Syracuse vs Virginia Tech condensed matter / biological physics

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SadatHusain
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Syracuse vs Virginia Tech condensed matter / biological physics

Post by SadatHusain » Mon Mar 16, 2020 4:15 am

Hi,

I am posting on behalf of a friend who has received positive admissions decisions from both Virginia Tech and Syracuse for condensed matter. She is an international student from Bangladesh.

The following are the summaries of her offers:

Virginia Tech

Advisor: Rana Ashkar (soft matter/biological physics)
GTA stipend: $1875 per month (pre-taxes). She still has to pay comprehensive fees of $1312 per semester. VT offered her five years of funding.

Concerns: Is Professor Ashkar a good advisor? How difficult will it be for her to sustain herself on this stipend in the city of Blacksburg, given the recent rise in rent?

Syracuse

Advisor: Not specified (Jennifer Ross is her mentor. Her specified interests were condensed matter/ biophysics) The contract is for one year.
GTA stipend: $1445 semi-monthly (pre-taxes).

Concerns: She has concerns about the quality of Syracuse relative to Virginia Tech. Is it worth giving up going to VT to go to Syracuse and avail this lucrative offer?

Thank you for your valuable advice.
Last edited by SadatHusain on Tue Mar 17, 2020 6:52 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Nishikata
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Re: Syracuse vs Virginia Tech condensed matter / biological physics

Post by Nishikata » Mon Mar 16, 2020 4:43 am

i fail to see the attractive points of syracuse based on your expositions. please explain.
contract is only for 1 month (you sure? not 1 year?) , no defined supervisor, comparable stipend at syracuse.
what makes you think this is more attractive than a 5-year contract at VT with a clearly defined supervisor?

SadatHusain
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Re: Syracuse vs Virginia Tech condensed matter / biological physics

Post by SadatHusain » Tue Mar 17, 2020 7:11 am

Sorry, I meant to say one year. Furthermore, the $1445 at Syraacuse stipend is semi-monthly. (she gets paid twice a month)

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Nishikata
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Re: Syracuse vs Virginia Tech condensed matter / biological physics

Post by Nishikata » Tue Mar 17, 2020 9:26 am

I think she should not take it just because it pays more.

Honestly speaking, this PhD money is very little compared to what she would get after graduating.
A full time job's salary for a PhD graduate in the US, even in an unrelated field (say you became an engineer instead), will safely be at least a few thousand dollars more than what she get in PhD.

My suggestion is, keep financial and academic choices as separate as possible. As long as cost has not become prohibitive, make academic choices purely based on the education quality. Maybe the GTA is only the first funding opportunity, and there may be fellowship competition / other paid gigs from the supervisor that can supplement her finances after she enrolls.



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