April 15 deadline

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mrrsnhtl
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April 15 deadline

Postby mrrsnhtl » Thu Mar 22, 2012 4:48 am

If accepted offer from some school (which should be done until April 15), is it possible to decline it afterwards (say you were waitlisted and received a better offer after April 15) ?..It would be unethical of course, but would there be any other charges for it?

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midwestphysics
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Re: April 15 deadline

Postby midwestphysics » Thu Mar 22, 2012 6:39 am

mrrsnhtl wrote:If accepted offer from some school (which should be done until April 15), is it possible to decline it afterwards (say you were waitlisted and received a better offer after April 15) ?..It would be unethical of course, but would there be any other charges for it?


You essentially agreed to a contract with the school you've accepted the offer to, so you'd need them to release you from it. This can be done, schools don't want people who don't want to be there. Still you need them to release you from your agreement.

admissionprof
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Re: April 15 deadline

Postby admissionprof » Thu Mar 22, 2012 10:28 am

This is very rare. We've been asked once in the past decade. Since we don't want a student who doesn't want to be here, we agreed to let them out of their agreement. But some student who desperately wanted to get in was shut out by this. It is unethical, as you say. And many institutions don't forget when someone screws them over like that.

ccj1
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Re: April 15 deadline

Postby ccj1 » Thu Mar 22, 2012 11:23 am

I was accepted to four different programs and in each of the contracts it says there is no penalty if I accept before April 15 and then want to go somewhere else (just to paraphrase, but it is in my contracts). It says April 15 is the ultimate deadline and I can change my mind as many times as I want because I am not required to make my decision before then. I would read the contracts that they sent you or just contact the graduate coordinator wherever you are thinking about going.

CarlBrannen
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Re: April 15 deadline

Postby CarlBrannen » Thu Mar 22, 2012 6:09 pm

admissionprof wrote:This is very rare. We've been asked once in the past decade. Since we don't want a student who doesn't want to be here, we agreed to let them out of their agreement. But some student who desperately wanted to get in was shut out by this. It is unethical, as you say. And many institutions don't forget when someone screws them over like that.


One of my fellow grad students was admitted to U. Hawaii but without a guarantee of funding. So he accepted here with a nice scholarship. After April 15, Hawaii offered him funding but he felt it was too late. At the time he told me this, it was well below freezing. The wind was blowing and there was a few inches of dirty snow on the ground.

As far as it being unethical, well I've seen my share of misbehavior by grad students. And misbehavior by institutions. I don't think that cancelling an acceptance after April 15th would put one even in the first circle of Hell.* For example, a Fulbright scholar who didn't go to class. And then there are students who take a TA job while having another job on the side, etc.

As far as having an institution not forgetting being screwed over like this, just what are they going to do about it? For those students who will remain in academia (which is a minority I suppose), just how many choices are there for places to apply for a post doc? And will they even remember it at that institution when he gets his PhD 6 or 8 years from now? I doubt it.

It appears to me that even after a student accepts at a particular school, the school really doesn't know if they are going to show up in September. And when students do not show up, it's no big deal.

* I.e. virtuous pagans who were not sinful but were ignorant of Christ.

Rorschach
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Re: April 15 deadline

Postby Rorschach » Thu Mar 22, 2012 7:47 pm

Do what is best for you. You won't be condemned for backing out of a commitment if there is a good reason to do so.

admissionprof
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Re: April 15 deadline

Postby admissionprof » Thu Mar 22, 2012 8:43 pm

CarlBrannen wrote:
As far as having an institution not forgetting being screwed over like this, just what are they going to do about it? For those students who will remain in academia (which is a minority I suppose), just how many choices are there for places to apply for a post doc? And will they even remember it at that institution when he gets his PhD 6 or 8 years from now? I doubt it.

It appears to me that even after a student accepts at a particular school, the school really doesn't know if they are going to show up in September. And when students do not show up, it's no big deal.


Well, Carl, I certainly remember the student's name 7 years later, and they would be less likely to get a postdoc here because of that (AFAIK, they haven't applied). But generally you're right - nothing will happen. But I disagree that it is no big deal -- it isn't a big deal for the institution (other than messing up TA assignments), but is a VERY big deal to the student who was at the top of the waiting list.

The one exception that everyone would understand is related to the two-body problem. We had one of those situations a while ago, and they were upfront about it from the beginning, so there were no hard feelings.

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mrrsnhtl
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Re: April 15 deadline

Postby mrrsnhtl » Fri Mar 23, 2012 4:24 am

Thanks for the replies. I thought that there would be lots of students waitlisted overdating april 15, so this situations would occur more frequently..But, apparently most of the schools are done with their decisions until the deadline..(?)

astroprof
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Re: April 15 deadline

Postby astroprof » Fri Mar 23, 2012 8:21 am

While some schools will still admit students after April 15 if they have not yet
reached their optimal entering class size, most programs try to complete
the process by April 15. This means that lower ranked programs may be
contacting waitlisted students on April 14, and only giving them 1 day to
make their decision, if they suddenly discover that a higher percentage of
students are turning down their offer. This makes for a busy, crazy, couple
of days around April 15. Also, this means that if you have not heard from
a program by April 1, you should contact them to see if you are on the waitlist,
so that you can factor that into your decision making. At the same time,
if you know for certain that you will NOT be attending a program, you should
let them know as soon as possible (prior to April 15) so that they can make
additional offers (if needed - most schools make more offers than they expect
to be accepted, so there is not a one-to-one correlation between turn-downs and
admits off of the wait list). For students with more than 1 alternative, I recommend
that you narrow your list down to just two schools by April 1 (or the last visit
date, whichever is later) and let the other schools know promptly of your decision.
Then, with only two schools to decide between, you can carefully weigh your
options up until April 15 (although early replies in the affirmative are welcome too!).

In regards to the original question for this thread, you will need to get approval
from the school to break the original contract. There is no way to do this gracefully
and without consequences (at the very least, you may have prevented someone
else from attending this school), but there are better and worse ways to go about it.
On the 'better' side: let the school know that you are still uncertain about your
decision, as you are waitlisted elsewhere. The school may be willing to extend
the deadline (although you may lose out on 'signing bonuses') or understand that
you are provisionally accepting (by the deadline) and may back-out later. On the
'worse' side: telling the school 1 week before school starts in the fall that you
will not be attending.

asdfuogh
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Re: April 15 deadline

Postby asdfuogh » Fri Mar 23, 2012 9:34 am

Well, seriously though, they should just move the deadline back to May 15, and make April 15 the deadline for colleges to give out notices (acceptances, rejections, waitlists) because if a student backs out before summer even begins, it was probably due to the fault of the universities. :/ I can see why admissions offices might not like it, but it's a long commitment from us during a time when we're not exactly sure how our futures might turn out.

astroprof
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Re: April 15 deadline

Postby astroprof » Fri Mar 23, 2012 1:54 pm

There is nothing special about the choice of April 15 as a decision
day. Sure, schools could agree to change the date to May 15,
March 15, or even April 1. Regardless of the decision date, however,
there will still be admission decisions made shortly before the date
as schools try to match incoming class size with available research
and teaching positions. Both too small an entering class and too
large an entering class adversely effect the graduate program, so
schools use waitlists to adjust to unexpectedly low yields (there isn't
much you can do in real-time to correct for over enrollment, but
most programs use historical yields to determine how many acceptances
they send out in the first wave). So, while I agree that it is helpful
if all schools notify students about their status prior to April 15, I do
not think that changing the decision date would have any effect on
the process. Instead, you, the students, have the power to effect
the process the most: if every student responded to offers in a timely
and responsible manner, then schools would be able to make decisions
about students on the waitlist in a more timely manner. [Note: by
'timely and responsible' I mean that you should notify schools as soon
as you have made a decision (positive or negative) and that you should
attempt to narrow your choice down to only two schools as quickly as
possible.] In the end, we are trying to make certain that our entering
class = number of available funded positions (TA or RA), so the sooner
we hear from you, the sooner we can notify other students about their
status.

CarlBrannen
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Re: April 15 deadline

Postby CarlBrannen » Fri Mar 23, 2012 10:26 pm

I should add a note on why it is that some (perhaps most) schools seem to be able to put up with students not showing up for grad school. Some professors end up with students who they cannot support on a research assistantship, or at least, money can get very tight. Schools usually guarantee support (TA or RA, but the school guarantee is fulfilled with TA as the last resort) for 2 years. After the 2-year and 1-year students needing TAs have work, the remaining TA slots are filled with grad students in their 3+ years.

So when a grad student fails to show up in the fall, it's not that the rest of the TAs have to teach an extra lab section. Instead, some long-in-the-tooth grad student is very happy to pick up the cash, or a professor with grant issues is happy to move one of his students off of grant money.

The same thing applies when grad students quit between semesters. And this is also why a lot of schools can add a grad student who wants to start at other than the fall semester. Now that I think of it, neither of my MS degrees began in the fall and both were under full support.

pythy
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Re: April 15 deadline

Postby pythy » Sun Mar 25, 2012 1:15 am

So a concrete question for you ethicists and profs. Of the schools where I've been accepted, I have have a clear front runner. Good physics school (top 35 according to USN&WR) with a great overall national reputation ("public ivy"), good TA package, money to visit (haven't gone, yet, though), etc. In fact, if this was the only school I was accepted at I'd be very pleased, though one of my recommenders (my grad quantum prof) said he had hopes I'd get into a top five school and this ain't that. But I'm on the waiting list at four schools that are, according to USN&WR, ten to fifteen spots higher. I'm HET and hope to teach at the university level. (I know, if I'd said I was interested in experimental condensed matter I'd have been accepted at the other four schools already, but excuse me for following my dream.) The waiting list schools have been very candid about the fact that I might not hear till April, which based on the info in this thread probably means near April 15th. So what do I do? Do I commit to #35 now, and bag it if I get a better offer, or at least beg to be released from my commitment. Or do I make full disclosure and ask #35 to wait in case I get a better offer, in which case it may say no? I don't want to deprive someone on #35's waiting list if I get a better offer, but if I don't, #35 seems pretty sweet and I don't want to mess it up.

admissionprof
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Re: April 15 deadline

Postby admissionprof » Sun Mar 25, 2012 9:31 am

pythy wrote:So a concrete question for you ethicists and profs. Of the schools where I've been accepted, I have have a clear front runner. Good physics school (top 35 according to USN&WR) with a great overall national reputation ("public ivy"), good TA package, money to visit (haven't gone, yet, though), etc. In fact, if this was the only school I was accepted at I'd be very pleased, though one of my recommenders (my grad quantum prof) said he had hopes I'd get into a top five school and this ain't that. But I'm on the waiting list at four schools that are, according to USN&WR, ten to fifteen spots higher. I'm HET and hope to teach at the university level. (I know, if I'd said I was interested in experimental condensed matter I'd have been accepted at the other four schools already, but excuse me for following my dream.) The waiting list schools have been very candid about the fact that I might not hear till April, which based on the info in this thread probably means near April 15th. So what do I do? Do I commit to #35 now, and bag it if I get a better offer, or at least beg to be released from my commitment. Or do I make full disclosure and ask #35 to wait in case I get a better offer, in which case it may say no? I don't want to deprive someone on #35's waiting list if I get a better offer, but if I don't, #35 seems pretty sweet and I don't want to mess it up.


Full disclosure is best. Just tell them that you're on the waiting list at several other schools (you can even tell them which schools -- we're all adults and understand these things), and that you will tell them immediately when you hear. There are many logjams that break as soon as most visits are over (this year, probably first of April) - we seldom have more than a couple that decide on April 15th itself. If it's April 12 or 13, and you still haven't heard from somewhere, then contact that place by phone and find out your precise situation. Since the 15th is a Sunday, most admin committees will have arranged a precise order, so offers can go out immediately on the 15th if necessary. Then just keep in touch. At that point, you can even ask for the time of day the deadline applies....

But my guess is that it won't come to that. Not that many wait until the 15th....




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