Mar 3, 2010
58
5
51
Status
Psychology Student
Hi Everyone,

I was called by the program director today of a clinical psychology PhD program and was asked whether or not I would attend the program (this was before being officially accepted, I was on the waitlist); I responded that I wasn't sure and spent the next 20 minutes on the phone with this person being told about the program. At the end of the call he told me that if I was ready to accept then we had a "match", I told him I wasn't sure yet and he said that I could think it over but that he would give the spot away tomorrow afternoon to another waitlister if I didn't accept.

Basically, the spot is mine, but he isn't offering an official acceptance unless I say that I will go there for sure. From what I know about APA guidelines, I thought that they weren't supposed to make you decide before april 15th. Are the rules different for waitlisters?

I am nervous that even if I do accept, I won't have the official letter until after April 15th (if it takes a week to arrive); at which point I would have given up my other offer.

I have read numerous times that you shouldn't accept anything until you have an official letter offer in hand, which is why this makes me nervous.

thoughts anyone??
The weirdest thing is that this seems like a reputable program and I've heard very good things about it from fellow SDNers.... hence my confusion and worry.:oops::scared:

Please please please help me!! I have less than 24 hours to decide!! Feel free to PM me.
 

deadmau5

10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Mar 13, 2009
445
9
151
Great White North
Status
Psychology Student
well it's coming up to the 15th so you might have expected this to happen. People are still waiting on waitlists for a chance to get 1 acceptance.

Sit down, weight the schools and decide. use the flip a coin method if needed. this doesn't decrease their reputation... they just want to finish the process and have everything settled.
 

Psleepless

Member
Feb 16, 2010
28
0
0
Status
Psychology Student
can you get an email (vs waiting for a letter) from the person confirming that he/she is offering you the spot? if you cant get an email, send one yourself confirming your receipt of the verbal offer and indicating that you will respond asap.

on one hand, your application and interview and discussion with the person today are indicative of your wanting to go to that program.

on the other hand, it sounds very unprofessional if not unethical for the person to demand a response within 24hours, knowing that you were not made an offer by april 1 and knowing that you are also trying to make the right decision and get this process completed properly.
 
Jan 14, 2010
149
0
0
USA
Status
Psychology Student
While it's not cool to have that kind of pressure put on you, I think it makes sense. The program may be concerned that the other people on the waitlist (esp. if it's a short waitlist) will go ahead an accept at another program because they are so close to the April 15th deadline. I'm guessing they just don't want to gamble or take the risk that they make you the offer and you turn them down on April 15th and then when they make the offer to the remaining people on the waitlist find that the rest have accepted at other places because they assumed they weren't going to get off of the waitlist. And, though I don't know how disclosure data works, I imagine that this may affect their yield numbers (if every offer they make gets counted).

Granted, though, that's a risk all programs take.

If you truly truly like this program and prefer it over the other one, then I wouldn't let the pressure cause you too many doubts or too much anxiety about the program. I see it as being more situational in nature than a universal trait of the program.

Though this doesn't help your situation, acceptances are also not legally binding until April 15th even if you do give a yes. I'm guessing you haven't accepted at your other program yet? What was the reason for that (i.e., were hoping to get off of a waitlist elsewhere)?
 
Mar 3, 2010
58
5
51
Status
Psychology Student
thanks for the advice everyone. I just found out I can get the letter by e-mail, but still have to say yes verbally first. So maybe I could wait until I got the e-mail letter to reject the other school. The reason that I hadn't accepted the offer at the other school was that I wasn't sure which of the two schools (the ones that I now have to make a decision on) I liked better. Because of that, I was waiting to see if I would get in to this school to see whether I would have to make a decision.

Now, I am having a horrible time trying to decide, even when I don't let the unofficial offer thing get to me. I have heard from different people that this school or that school is much better, but different people are saying different programs are better. Everyone seems to have a strong opinion about it one way or another. From what I can gather, SDNers tend to think that one is better, and researchers that I know at my work seem to think the other program is better.
 

Therapist4Chnge

Neuropsych Ninja Faculty
Moderator Emeritus
10+ Year Member
Oct 7, 2006
21,454
2,415
281
The Beach
Status
Psychologist
You need to decide which program is better *for you*. As for the pressure, it is understandable they won't want to be left out in the cold, though you can usually work with a program on the timeline. I had the same thing happen with some fellowship programs, as all of the top rehab programs generally secure their spots before the neuro match, as after the match there are a lot less top candidates available and there is a big scramble by both programs and applicants.
 
Mar 3, 2010
58
5
51
Status
Psychology Student
so it sounds like this unofficial/conditional offer isn't a weird thing and it shouldn't put me off of the school. I'm going to do a coin flip and then maybe agonize a little more after that... I'll let everyone know my decision tomorrow!!

Thanks for the advice everyone!
 
Dec 19, 2009
88
0
41
Status
Psychology Student
I get so annoyed when I hear about things like this. The guidelines that already exist (in my opinion) already gives more freedom to institutions than individuals... so when people break the guidelines, it just rubs me the wrong way.

Someone previously said that shouldn't affect how you view the program. I would totally take those kinds of behaviors into consideration. I think that leads credence to what the environment will be like for the next 4-6 years of your life. I can see why a school would do this. They're interested in getting those top applicants of course; however, its the way the game is played. You have to follow the rules. If they think you're a good candidate, then they should extend to you an offer.

I know this girl that applied to a school in Mississippi... I wont name the school... but this school has sent her multiple emails harassing her into making a decision. They have even said that even though they cant rescind an offer until April 15th, they strongly urge her to make a decision. They further mention how unethical it is for her to hold onto an offer so long. They went from slightly urging her to make an offer to more seriously harassing emails.

Honestly, she made her decision based on those behaviors. She accepted a less appealing financial package at her other choice to avoid going to that school. Honestly, if it was me, I wouldn't say anything until April 15th because of the way they were acting.

I think the environment and people at a school are just as important as the program. If a program is great but the people are horrible... it would be a long long 5 years...


Every time I hear a story like this all I can say is report, report, report to the APA
 

docma

10+ Year Member
Oct 27, 2007
791
259
281
Status
You know, everyone--students and programs--are tired of the waiting and decision process. I empathize with the school some. They know they have a position open and they don't want to jump into more waiting with the wait list and they only want to offer to a candidate who will definitely come. They have a bunch of good candidates and they want to know who really wants them.

They were hoping you would say "Yes! I'd love to" and both of you would be done with the ordeal. But you are not sure. Now you have more to think about and they are stuck until you decide but they do need to know. If they really do not light your fire just say No. You have another option. Let someone else have this one.
If, on the other hand, your heart says I would like to be THERE, just say Yes and accept that this is how your fate is coming to you.

DON'T get distracted by a million other new considerations. Where can you see yourself getting a good opportunity? If they had said Yes to you originally would you have been thrlled and happily gone there?(and over the other option you do have)

Whether it is great or not once you get there is more up to you than this moment right now. Trust your heart about where you want to be and don't sweat the details of how the offer is coming at this stage. It will feel great once you have set your direction, whereever that is.
 

Markp

Clinical Psychologist
10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Nov 19, 2007
2,262
20
151
Status
Psychologist
Simple... accept and use your time until the 15th to make your decision. After all any decision made up to the 15th is not binding.

Sorry what they are doing is WRONG. So use the rules in your favor. Accept. If you change your mind before the 16th, so be it. You can rescind your decision if you change your mind... period.

Sorry, but that's just not appropriate. They have their cards, and you have yours... play them.

Mark
 
Jan 23, 2010
57
0
0
Status
Psychology Student
Does this have anything to do with schools' number games? I know schools report how many acceptances they give out and how many actually attend. I'm guessing it looks best to have the offers and accepted offers be as close as possible. This could be there way of giving out offers unofficially so that the ratio of offers to accepted offers is high. I agree with Mark, stand up to them. Just as a school is not bound by a verbal offer of acceptance, you're not bound by a verbal acceptance of an offer. It's not official til they have your money. Accept and if you need to, change your mind.
 

jnine

5+ Year Member
Dec 17, 2009
192
0
91
Status
Psychology Student
what they are doing is WRONG.
i think it's stated in the APA guidlelines that programs should not be putting pressure on you to decide before the 15th? i was told this by the head of a program.. they said something like "we recognize that it would be in our best interests to pressure you, but we won't and neither should anyone else". i respect them for that.

Accept. If you change your mind before the 16th, so be it.
agreed. those are the rules. im sure you'er aware that you might upset some people by taking this action. however, i'd exercise that right if i needed to being as honest and professional as I could about it.

Does this have anything to do with schools' number games?
i think one of the major factors is: as it gets closer to april 15th, the pool of students who haven't yet accepted offers shrinks. if a really competetive student declines it might be tough to find a simlilarly competetive student. i think this is why the OP is getting harassed.
 
Last edited:

psychnic

10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Mar 31, 2008
46
4
141
Status
Psychology Student
I agree with MarkP that the way in which this program is circumventing APA guidelines is unsavory. Keep in mind that if you accept an offer and later rescind it, the professor will likely remember that for quite a long time. If you are in a small research niche, you may run into them often (at conferences, etc., or they may have data you would like to access). Burning bridges in such an insular field should be done with great caution.
 
Mar 3, 2010
58
5
51
Status
Psychology Student
Again, thank you everyone for the advice. It seems like there are a lot of mixed feelings about this. I felt similarly, it is an odd situation to be in. I tried my best to decide on the school without regard to the political move on the part of the school. I actually did decide on the other school (the one that wasn't pressuring me) for other reasons. I don't know if subconsciously the pressure ended up being a factor for me or not. It did make me feel uncomfortable, in contrast to the other school that waited over a month for me to make a decision and never pressured me. They were nothing but helpful and kind. Although I know that the fact that I was initiallly waitlisted at one and a first pick at the other may have affected the way I was treated. I will never know, but I am confident now in my decision and am extremely relieved!! Thanks again all! :love: