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Accepting early -- Coercion???

Posted: Thu Feb 08, 2007 1:17 pm
by monomer
I had a phone call with a graduate school today. They said the physics department will admit me, but there's an issue of funding because of my interests. (I'm want to do biophysics with a faculty unaffiliated with the physics department.) Basically they said they can find funding for me if I can give them a commitment very soon, even though this is before I've received all other offers.

Does this sound normal? I'd be happy to go to there but I'd like to at least wait until I have other some decisions in. On the other hand, I don't want to compromise a chance of getting good funding. It kinda feels like they're putting the screws to me.... Any advice on what I should do?


Posted: Thu Feb 08, 2007 1:51 pm
by senatez
yea, I am not sure what I would due. You can always just try and buy some time. I am getting the impression from people that most decisions are made by the end of Feb and the last people in are admitted in March. But I dont really know what I am talking about.

Posted: Thu Feb 08, 2007 2:24 pm
by monomer
Yeah, I told the guy that I can give them an answer when they need one, but I want to wait as long as possible until that happens. Hopefully this will buy me enough time until other schools can get back to me....

Posted: Thu Feb 08, 2007 6:15 pm
by shirazu
This sounds like a really weak and underhanded tactic to try and get you to commit early to their school when they think you might be more likely to go somewhere else. I think they are required by law (the people they get the funding from) to hold your offer until April 15. If they can't understand the idea that you would like to at least talk to the departments of all the places you applied before you make a huge decision, then maybe you might want to reconsider working with them for 6 years of your life.

Posted: Thu Feb 08, 2007 7:03 pm
by braindrain
I would push them for an official admission offer in writing BEFORE you commit. They haven't actually made an offer for you to commit to so why should you commit. If it were me, I would tell them, I am very interested in their program, but I cannot consider it until an official admission offer is made. That's even before a funding discussion takes place. Then I would tell them I need some time to think about the admission offer. Because worse case scenario is if you really think you are committing even though nothing was ever in writing or official and they can't find funding - where does that leave you?

Another option you have which is more underhanded on your part is to commit and then pull out yourself if you want to. It's the 'underhandedness begets underhandedness' approach. That won't eliminate other offers but make these people come forward with money. Then if you back out you can use their lack of putting an official offer in writing against them. It's not really a commitment because you never had a real offer. You are just giving them the go ahead to get funding. I don't think its a big deal if they allocated money for something and then you said no. The money as long as it wasn't physically transferred across departmental lines will go right back to where it came from.

Unfortunately, we are not in a position to do much negotiation when lots of people can fill our spots. Unless we are the people they absolutely have to have if we don't play their way, they'll just replace us easily. Doesn't it all come
back to the law of supply and demand or something?