority of schools in the US (members of the Council of Graduate Schools) if support is involved.
     
  6. Apr 15, 2014 #5
    Agree.
     
  7. Apr 15, 2014 #6

    Physics_UG

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    that's right. I forgot it is april 15th today.
     
  8. Apr 15, 2014 #7

    Physics_UG

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    Not sure why the OP felt the need to accept his offer from university X so quickly then.

    Also, I have had universities accept me back in February and require a decision by early march. This kind of thing makes it difficult when the student has other admission decisions pending.
     
  9. Apr 15, 2014 #8
    Grad admissions policies are different than undegrad admissions policies. I would wait until you go through the complete process or risk making comments which ignore general facts such as the April 15th deadline of the council of grad schools.

    A school outside of the council of grad schools doesnt have to follow the April 15th deadline but everyone outside of the bottom schools is part of the council

    The council has 500+ members.

    https://www.cgsnet.org/institutional-members-us-and-canada [Broken]

    If the school is outside the list of top 150+ school. Realistically they are probably very flexible.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
  10. Apr 15, 2014 #9

    Physics_UG

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    Yes, my experience was for grad admissions. My username (physics_UG) tends to mislead people, but I am no longer an undergraduate. The school I applied to was top 100 so it might not be a part of the council.

    edit: The university I applied to is a part of the council, yet they wanted me to make a decision much earlier than April 15th.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
  11. Apr 15, 2014 #10

    Physics_UG

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    "In those instances in which a student accepts an offer before April 15, and subsequently desires to withdraw that acceptance, the student may submit in writing a resignation of the appointment at any time through April 15. However, an acceptance given or left in force after April 15 commits the student not to accept another offer without first obtaining a written release from the institution to which a commitment has been made. Similarly, an offer by an institution after April 15 is conditional on presentation by the student of the written release from any previously accepted offer. It is further agreed by the institutions and organizations subscribing to the above Resolution that a copy of this Resolution or a link to the URL should accompany every scholarship, fellowship, traineeship, and assistantship offer."

    https://www.cgsnet.org/april-15-resolution

    According to this, it is fine to turn down an offer you have previously accepted if before April 15th. After April 15th has passed you may not. Of course you cannot be penalized for this but it is considered inconsiderate.
     
  12. Apr 15, 2014 #11
    All universities want you to make a decision as soon as possible it simply doesnt mean much since you dont have to make a decision. Making a decision that you didnt even have to make and then backing out of it is the inconsiderate part.
     
  13. Apr 15, 2014 #12

    Physics_UG

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    We don't know the OP's specific circumstances. Perhaps he accepted school X's offer because they set a specific deadline far earlier than April 15th. There is nothing wrong with backing out if another school that is a better match for him makes an offer if it is by the end of April 15th.
     
  14. Apr 15, 2014 #13
    Sorry for the confusion. The problem is they are making the offer (possible offer) tomorrow, on the 16th. Not that I want to be inconsiderate, but if the school is a better match, then I would find it hard to turn down that offer.
     
  15. Apr 15, 2014 #14

    Physics_UG

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    Many grad programs impose a deadline much earlier than April 15th...and yes, they are members of the Council of Graduate Schools. It is perfectly fine to retract any offers to such schools if a better offer comes up before April 15th. The very organization you refer to specifically states this on their website.
     
  16. Apr 15, 2014 #15

    Physics_UG

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    If university Y makes an offer and you find it a better fit I think you should go for it. university X will get over it. Technically you are not supposed to retract an offer after the 15th but it is partly their fault for making their final decision after the 15th.
     
  17. Apr 15, 2014 #16
    I just wasn't sure if there were any legal ramifications or if any thing PHYSICALLY prevents me from doing this. I know that the applications for these institutions are all linked from a common provider/site/host (not sure what you would call it).
     
  18. Apr 15, 2014 #17
    University Y's deadline was the same as X's.....

    I guess they extended it to people on the waitlist?
     
  19. Apr 15, 2014 #18

    Physics_UG

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    There are definitely no legal ramifications. I wouldn't worry about it.
     
  20. Apr 15, 2014 #19
    Do what's best for you. I did a similar thing when I was trying to decide where to go.
     
  21. Apr 15, 2014 #20

    Physics_UG

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    Actually, over half of the graduate schools I applied to (and that are members of the grad school council) had decision deadlines months before April 15th. They didn't simply encourage you to make a decision but had a specific deadline. Are these schools all breaking the rules?
     
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