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Introducing a New Expert Content Section: Careers!

Decline grad school for fellowship?

mae2493mae2493 Registered User Posts: 4 New Member
So, I have a bit of a dilemma on my hands.

I took a gap year after graduating from college, and I thought I was going to go straight to grad school after. I got accepted to multiple programs, and I already declined all of the programs except one (which I ALREADY accepted).

Here’s the problem: I also applied to a competitive, two-year fellowship with a government organization, and I made it to the interview stage! And now, I changed my mind about going to grad school and I’d like to get more experience on my hands. Unfortunately, we won’t know if we get the position by July. Point is: there might be a chance I might decline the school I accepted the intent to go if I get the fellowship. I know that grad schools allow deferment for only a year, but I’d like to have a backup plan just in case I don’t get the fellowship (which is go to grad school I accepted).

So let’s say if I do get the fellowship, should I just be honest with the school and tell them I want to do the fellowship? Or take a risk and decline the school and I hope I get the fellowship?

If I do the former, I just hope that this won’t hinder me from other schools considering my application the next time I apply to grad school. I’m applying right after the fellowship, and this time I INTEND to go back to school.

Any advice helps, thanks!

Replies to: Decline grad school for fellowship?

  • juilletjuillet Super Moderator Posts: 12,298 Super Moderator
    There's nothing inherently wrong with committing to attending the grad school and then backing out if you got the fellowship. It's not the greatest position for the program itself, but they can cope (that's what waitlists are for) and most programs will genuinely understand you backing out to take a competitive fellowship with a late notification deadline.

    So I wouldn't feel guilty for accepting the school's offer and indicating you intend to attend. Because, well, you do.

    If this is a master's program, I definitely wouldn't worry about it. If this is a doctoral program and you maybe want to come back to it later, then I'd be really careful with how you message it to the school - but you also need to live your life, and the competitive program is likely to only make you a more competitive candidate and better student in the future.

    Other schools won't really know that you did this so it won't hinder you there.
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