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REU Acceptance Dilemma

  1. Mar 12, 2010 #1
    To my great dismay, I have been accepted to only REU programs at poor schools while having not heard from their betters. The nature of these acceptances is such that they require a definite answer almost immediately.

    I am considering accepting these poor schools; but to jump ship if better schools accept me. What moral and legal hazards would accompany this decision?
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 12, 2010 #2
    Don't do it. Just tell them you need more time, then e-mail/call the other programs that you have not heard back from. Ask them for as much information as they have, such as if you are still in consideration, etc.
  4. Mar 12, 2010 #3


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    First off, why are you judging the project by the school? The nature of the project you're involved in, the people you work with, and the skills that you learn are far more important and the prestige of a school ranking.

    But let's say that by "better school" you mean, what you feel is the better REU project. I don't think you'd run into any legal trouble if you accept a position and then jump on something better that comes along, but this kind of thing burns bridges. I like Winterwind's advice.
  5. Mar 13, 2010 #4


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    Don't judge the REU program by the school alone. Some top schools don't have good programs in everything, and some smaller schools or lower-ranked schools actually have excellent programs. My university is part of a large REU program, but not one that most people would rank highly just by name. But all of our REU students presented posters at the AAS meeting this January, and all of them published in our undergraduate journal. A few I've talked to got into very good grad programs as a result of doing that REU.
  6. Mar 14, 2010 #5
    for undergrads, letters of rec that actually mean something/say something really positive about you are far superior compared to fairly generic letters that come from the super big names/department chairs (does that even matter?)/whatever.
    and when you start looking at graduate schools, it almost becomes more like applying to specific profs.
    my understanding is that in germany, you literally apply just the prof.

    if you're a grad student or a post doc, that name matters a lot more though.... although at that point, you're probably working a lot more with the prof.
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