An applicant may receive more than one offer of admission before April 15 and/or receive statements that he or she is listed as an alternate. To protect a candidate against premature decisions, most graduate schools allow the applicant until April 15 to make a final decision. This is in accordance with the resolution adopted by the Council of Graduate Schools and supported by 317 universities and colleges and by the directors of four granting agencies:
"Acceptance of an offer of financial aid (such as a graduate scholarship, fellowship, traineeship, or assistantship) for the next academic year by an actual or prospective graduate student completes an agreement which both student and graduate school expect to honor. In those instances in which the student accepts the offer before April 15 and subsequently desires to withdraw, the student may submit in writing a resignation of the appointment at any time through April 15. However, an acceptance given or left in force after April 15 commits the student not to accept another offer without first obtaining a written release from the institution to which a commitment has been made. Similarly, an offer by an institution after April 15 is conditional on presentation by the student of the written release from any previously accepted offer. It is further agreed by the institutions and organizations subscribing to the above Resolution that a copy of this Resolution should accompany every scholarship, fellowship, traineeship, and assistantship offer."
The Council of Graduate Departments of Psychology has modified the resolution regarding offering and accepting financial aid after April 15: "An acceptance given or left in force after April 15 commits the student not to solicit or accept another offer. Offers made after April 15 must include the proviso that the offer is void if acceptance of a previous offer from a department accepting this resolution is in force on that date. These rules are binding on all persons acting on the behalf of the offering institution."