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Author Topic: Bad Etiquette to Accept Waitlist Option But Later Decline Acceptance Offer?  (Read 820 times)

RCrews

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There are two schools that I am very interested in attending, one I was accepted to and the other I was waitlisted. The waitlisted school is ranked in the 30s while the other (accepted school), in a different state, is ranked in the low 70s.

My question is, would it be considered bad "etiquette" to send in the "put me on the waitlist" form if I am not 100% sure I would accept if accepted?

As I mentioned, I really like both schools. The one I was accepted to is local and I am familiar with it. The other (waitlisted school) I have not visited yet, but it has a strong program in an area of law I am interested in and is ranked more highly.

Also, I got to thinking...if I went to the school I am curently accepted to and later found I was not happy and wanted to transfer to this other school, would my chances be better if I was actually accepted now? I ask in part bkz I have seen some transfer forms that ask: "Have you ever applied here before. If 'YES', what was the outcome?" (some even state that if previously rejected there must be new, substantially improved achievments/material).

If I DID send in my Waitlist Form, and was accepted, and then accepted their offer while I briefly investigated the school--but later politely declined the offer (in favor of my more local school) ...would my chances be better down the road in the transfer process (for having been accepted the year earlier) or would I have burned a bridge?

Thank you very much for your help!

Pugnacious

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It might not be the best etiquette but people do it all the time. Think about it this way: you could hypothetically be on 2 waitlists (lets say School A and School B), and get off one of them (A), accept the offer to go there, and then get in off the other waitlist (B) and decide to go there instead. You'd then have to tell the school A that you aren't coming after all. It happens all the time, and it sucks, but then again so does being waitlisted.

Hope that made sense. I realize it's not the same situation but I am just trying to say that this is not uncommon.
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Pugnacious

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Just re-read your post. I think if you plan on transferring that may get tricky. They might wonder why you got in but chose not to go there. IMO it might be burning bridges.

Dare I ask: if you are already contemplating transferring, then why not just accept if you make it off the WL? Wouldn't it be easier to transfer down to your local school?
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slacker

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Does the waitlist option say that you must accept if you get the opportunity? If so, it would be bad form. If not, then go with both.

As far as the transfer, I'm not sure that being waitlisted gives you any sort of an advantage or any sort of a detriment. I do know that you can't count on transferring. After all, that's something that needs to be backed up with grades, generally, and you probably have a 90% or more of people who expect to be in the top 10-20%.

puncherofdonkeys

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I agree with Slacker; I don't think you getting accepted to your 'backup plan/transfer' school will hurt or help.  Though I'm guessing it would be the latter.

Let's be honest, they've been through approximately one trillion applications (give or take a few billion) and unless your response includes references to the dean's mother and is written in crayon, they probably won't remember you specifically.

If for some non-crayon reason they do; you can always spin/explain your original thought-process when answering the 'have you applied here before' question.  You wanted to stay local, but now believe Other School's program best fits your needs.  Of course you could just kick ass your first year at the higher-ranked, local school and leave the other one very little reason not to accept you as a transfer.

I'd apply for the waitlist; maybe if that school sees you're accepted to a higher ranked one, you can use that to your benefit.  These schools know the game and unless the WL school's overly sensitive, you'd have to do something extreme to burn that bridge.
Good luck.