Stanford vs UCSB for CME (2D materials)

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cat_mama
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Stanford vs UCSB for CME (2D materials)

Post by cat_mama » Fri Feb 14, 2020 2:03 pm

I'm in a similar boat of Stanford vs UCSB for pretty much the same research (CME -> 2d materials etc.) as question here viewtopic.php?f=21&t=168074. I'll be attending both Open Houses, but I'd like opinions not necessarily just from students/faculty at these schools as well.
Last edited by cat_mama on Fri Mar 20, 2020 11:14 am, edited 1 time in total.

geekusprimus
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Re: Stanford vs UCSB for CME (2D materials)

Post by geekusprimus » Fri Feb 14, 2020 5:52 pm

Some things to consider:
  • You're really applying to work with a person. So long as you're not going to Bum State Middle-of-Nowhere, most people in your field care a lot more about who you worked with rather than where you did it. Obviously Stanford carries a prestige factor that UCSB does not, but UCSB has a pretty outstanding reputation in physics.
  • Find out what your prospective mentors are like as people. When you go to graduate school, you're not trying to look over the shoulder of a great scientist, you're trying to learn how to be a great scientist. Great scientists are not always the best mentors. My advanced lab professor got his PhD under Wolfgang Ketterle at MIT, who won the Nobel Prize for his work on BECs. He hates Ketterle with a passion because the man was an absolutely horrible mentor. On the other hand, there are plenty of good scientists who might not publish as frequently because they really emphasize the education of their students, and their students tend to be massively more successful.
  • Look at the course options and the degree requirements. If one school has regularly offered courses specifically tailored to your interest that the other doesn't, it's definitely something to consider.
To reiterate the second point, don't mistake "prestige" for "mentoring." Unfortunately, PhD advisors mistreating their graduate students is not an uncommon occurrence, and it often happens because students want to work with the best guy in the field, and the best guy in the field happens to be a world-class tool.

cat_mama
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Re: Stanford vs UCSB for CME (2D materials)

Post by cat_mama » Fri Feb 14, 2020 6:46 pm

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Last edited by cat_mama on Fri Mar 20, 2020 11:14 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Nishikata
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Re: Stanford vs UCSB for CME (2D materials)

Post by Nishikata » Sat Feb 15, 2020 12:41 am

I think you are currently leaning to UCSB because they have proactively contacted you. Stanford doesn't need to do this because of its higher ranking and prestige, but I am saying that this is normal. Before deciding, you should also hear what Stanford has to offer first, especially on whether G-G accepts students this year.

You may also consider if you can benefit from both opportunities. If you are a Stanford student but have strong affinity towards Young's group, see if you can be co-advised / collaborate with them from Stanford. I see that this may be possible if you are in Stanford, but not so much the other way around. (If you still want to after you get in, lol)

Also, there have been many cases, that some professors being very good salesmen. Some could make very interesting propositions and research prospects in emails, websites, even in few-hours presentation. However, once you're inside the ship, then usually one realizes that it is not as great as marketed. The good thing in Stanford (and other big-name universities) is that you can switch to another equally good supervisor if this case happens.
In smaller schools, you will be probably screwed up.

Consider carefully, take your time until April 15 and don't look back.

luci
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Re: Stanford vs UCSB for CME (2D materials)

Post by luci » Wed Feb 19, 2020 11:17 am

cat_mama wrote:
Fri Feb 14, 2020 2:03 pm
How valued I am (???):
- Stanford: No contact from the school other than my acceptance letter.
- UCSB: Y reached out to me first to tell me about the kind of research I can do in his lab as well as possibility of starting research immediately in the summer (or even early as tomorrow lol).
Notes: Of course, professors are busy, but I feel that maybe I'll get more attention on growing as a researcher at UCSB which seems to care about me individually instead of just another admit? This is the same reason I turned down offers from Boeing and Raytheon to join my current small company. I felt like I was a faceless university recruit at these big companies while my current company specifically wanted *me*, and I'm very happy with my decision.
Regarding the UCSB professor contacting you, did you also post about this in thegradcafe? if not, this might be more common than you think, as some people there also reported getting directly contacted by UCSB professors after their admission.

cat_mama
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Re: Stanford vs UCSB for CME (2D materials)

Post by cat_mama » Mon Feb 24, 2020 12:30 pm

luci wrote:
Wed Feb 19, 2020 11:17 am
Regarding the UCSB professor contacting you, did you also post about this in thegradcafe? if not, this might be more common than you think, as some people there also reported getting directly contacted by UCSB professors after their admission.
Yes I posted about this on gradcafe! I was contacted by the professor in early Jan before my official admission letter, not as part of any interview, but rather as a recruiting conversation (we talked about me starting in the summer with research assistantship and about my potential research projects). Also, other professors also reaching out to students makes me think that UCSB has a culture of giving individual attention to graduate students, not just one-off professor doing it.



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