Declining before or after an acceptance

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bfollinprm
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Declining before or after an acceptance

Postby bfollinprm » Fri Mar 04, 2011 3:09 pm

This is just academic at this point, but I was wondering if there was a difference in how the affected university responds between me declining admission before an offer is made and declining after receiving an offer.

For instance, I could imagine that university X says "Well, we're going to accept 50 because we want 25 to say yes." But before they decide on that 50 I withdraw my application. As a result they don't choose me as one of the 50, essentially moving someone who would have been waitlisted to the accepted category.

Or I decide afterwards. Then they say "Ok, well, that's 1 of 25 we anticipated, so oh well." No one else is accepted.
Seems odd that when I decline a school matters in how a department responds.

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HappyQuark
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Re: Declining before or after an acceptance

Postby HappyQuark » Fri Mar 04, 2011 3:16 pm

bfollinprm wrote:This is just academic at this point, but I was wondering if there was a difference in how the affected university responds between me declining admission before an offer is made and declining after receiving an offer.

For instance, I could imagine that university X says "Well, we're going to accept 50 because we want 25 to say yes." But before they decide on that 50 I withdraw my application. As a result they don't choose me as one of the 50, essentially moving someone who would have been waitlisted to the accepted category.

Or I decide afterwards. Then they say "Ok, well, that's 1 of 25 we anticipated, so oh well." No one else is accepted.
Seems odd that when I decline a school matters in how a department responds.


I'd imagine it doesn't make a difference either way. If you remove your application before acceptances go out and you were in the acceptance pile with 24 other acceptances, I'd assume they would remove your acceptance and then offer out 24 acceptances and the same number of waitlists and rejections. Based on the 24 acceptances reactions, then they will move forward with the waitlisted and at that point it would have been no different than if you had pulled your app after you received an acceptance.

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midwestphysics
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Re: Declining before or after an acceptance

Postby midwestphysics » Fri Mar 04, 2011 3:18 pm

I think in either case the time when you remove yourself from the process doesn't matter. While I think your numbers are way out of proportion, they can still be used to make the point. Most schools receive applications equaling to several times the amount they can admit. Now if they narrow the numbers to what you suggested, let's say they receive 100 apps, select 50 possible, and want 25. If someone in the first 50 drops out of the race they don't move someone from 51 to 50, because they already have a pool of prospects larger than they need or want. Those in the last 50 are already out of the race regardless of what the first 50 do.

Edit: as for the first 25 they want, the waitlist might move and it might not. It depends on whether the school "admitted" more than 25 expecting drops, or if they waitlisted everyone beyond 25 they might consider. With funding problems theses days it could be the second case.

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twistor
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Re: Declining before or after an acceptance

Postby twistor » Fri Mar 04, 2011 3:35 pm

You paid to put in an application so you might as well let them evaluate it.

bfollinprm
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Re: Declining before or after an acceptance

Postby bfollinprm » Fri Mar 04, 2011 3:39 pm

midwestphysics wrote:Edit: as for the first 25 they want, the waitlist might move and it might not. It depends on whether the school "admitted" more than 25 expecting drops, or if they waitlisted everyone beyond 25 they might consider. With funding problems theses days it could be the second case.


That's basically what I'm getting at.

If I never applied, it would be fairly obvious I'd never come into consideration for the accepted 50 (they'd just pick 50/99 instead 50/100). If my application was removed (because I withdrew) before they made any admission decisions, wouldn't they treat it the same way? What if I made my withdraw after the first round, but before they decide between their marginal applicants (the last 30, say, of the 50)? Does that depend on whether I was part of their first round of offers (and thus declined) or part of the second round (and thus withdrew)?
Last edited by bfollinprm on Fri Mar 04, 2011 3:51 pm, edited 2 times in total.

bfollinprm
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Re: Declining before or after an acceptance

Postby bfollinprm » Fri Mar 04, 2011 3:40 pm

twistor wrote:You paid to put in an application so you might as well let them evaluate it.


Sure, unless (hypothetically) I could help someone on the waitlist more by withdrawing before they made their evaluations. If I don't want to go, having them evaluate the application poses no benefit to me.

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midwestphysics
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Re: Declining before or after an acceptance

Postby midwestphysics » Fri Mar 04, 2011 4:17 pm

bfollinprm wrote:
midwestphysics wrote:Edit: as for the first 25 they want, the waitlist might move and it might not. It depends on whether the school "admitted" more than 25 expecting drops, or if they waitlisted everyone beyond 25 they might consider. With funding problems theses days it could be the second case.


That's basically what I'm getting at.

If I never applied, it would be fairly obvious I'd never come into consideration for the accepted 50 (they'd just pick 50/99 instead 50/100). If my application was removed (because I withdrew) before they made any admission decisions, wouldn't they treat it the same way? What if I made my withdraw after the first round, but before they decide between their marginal applicants (the last 30, say, of the 50)? Does that depend on whether I was part of their first round of offers (and thus declined) or part of the second round (and thus withdrew)?


My guess would be that they have already offered a few more spots that they want, so it would take several applicants declining before they moved to new acceptances. I also think they anticipate several drops, so it would have to be an unexpected number of withdrawals. In any case however, being more than a few spot above the max number is as good as being rejected. Sure they have narrowed to 50 to provide a blanket to the department, but it your above 30-35 and they want 25 your chances are very slim. Of course that all depends on the level of school and percent of people who usually decline. Lower level schools still anticipate drops, an may expect a higher number of drops, but can't offer too many spots in case they get caught. So for schools that rank lower, your withdrawal would probably mean more.

bfollinprm
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Re: Declining before or after an acceptance

Postby bfollinprm » Fri Mar 04, 2011 4:32 pm

midwestphysics wrote:My guess would be that they have already offered a few more spots that they want, so it would take several applicants declining before they moved to new acceptances. I also think they anticipate several drops, so it would have to be an unexpected number of withdrawals. In any case however, being more than a few spot above the max number is as good as being rejected. Sure they have narrowed to 50 to provide a blanket to the department, but it your above 30-35 and they want 25 your chances are very slim. Of course that all depends on the level of school and percent of people who usually decline. Lower level schools still anticipate drops, an may expect a higher number of drops, but can't offer too many spots in case they get caught. So for schools that rank lower, your withdrawal would probably mean more.


I don't think that's how things work in physics (they do work this way in places like med school). In physics, like your undergrad institution, they expect a significant percentage to reject their offers, so they accept way more than they intend to admit (at least they have in the past). My question concerns total initial acceptances, not admissions.

EDIT: Let me explain the scenario again, because I see we're confused. Say there are 100 applicants, they want 25, and they accept 50 (expecting 25 to decline).

axiomofchoice
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Re: Declining before or after an acceptance

Postby axiomofchoice » Fri Mar 04, 2011 4:47 pm

I think schools should offer incentive for people to withdraw their application after they hear from their first choices. 25% refund of the application fee sounds good to me. 8)

vesperlynd
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Re: Declining before or after an acceptance

Postby vesperlynd » Fri Mar 04, 2011 5:08 pm

axiomofchoice wrote:I think schools should offer incentive for people to withdraw their application after they hear from their first choices. 25% refund of the application fee sounds good to me. 8)
I agree.

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midwestphysics
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Re: Declining before or after an acceptance

Postby midwestphysics » Fri Mar 04, 2011 6:07 pm

bfollinprm wrote:I don't think that's how things work in physics (they do work this way in places like med school). In physics, like your undergrad institution, they expect a significant percentage to reject their offers, so they accept way more than they intend to admit (at least they have in the past). My question concerns total initial acceptances, not admissions.

EDIT: Let me explain the scenario again, because I see we're confused. Say there are 100 applicants, they want 25, and they accept 50 (expecting 25 to decline).


Okay, for one it depends on the school, I doubt Pton will admit double because most people don't turn down Pton, small state u might however admit twice as many so it depends on the school. That being said at a place were they admit double what they expect, your withdrawal won't change things very much, because they're already way over because they have admitted too many as they expect people to decline. At a top 10 school, things might be different, they might call someone else's name, and they might say we're happy where we stand and not. So I don't think your withdrawal at any stage will effect things that much differently than at another stage.

admissionprof
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Re: Declining before or after an acceptance

Postby admissionprof » Fri Mar 04, 2011 6:58 pm

bfollinprm wrote:I don't think that's how things work in physics (they do work this way in places like med school). In physics, like your undergrad institution, they expect a significant percentage to reject their offers, so they accept way more than they intend to admit (at least they have in the past). My question concerns total initial acceptances, not admissions.

EDIT: Let me explain the scenario again, because I see we're confused. Say there are 100 applicants, they want 25, and they accept 50 (expecting 25 to decline).



OK, here's how it works at many places that are not in the top 20. We admit roughly twice as many as we have spots, knowing that acceptance rates are usually around 40%, so there's some room. Recall that there a near-infinite number of highly qualified Chinese students who won't visit (and thus can be admitted a little later), so being a little low isn't a problem. Some admissions people make a list with their estimate of the probability that each student accepts (this will depend on the student's interests, their fit, and whether one thinks they are likely to get into a top 10-20). These numbers are added to get a rough expectation value. When someone declines (accepts) that probability goes to 0 (100). As time goes on, and the student weekend or other communications provide more information, the probabilities change. If they get too low, then some on the waiting list can be added. So one student declining won't usually make the difference by itself (unless we thought they were very likely to accept). And it really doesn't matter whether the student declines before or after the acceptance.

That's why it really helps for an admission person to be told "I've just gotten into MIT, and I'm likely to go there, but want to wait to see it first", or "I'm almost certainly going to accept, but want to check out Southern North Dakota first". That moves the probability to either 10 or 90 (or something like that), which is good enough for practical purposes.

bfollinprm
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Re: Declining before or after an acceptance

Postby bfollinprm » Fri Mar 04, 2011 7:55 pm

That's good to hear, and makes a lot of sense. So my statements of "its looking very likely I will be unable to attend" are looked at as essentially declines?

admissionprof
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Re: Declining before or after an acceptance

Postby admissionprof » Fri Mar 04, 2011 8:02 pm

bfollinprm wrote:That's good to hear, and makes a lot of sense. So my statements of "its looking very likely I will be unable to attend" are looked at as essentially declines?


Yes, unless you were familiar with the place before (such as having done an REU there).




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