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2012 Funding - Offers and Advice

Discussion in 'Psychology [Psy.D. / Ph.D.]' started by psychanator, Jan 27, 2012.

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  1. psychanator

    psychanator

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    SDN Members don't see this ad. (About Ads)
    In reading threads from previous years here on SDN and GC, I was hoping we could start a thread about funding. I know there are previous threads about this, but I also know, that changes in the economy might be reflected in changes in newer standards for funding. I was hoping this thread could serve 2 purposes:

    1. Current/previous students could shed light on what some of the standards are for various types of Clinical, Counseling, School, Industrial, etc., programs and how to detect a good offer
    2. When people begin to receive funding offers with acceptances, this could be a place for people to post their offers (with as little or as much detail as you would like; you dont need specifics or school names if you prefer; posts like "Clinical PhD - full tuition remission and stipend" would suffice).

    Thoughts?
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2012
  2. Yellowbrickroad

    Yellowbrickroad

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    I think it is a good idea. However, I think it should be expanded beyond clnical and counseling psychology programs to include all of the programs to which we (as a group) are applying. For example, some people are applying to school psychology programs; others are applying to industrial organizational programs. While the additional information from these programs won't benefit the vast majority of students on this forum, the information will be helpful to some of us.
  3. psychanator

    psychanator

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    Great idea! Thanks for the input, I will make an edit right now :)
  4. psychanator

    psychanator

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    Can we bump this? Anyone have anything to share?
  5. GoPokes

    GoPokes Graduate Student

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    So far I've received an offer for a Counseling Ph.D. - full tuition remission and stipend, plus summer funding.

    I also have an interview at a place in a less desirable location than where my first offer is, and they can only offer ½-time assistantship their 1st year and ¼-time assistantships for years 2-4.

    So to break it down in case what I just said didn't make sense because of my wording:

    School A (received offer)- Great atmosphere, location, program, etc. Full tuition remission and stipend, plus summer funding

    School B (have interview debating whether to go), Bad location, unsure on program and atmosphere, ½-time assistantship 1st year and ¼-time assistantships for years 2-4.

    What I'm wondering is if it's even worth driving the 8 hours, preparing, etc. for the interview with School B when I have such a great offer from School A. I can't really think of School B offering me anything that would be great enough for me to turn down full tuition remission..
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2012
  6. wigflip

    wigflip

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    I'd just like to mention that if you're offered TAships (in place of stipend or RAships) that TAships can be very time consuming and interfere with your own work. When I TA I have students crawling all over me throughout the entire term, even before it's started (especially given budget cuts--lots of "crashers" and begging as well). If there are papers, grading bites too. I had a plagiarism case a few terms back that cost me about 12 hours in documentation, meetings, etc. :eek:
  7. PsychPhDStudent

    PsychPhDStudent

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    I agree that teaching can be a timesuck, but I did want to add that I love teaching and value the opportunity to teach as a grad student. If I go a hard-money route, I think my teaching experience will be a plus on my CV. It's also enhanced my understanding of topics that have come up elsewhere (eg candidacy exams). I have very specific, strongly-enforced policies that have helped manage student craziness. My main message is to ask grad students at potential programs what their funding sources have required and what it has been like for them.
  8. zupa

    zupa

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    IMHO if you think School B can't offer you anything to dissuade you from School A then I would say don't waste your money driving to School B and paying for a hotel room. I think it really depends on if the only reason youre interested in School A though is money then it's worth it to go to School B, but that's not what it sounds like.
  9. Zebra F701

    Zebra F701

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  10. Zebra F701

    Zebra F701

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    Hi all.
    I'm on the waitlist at a school, which informed me that:
    1. we only guarnatee funding for the first year and sometimes this is not possible
    2. our department does not fund beyond the first year and most students go outside the department for funding, but most of the hiring is done internally

    Sounds like she was not trying to sell the program very hard... any thoughts? Is this just what all "fully funded" programs must say to protect themselves?
  11. cara susanna

    cara susanna Predoctoral Intern

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    That sounds like a REALLY bad funding situation to me.
  12. 4410

    4410

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    With your name GOPOKES, I can only assume you are and OSU graduate. I graduated years ago from OSU and it is a great campus and program. I would go with option A and cancel option B if it was me. Sounds like option A was meant to be and they have actually offered you admitance into their counseling psychology doctoral program.
  13. GoPokes

    GoPokes Graduate Student

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    You assume correct! I've loved my time here at OSU, and am graduating this May. The clinical faculty here were very helpful throughout this process.

    I decided that I'm going to go ahead and interview at option B, just to make sure I don't "miss anything" (you never know, I guess) and that I think mentor at option B fits my interests just a little better. We'll see, though. Good to see another OSU grad on here!
  14. 4410

    4410

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    Thinking about my internship application and interview process, I experienced a similar situation. One internship site asked me to interview the last week before making the ranking and initially I was not sure because I thought it was only made to me at the last moment due to not having enough applicants that they could select from. However, I made the six hour drive and spent the night in a hotel and took two days off from work. It is in a very rural area that is not near any large cities. I staff and interview process went very well and they dedicated a whole day to showing me their program and allowing me to sit in with treatment team meetings, group supervision, and introduced me to everyone from the clerical staff to the HR director. The facility is much better than some of my other interviews and each intern has their own office rather than sharing offices or having cubicle.

    After my previous interviews with other sites this interview went the best and despite the barriers this site seemed to be a much better match. Had I not gone to the interview, I would never have been able to make an objective decision related to my final rankings.

    It seems that you can drive yourself crazy second guessing your decisions in the application for doctoral level process, so it is best to not leave any stones uncovered and keep your options open.

    Congradulations on graduation in May and good luck with your doctoral program search. It must have been a great four years and to have the football team beat OU and go to the Fiesta Bowl must have been great. Did you rush the field at the OU game? I was out there acting crazy and it is an experience I will never forget and that is my username based on the score 44-10!!!
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2012
  15. Psychlearner

    Psychlearner

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    I know from my experience in the interview process and subsequent acceptance that a lot of programs state that funding is usually available the first year but then one must go outside to get funding. This is quite common, especially in this economy and with state funded programs. Having said this, i know my program is very straightforward about this and despite the warnings, they were (and have been) able to get assistantships to everyone that has entered the program for 9+ years. Hope I didn't just Jinx myself, ha ha. I've also been told of programs I turned down last year and they offered the world, however I have heard that they did not live up to it because of budget crisis. All of this to say, take it with a grain of salt and go to the program that is the best fit, things have a way of usually working out in grad school, albeit sometimes with lots of stress and searching.
  16. GoPokes

    GoPokes Graduate Student

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    That's good advice, and is pretty much the reason I decided to go to my option B interview, because you just never know.

    And I did rush the field at the Bedlam game! It was a blast! (and to be frank, I honestly thought I was going to break my legs when I cleared the wall) I was wondering if that might be what your username meant!

    My (undergrad) mentor suggested I go ahead and go to the interview since there may be more to their funding then what the website suggests. That's interesting that a program that promised you the world ended up having budget issues, that'd certainly be a nightmare! Since my original post I've opened up a lot more to the thought of going to option B, since having a solid mentor match may be ultimately the most important criteria in selecting between them.
  17. psychanator

    psychanator

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    Could anyone shed some light on applying to fellowships (when to start, how to find appropriate ones), in case funding offers received are not sufficient?
  18. riceowl2012

    riceowl2012

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    So I got my official acceptance and funding information for the program I am likely going to attend and one thing has me worried. In the packet is a form letting me know of the TA position that I will have for next school year and mentions the full tuition remission and stipend that comes with it. There is no mention of future years. This had me confused because their website mentions that they officially guarantee funding for the first 3 years and generally continue for the whole time. I emailed my contact person from the program and she assured me of what it said on the website (guaranteed for 3, and usually goes beyond). She said that each year I would get the TA position letter like I got this year. However, I just feel like this is something I should have in writing officially. Do I ask for them to send me something that says that, or do I just let it go since it seems like the funding situation is good (and the grad students I talked to at the interview day mentioned no problems with the funding)?
  19. DynamicDidactic

    DynamicDidactic Unestablished Non-member

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    I do not believe this is possible. Every school works differently but few schools can guarantee TAships anymore. It sounds like they are confident nothing will change and you will be funded the whole time but there are no guarantees.

    You did your best. If none of the students have been left out to dry than its doubtful that will change.
  20. GoPokes

    GoPokes Graduate Student

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    Quick funding question...

    I've received an offer of admission from a school that both on their website and in person at the interview told us we would receive a full tuition waiver and stipend for 4 years, guaranteed.

    However, I never have received anything in writing. I e-mailed the DCT to ask when I would be receiving something in writing, and she told me that I'd get something in writing only after I committed to going there.

    I can understand them only being able to promise one year at a time or something, but does this situation seem strange to anyone else?
  21. DynamicDidactic

    DynamicDidactic Unestablished Non-member

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    My advice:
    Really look over the cost of living of your program, particularly the rent. You should not spend more than 25-30% of your stipend/income on rent. It is common for stipends on the coasts to be larger but they are not commensurate with the cost of living. So, if one school offers a stipend that is 50% higher than another school but the your likely rent is 100% higher then I would definitely look at the school with the lower stipend.
  22. MaybeInJune

    MaybeInJune

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    Hi all,

    Wondering if anyone might advise. I have more than one offer, but my top choice among them hasn't sent me an official contract or written offer yet. The POI called within the past week to offer me the spot.

    Is it ill-advised for me to decline other offers or withdraw myself from consideration other places before getting the official, written offer? I don't have a PDF or anything either, just the call from the POI.

    Don't want to be naive, but also not overly paranoid! :)

    Thanks!
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2012
  23. emily621

    emily621 PhD Student

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    A PDF of an offer letter serves the same purpose as a physical one, right? In terms of certainty of an offer?
  24. PsychPhDStudent

    PsychPhDStudent

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    I'd consider a PDF good enough, personally. I got PDFs and then hard copies via snail mail a couple of weeks later.
  25. jxmagik

    jxmagik

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    I have several offers and I have a school A or school B problem. I would like some funding advice. These are for school psych programs....

    School A has offered me full tuition remission and a livable stipend. However it is a less "reputable" school, has a low record of APA matches, and less diverse practicum opportunities.

    School B has not offered me money but "95%" of current students have funding (I am a little worried about this...). The school had a better name, more variable practicum opportunities (not only school placements), and 100 of students who seek APA internships have gotten them.

    I am leaning towards school B because of the bigger name, bigger school feel and more opportunities to get experience outside of the school. However I am worried about my financial well being if I am that 5% who doesn't get funding. What do you guys think?

    I guess what I am asking is the importance of having guaranteed funding at the time of acceptance vs an "almost" perfect record of funded students.
  26. g0708

    g0708

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    Are you offered tuition remission with the second school? Also, don't be intimidated to ask your POI at school B what the funding situation is usually like. Do they have a current grant that you could be funded under? Are there TA opportunities? Maybe you could email a couple of the current graduate students to inquire as well... especially graduate students in the lab you want to work in. (Just to be more clear as to the funding situation). It does seem like a better choice, but you also don't want to be in immense debt if you can help it. Good luck!
  27. jxmagik

    jxmagik

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    At the second school some students have a GA/RA with a professor, some TA, and some have to email everybody and "find" funding. It looks like a grab bag of opportunities that mostly fall upon the student (me) to look into. While I would rather be given tuition remission and a stipend (duh!), I am not completely opposed to finding it. The school reports that 95% have something so all I can do is trust the report and try my best to find some $$ and tuition remission.

    Is this a normal practice? I know many clinical psych programs are fully funded, but what about school and counseling psychology (often together in the school of Ed)? If any one has had to "find" funding any advice would be greatly appreciated!
  28. nika751

    nika751

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    I am going to accept an offer with full funding. It includes a stipend and full tuition remission. The tuition remission is for 4 years and the stipend is guaranteed for 2 years. In the past 7 years though 100% of students have been fully funded with stipend all 4 years. I am definitely happy about it. This is a school psychology program that has AWESOME funding compared to the others i was accepted to.
  29. Psyched5

    Psyched5

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    How common is it for schools to offer tuition remission but no healthcare? What do you do in that situation? Any suggestions for cheap healthcare, or where to find it?
  30. Ettevi05

    Ettevi05

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    My developmental phD program of interest is offering me an assistantship (TA) & a scholarship (stipend?) haven't talked about the details yet until the 23rd when I go to their campus.
  31. psy390

    psy390

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    All the schools I have been accepted to tell me "We can not guarantee funding, but we have a very good track record for getting students funded". Should i apply to the fafsa in order to make sure i have a backup plan in case i dont get funded? Can i decline fafsa loans if i do get funding?

    Thanks for your help!
  32. Ettevi05

    Ettevi05

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    I personally feel that you should always apply for FAFSA in case you need to get a government loan of some kind. Also, if you have pending loans from your undergraduate institution, having a FAFSA filed, and active (since the school will receive and confirm your FAFSA application/assistance) may defer your pending loans if you would like to.

    By the sounds of it, it seems like you are likely to get funding, but it's better to be safe than sorry. You never truly know how budget cuts, or recession may affect funding in graduate programs that have such good records.
  33. wigflip

    wigflip

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    Yes. I have to apply for the FAFSA every year (department requires it to be eligible for TAships), and every year I decline. It's not a big deal, and after you do it once, a lot of the information can be saved from year to year so it takes less time for subsequent applications.
  34. wigflip

    wigflip

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    Hi Zebra,

    This sounds kinda similar to the offer I got at my current (non-psych) doctoral social science program. When I met with the chair, s/he gave me this kind of pitiful look. I now know that the crappy offer I got is called "a polite rejection"--they agree to take you, but it's sink or swim financially. I accepted, in part because other grad students I talked to assured me that there are more than enough TAships to go around, and that was true initially. But since then, the TAships have dried up, tuition has doubled, and I'm left holding the bag. If I had it to do over again, I'd go back and turn down the offer and reapply more widely and fish for a better package. Someone in my cohort did that and got markedly better funding the second time around. I know I'm not in psych, but my program is similarly competitive in terms of numbers of applications and ratios of acceptances. Good luck, however things go and whatever you decide.
  35. goldfinch

    goldfinch

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    This is very similar to the situation I have encountered. I am also down to deciding between 2 school psych PhDs, in schools of education (with less available funds in general). Both programs are at large public R1 universities.

    School A: great reputation (especially for research), considered to be top 10 for the field, good fit, promised funding will be found for me
    School B: very highly regarded reputation, ranked even higher in the field, good advisor fit, has a long record of traditionally fully funding students up until last year - when 50% of the class failed to find something for their first semester (and subsequently did for spring)

    I am leaning toward School B, but the prospect of having to search something out and potentially have to pay for at least an entire semester out-of-pocket (aka with loans in my case) is very scary to me. I am wondering if I should just go with it and hope for the best? How burdening does student loan repayment become after graduation?
  36. coldsweat

    coldsweat

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    Are the universities in-state or out-of-state? If school B is out-of-state, I would consider school A more strongly, because paying out-of-state tuition even for one semester is brutal. However, if school B is in-state, then paying in-state tuition for one semester may be feasible.
  37. AcronymAllergy

    AcronymAllergy Neuropsychology Fellow Moderator

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    Although if goldfinch chose to do so, he/she could likely establish residence in the state (and thus earn in-state tuition) by the time that final year comes around.
  38. zensouth

    zensouth

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    I received a financial package from my school in writing before accepting. I didn't get it in writing the first time and I asked to have an official copy. I was sent a PDF on letter head with a disclaimer that all documents sent from the university email addresses were considered official. I didn't make any decisions about funding until I had hard offers like that.

    The program I chose was a Counseling Psychology PhD. It included $13,000 stipend for 9 months (summer not included), full tuition remission, and access to the student-employee insurance for about $120 a month. The insurance itself is great, even better than what my wife has now as a government employee. I was given an RA position at aprox 20 hours a week.

    The funding package could only be gauranteed for 1 fiscal year. This was a common stipulation in many of my offers. Their reasoning was that the school/dept re-calculates its budget every year so it was unlikely that they would be able to officially guarantee funding beyond the first year. However, I contacted many current students who stated that this has always been their policy and that everyone has been funded every year for all of the students currently in the program. It was because of their input that I felt comfortable with the offer.

    At a separate school I was told that, though they could not guarantee the entire package beyond one year, that I would be allowed to claim in-state in the future if I ever did have to pay tuition. This was a big deal in that particular state/school as it was made extremely difficult to attain 'in-state' tuition status.

    I made my choice after hearing that funding had been very stable for the past several years, after considering cost of living differences (though I will be living at a higher cost of living than I am now), and hearing of the insurance package. I have been married for about 5 years and had great insurance except for a 3 month period where we had to downgrade to crappy insurance as we both finished our degrees (she had to take a leave from her job to completed a teaching requirement and we had to be insured through my crappy part time job). During that 3 month blip we got into a serious car accident, she had to have surgeries and rehab as a result. We had several thousand dollars of debt that would've been covered by our old plan. So for me, the great insurance sealed the deal and will be one less thing we'll have to worry about when we move.
  39. anonmem

    anonmem

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    What is considered a good funding package?

    At one school, I have been offered a fellowship that includes 4 year tuition remission and health insurance. In my first and fourth years, my stipend would be 21k. In my second and third years, I would have a guaranteed TA assistantship which would have a stipend a little over 17k. Keep in mind that his is in southern California where the cost of living is high.

    I have been waiting to accept the previous offer until I hear back about the funding package at another school where I am currently the runner-up for a position. This second school has been taking longer than they said they would to get back to me though. Also, this second school (school B) is in Chicago which has a lower cost of living and is a city I love.

    Should I hold out to hear from school B before accepting at School A? Or...should I be feeling like a jerk for not accepting at School A when they have offered me what seems like a sweet deal?
  40. emily621

    emily621 PhD Student

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    Not that much lower...:scared:
  41. Pragma

    Pragma

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    I don't think getting a good healthcare option is common in graduate programs. In my program, it was a battle that students fought and it appears to be paying off (after of course I am already gone they may get access to the University employee plan). I have also heard of a healthcare "allowance" that some students get to contribute towards getting their own care. But from students in other programs I have talked to, sometimes you get offered those "emergency" options that they offer to undergrad students.

    You can find your own healthcare plan and apply independently. I did a lot of research and did this temporarily for myself my first year in school. I found an option that allowed me a few office visits but didn't have other bells/whistles, which was all I needed and affordable because I was fairly healthy. After that, I got great healthcare from my spouse's plan and have never left it. I've even declined healthcare on internship and postdoc because the benefits are way better where my spouse works.

    I know students who put off surgeries and lived without healthcare at all for awhile. It is risky and I think the better programs are beginning to address this and offer at least some basic options. Full healthcare funding is BY NO MEANS the norm.
  42. goldfinch

    goldfinch

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    Both schools are out-of-state.

    I have nothing in writing from school A guaranteeing funding - it is just my adviser promising that he will find me something no matter what, which I do trust at this point. It is true that I may be able to establish residency in state B before I am done with the program, but I am hoping to have found funding by the time that would be a possibility.

    The kicker is that school B, where students are thrown to the wolves to find their own positions, is where my SO of 3+ years is currently living (and 5 hours away from school A). This is a complicating factor that I am struggling with figuring out how to weight in my decision, so if anyone has any advice I would welcome it!
    It feels like choosing between (1) possibly going into debt to attend a great program and be close to a loved one or (2) attending a good program with full funding and dealing with the unhappiness of a LDR for the full length of a PhD program - so pretty difficult. Just how much should a fully funded offer sway someone if it is not from their top choice?
  43. Pragma

    Pragma

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    Don't underestimate the value of "funding." Yes, there is the dollar amount you are saving. BUT, I think there is psychological value to it.

    When you are funded, they are "investing" in you and have in interest in you succeeding. When you are unfunded, they have less objective interest due to finances. There are many fine unfunded programs, but when a program is funding you, they want you to succeed and they want a return on their investment, so they will be there to push you and support you.
  44. jxmagik

    jxmagik

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    It's a very confusing situation to be in! I emailed a current student and she showed me the school website with all the Ga/RA postings. Since these were posted by the uni, they all included a tuition remission and stipend. With a little digging I found a couple positions and discovered that positions usually open up during the end of spring and beg of fall. Also it seems like some students even start the school year with NO funding and subsequently find opportunities (through contacts, prof and current students) in the first few days/weeks. Point: it seems like finding funding is a mixture of applying like crazy, networking and luck.

    If you're comfortable sharing I'm curious what two schools you are deciding between, feel free to pm me!


    I was just about ready to accept the offer to the school with out funding because of the better "fit," when suddenly, out of left field, I was offered admissions off the wait list to a program with funding. Yikes, crazy sh*t.

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