is it acceptable to play two graduate offers off against each other?

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1xHELPmehx1
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Report Thread starter 7 years ago
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Hi.


I've been offered graduate places at literature masters courses at both Oxford and Cambridge. Oxford has offered me a partial scholarship which covers my college fees and brings the cost of both Unis down to roughly the same level.


However I know I would be happier in Cambridge. Girton have accepted me and I have applied for several of their graduate scholarships and awards. If I contact the college to let them know about the scholarship in Oxford, but that I would be a lot happier in Cambridge, would I be shooting myself in the foot? In other words, is it better to just sit tight and hope I get a scholarship offer from Cambridge too?


I'd appreciate your advice.
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QHF
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In my experience, it's not uncommon to accept multiple offers and wait and see what the funding lottery spits out, and the people involved in running admissions accept that some students do this. Practically speaking you're not committed to going somewhere until money starts changing hands, although of course it's best to let people know that you're rejecting them earlier rather than later so that they can offer places/funding to other students.

I'm not sure it's really done to actively and explicitly negotiate, though. Certainly I've not heard of anyone doing it in the humanities. I don't know about the specific criteria of the awards you've applied to but most such things are merit-based, and if that's the case with these then whatever other offers you have elsewhere should be irrelevant to how you get ranked in scholarship competitions. And by actively telling people that you have counteroffers you'd run the risk of annoying them. So my advice would be to wait until acceptance deadlines, accept both, and then reject the Cambridge offer if they don't have any money for you in the end and it works out cheaper to take Oxford.

That's my take on it, anyway. I'm not going to pretend to be a great authority on this sort of thing, so don't take me for one!
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1xHELPmehx1
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Thank you for your advice. Pushy parents are trying to push me into being pushy.
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Klix88
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I doubt you'll be able to pressure Cambridge into offering you a scholarship just because Oxford has. Scholarships have set eligibility and assessment criteria, which won't involve "Will be awarded if we want to beat Oxford to the applicant". I think attempting the strategy your parents suggest, is likely to leave a bad taste in Cambridge's mouth and is unlikely to work.
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gutenberg
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The problem for you is that both Oxford & Cambridge have an abundance of very talented students. If you tried to do what you're proposing, not only would they not be at all impressed, but they also wouldn't care if you then went elsewhere. In fact they bank on a certain number of students not taking up their offers each year (often for financial reasons), so your not accepting them wouldn't cause any lost sleep.
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