I'm in a bit of a pickle here. I got accepted on my second choice for a PhD. My first choice is still in limbo as I'm waiting for one more reference to arrive. I was promised it would be submitted this week. How fast the faculty reacts to that I have no idea. The supervisor though only seems to be waiting for the completion of my application to make a decision. I really want to pursue this one while my second choice comes way behind. The supervisor of the one I got accepted into doesn't want to wait for another two weeks.
So what do I do? Delay a few more days and hope my first choice receives all information and makes a very quick decision, otherwise accept? I feel bad about accepting and potentially cancelling again though. Both have industry funding. The one I got accepted into is to start in January, the first choice pretty much immediately.
I would also chat to first supervisor as kikothedog suggests. But also, is there a deadline on accepting the offer you've been given? I remember being a reserve candidate (i.e., offered funding when someone didn't accept theirs) that I had to wait AGES to find out if the persons offered it had all accepted. It seems that those people were probably waiting on offers from other places to come through before making their choice - and then some of them decided to accept an offer elsewhere. So you should have a reasonable time frame in which to decide whether to accept (especially since it isn't due to start till January). If not stated, I would enquire about it.
Thanks a lot.
The second choice would be in the Republic of Ireland. Maybe things are somewhat different there than in the UK. The supervisor would like an answer pretty much immediately so he can ask someone else if I turn the offer down. I managed to delay the decision by a few days, though I suppose it's not enough.
The first choice: I do hope they will take me. I was the first person they interviewed but I was told that they will have to offer this PhD publicly and do more interviews. They might still have found a better candidate. I will contact this supervisor and ask how things stand though I suppose the answer will be that they'll evaluate everything and then make a choice based on that.
With that I'd be back at square one: accept second choice and me happy if first doesn't get through, or still get accepted for first.. and then?
Be upfront with both parties that you are considering other offers and that's the reason you can't answer straight away.
If worst comes to worst, accept the offer you have and then reject it if you get the other offer. You wouldn't be the first person to do this and you won't be the last.
Having done this myself (although worse actually as I started one job and quit 3 weeks later to take another), it's not a pleasant experience, but you should do what you need to do, in the nicest possible way.
I fully agree with TreeofLife. I was offered funding from another institution AFTER I got the reserve funding from my first choice institution. If my second choice offer had come first I would have been up front and waited, and accepted if I had to (only to cancel when my first choice came through). They should understand your situation if you are open about it. Also, the funding will not be "wasted" so as to speak. It'll go to someone else.
I had a similar situ, was upfront about it from day one, and now collaborate with the supervisors (or who would have been supervisors) at both institutions. I think they appreciated the straightforwardness.
However, if it is a formal offer, there should be a set deadline for accepting or rejecting of that offer before it is reallocated to others. In this case, there is no need to disclose anything.
I agree with those of you who say that you might always meet someone, and work together with again. Being not straight might be a problem. On the other hand, as the offers for both are known, saying that one waits for the outcome of another application might not be a good idea either as it clearly gives the impression that one is only second choice.
Well, on the positive side I did get the second reference now. Lets hope there will be a quick decision on this.
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