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How much time do you have after acceptances to accept offer?

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How much time do you have after acceptances to accept offer? [#permalink] New post 04 Jul 2011, 19:46
Hi all,

I haven't started my applications yet, but I've just been looking at the R1 deadlines for a bunch of my target schools and trying to figure out how to 'strategically apply' given the varying deadlines for each school.

My questions are:

1) How long does it usually take schools to get back to you regarding a decision? Is it "x" # of weeks after the deadline date for a particular round, or after you send in an application?

2) How much time do you usually get, after receiving an acceptance offer from a particular school, to decide on whether or not to accept it? i.e. does your offer get terminated if you don't respond by a certain time period?

3) If you're placed on a waitlist, how long could you theoretically be on that waitlist for, before hearing back with either a "Ding" or "Accept"?

Here's my main concern: My top target schools all have R1 deadlines of around Mid-late October to Early November. However, my backup school has an earlier semester start-date (March) than the other schools (September), and as a result, its R1 deadline is Early-October, R2 deadline is Late-November, and R3 deadline is Early-January. The dilemma is that I want to provide sufficient time after my R1 applications and admits/rejects to my target schools, to decide if I need to apply to my backup school. Should I apply to my backup school at the same time as my target schools? My main fear is that my backup school will offer me acceptance but only a short "decision period" before I even hear back re: the decisions from my target schools.

Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks all!
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Re: How much time do you have after acceptances to accept offer? [#permalink] New post 04 Jul 2011, 22:09
Hey kdub09,

The application process is filled with uncertainties and a lot more is unknown than what's known. It is also common that applicants work on their R2 applications without knowing the results of R1.

Here are few scenarios:
1. Your R1 schools' notification deadlines are on January 10th-15th and all R2 applications deadlines are at the beginning of January. You'll still have to work on R2 applications and submit them, regardless of the outcome of your R1 applications.
2. Your R1 school notification deadline is on mid December, this would theoretically allow applicants to decide whether to continue applying to other schools in R2 on January, however, one can't relay on a decision in mid December if s/he wants to apply to a school on January - s/he won't be able to prepare an application in 2 weeks in case the answer on mid December is a ding. Meaning, one would anyway have to prepare an application for R2 and if her/his #1 school's notification deadline for R1 is on mid December, s/he might be able to decide not to apply in R2, however, s/he'll still have to work on R2 application beforehand in case s/he isn't accepted in R1.
3. You get a waitlist on mid December notification deadline.

So regarding your first question - most schools have a specific notification deadline. You can look it up on their website in the admissions deadline page. Few schools, such as Columbia, have "X weeks after submitting the application" deadline.

Bottom line is, you can't plan anything. You might apply to your #1 school with a mid December notification deadline and then get dinged or waitlisted and then have to submit additional applications in R2.

Regarding your second question, if you get accepted on the decision notification deadline, you get about a month or so to accept or decline the offer. But it varies, it could also be a bit longer. If you get accepted off the waitlist - it totally varies. Fuqua, for example, gave waitlisted applicants 2 days (!!!) to accept or decline an offer (which is totally unfair for applicants who have waited for them for months btw). Other schools might give you 10 days-2 weeks to decide once you're accpeted off the waitlist. And yes, the application is withdrawn if you do not respond within a certain period of time. However, you can always pay the deposit, save your spot, and make a decision later on depending on other developments.

So you shouldn't "fear" about being accepted to a school you've applied to - you should be happy to get in to any school you've applied to! And paying the deposit and later on declining the offer is not that bad - come to think of it, a $1000 deposit is just 1% of the tuition you will be paying for two years...

About the waitlist - no rules here - usually there is a movement on the waitlist after the deposit deadline of the round in which you have applied to has passed - and the schools know who accepted/declined their offers and what kind of profiles they are looking for instead of the applicants who have declined the offer. BUT it might take longer. Some schools even let applicants know a day before orientation starts. It is very rare since one has to make a lot of preparations. A waitlist decision might take months. Some schools are specific about it "You will be notified by X" and some just say "We can let you know in any given point from now until the summer months".

In general - it is best to apply to your preferred schools on R2 and your less preferred schools on R1 - because the applications are usually getting better, IMHO.

Good luck!
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Re: How much time do you have after acceptances to accept offer? [#permalink] New post 05 Jul 2011, 01:17
MBAIsrael wrote:
Hey kdub09,
Bottom line is, you can't plan anything.


Not sure I agree with this part of your answer.

IMHO You are early enough in the application process to approach this strategically. I'll try to answer your questions first then tell you what I would do if I were in your shoes.

1 - In my experience it differs from school to school and also on what their response is. Typically they are pretty quick if they are going to offer you an acceptance/interview but that's not always true. They'll take slightly longer if they decide to reject or waitlist you. Most schools will give you some guidance on their websites.

2 - Depends when you are accepted. Schools publish a deposit deadline (at least all of the schools I looked at do), if you are accepted before that deadline then it is likely that you will have to respond by then. So if the deadline is the 4th Jan and you are accepted on the second then it's feasible that you may only get two days to respond. However, you may get your own personal deadline to accept and if you do you'll be told in your acceptance letter. This happened to me at Tuck, I was given two weeks.

3 - Schools can choose to accept you off the waitlist at any time, regardless of when you were placed on it. If you are put on the waitlist in November then it's entirely possible that you wont hear anything until June.

If I were you I'd do the following:
- Choose six schools, two safety, two competitive and two stretch.
- Apply for one of each in r1 and one of each in r2. Commit to making all of your applications and get working on them now.
- If you are lucky enough to be accepted to a stretch or competitive program that you are happy with in r1 before the r2 deadline, you don't have to submit anymore applications but don't plan on hearing anything and make sure you give yourself plenty of time to work on all of your apps.

Also, remember that a backup school is supposedly one that you're over qualified for. They should want you pretty badly and therefore should be willing to extend the deadline for you if you need it. My backup extended twice for over two months of extra time.

Hope this helps!

RHB
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Re: How much time do you have after acceptances to accept offer? [#permalink] New post 05 Jul 2011, 07:22
Well, I didn't mean that you can't plan at all, of course you can, but this process is so subjective and you can't really control it, even if you've planned everything and came up with a strategy. I was waitlisted by three schools for 3-4 months; believe me, that wasn't my plan :)
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Re: How much time do you have after acceptances to accept offer? [#permalink] New post 06 Jul 2011, 17:20
Thanks so much for the advice you guys! Much appreciated, very helpful!
Re: How much time do you have after acceptances to accept offer?   [#permalink] 06 Jul 2011, 17:20
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