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metachaos

Declining An Nserc? Is It A Big Deal? (Urgent)

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So I got awarded an NSERC. However, I realized that it would take 16 weeks of my summer, up until the second last week of August. I am currently completing my first application cycle, with two interviews (Western and Mac) and was planning on enjoying this summer a bit while remaining productive (eg. a small vacation or two, unwinding) since I'll either be getting into medical school or just prepping for another application cycle. I also currently have no backup plan for next year as this cycle has taken all of my focus.

 

I asked if I could get the NSERC shortened and the department said no but offered me a smaller award for 12 weeks. Is the difference between an NSERC and another research award so big that I should seriously reconsider taking it or not? Is stating that I declined an NSERC and simply taking another award a reasonable alternative to taking the NSERC?

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Take the 12 weeks. The experience is what matters, not the name. The only exception I've ever heard is that IF you wanted a career in academic (not med) and went the Msc/Phd route than having had a previous NSERC can help your application a little tiny bit because it makes you look like you could qualify for more NSERC funding as a grad student. 

 

Again, the only time this would even come up is if you are re-applying in which case the experience matters more, again. And especially in that case, having a couple week  break before the craziness of the applications would let you focus on them more

 

I would say 100% take the other award

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First, congrats on the NSERC and on the invites! It must be pretty exciting.

 

I love you sunnyy, but I would say take the NSERC anyway.

 

I was in a similar situation last year with another granting agency that wanted my entire summer. I simply negotiated with my supervisor to put in a couple of extra hours some days a week and easily got the month off. I got the more valuable and prestigious award, and I got the time I needed to come out with a good set of deliverables. The experience is important...but so is giving yourself enough time to get the most bang for your buck in terms of learning and outcomes.

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Selstaar, I kind of understand that perspective, but I think my research is more bottlenecked by the amount I have going on since the lab I work at is pretty sporadic in terms of work load (some days a ton to do, some almost nothing). So I dunno if I would really be able to just "do more" and I dont think I'd be able to make up for as significant amount of time as I'd like to have off. It's a tough decision but I think unless taking an NSERC is substantially more valuable than taking a UROP + saying on my application that I got offered an NSERC in terms of Med School application and possible back up plan stuff, I'll probably go with the UROP :(

 

EDIT: Unless you think there is a very tangible reason why the sacrifice would be worth it, of course. And thank you everyone for your opinions, I'm still open to hearing more perspectives, if anyone else is reading!

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Soo i don't mean to hijack this thread, but I had a similar question related to this (didn't want to make a new thread that was nearly identical lol) :  If we're accepted for NSERC, but we give it up (due to getting into med), do people usually put this in their resumes/CV still moving forward & does this add any value to your CV? Or is this frowned upon

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As a grad student sitting on committees, we frown upon people who list declined awards. Who cares? If you didn't actually accept and receive the award, we don't care. MD programs may view things differently. But for MSc and MPH programs, we don't look kindly upon people who list declined awards on their C.V. They place the individual being evaluated in a negative light.

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As a grad student sitting on committees, we frown upon people who list declined awards. Who cares? If you didn't actually accept and receive the award, we don't care. MD programs may view things differently. But for MSc and MPH programs, we don't look kindly upon people who list declined awards on their C.V. They place the individual being evaluated in a negative light.

I agree, but I've gotten the impression that most people take a 'it can't hurt' approach to these things. Personally, I don't see what value a declined NSERC adds, because you lose the experience (I mean on OMSAS, assuming they list the experience they did do in this case elsewhere). So what does that show....is it trying to prove that you can get awards if you try?

Again, I've heard people say that they list this stuff anyways, and I'm sure it doesn't have a negative impact, but I personally think it could potentially be interpreted as a bit boastful.

I just wouldn't be comfortable putting that on my application, and I feel like it has the potential to turn into an awkward panel interview question, rather than getting asked about your other experiences 

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As a grad student sitting on committees, we frown upon people who list declined awards. Who cares? If you didn't actually accept and receive the award, we don't care. MD programs may view things differently. But for MSc and MPH programs, we don't look kindly upon people who list declined awards on their C.V. They place the individual being evaluated in a negative light.

I disagree. Someone was smart enough to get an award and had to decline it because of whatever reason (competing grants, other experiences, etc.)

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As a grad student sitting on committees, we frown upon people who list declined awards. Who cares? If you didn't actually accept and receive the award, we don't care. MD programs may view things differently. But for MSc and MPH programs, we don't look kindly upon people who list declined awards on their C.V. They place the individual being evaluated in a negative light.

I agree. Would you list all entrance scholarships (GPA-based and/or leadership-based one) you were offered but declined? How about if you were offered NSERC, CFC, faculty studentship, etc. all for one summer term but could only accept one?

Do what you are most comfortable with because none of us are on the adcom, but I personally would not. 

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