Michael Mitzenmacher has published a post about a book on the topic of being a female science professor. This book is a collection of random thoughts of the blogger. Although there are some entries from the point of view of a female, most are general entries. Since I mentioned academic etiquette in an earlier entry, I thought it would be useful to direct you to a whole list of academic etiquettes by the same blogger.
One nice point that is covered in the entry is that students should inform the relevant department as early as possible if they can’t take up a position in the university:
“(for grad applicants) If you wait until the last minute to inform a department of your decision not to attend that program, you are eliminating opportunities for students on the waiting list. If you really didn’t decide until the last minute, that’s fine. If you know your decision but don’t send the official declination of an offer until the last minute, that is selfish, however unintentional.”
The same applies to other cases too. For instance, I received a grant for a workshop in Italy last spring but the moment I found out that I was unable to go, I informed the organizers so that the grant could be used for another applicant.
Although timely communication is essential, sometimes one is not sure of the decision, which makes things tricky. For example, if you have received an offer from one institution, but you want to see if you can get an offer from a better university, you don’t want to decline the original offer beforetime. In that case, I guess it is justifiable to wait a bit more and keep one’s options open. What are your thoughts?