Last Minute Advice?

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Joined: Tue Mar 07, 2017 12:31 pm

Last Minute Advice?

Post by kavli » Fri Apr 14, 2017 11:05 am

I'm trying to decide between two schools. Both have the same USNWR ranking, and each has one professor who I am very interested in working with. Here's a breakdown of the two schools as I see them:

School A: Well-known Ivy; professor I am primarily interested in working with is very new but has multiple interesting projects. There are 3-4 other professors whose work I find interesting (as back-ups, if working with my first-choice professor doesn't work out), but in other fields of physics (and I have not talked to them as potential advisers).

School B: Recognizable large state school; professor I am primarily interested in working with is established and has tenure, as well as a bigger lab group. There are 1-2 other professors whose work I am sort of interested in, but not currently very excited about.

The professors and students at School A that I met on my kind of haphazard visit seemed very friendly and nice, but my experiences with other people, like those running administrative things, have been very unhelpful (I got very little help in setting up my visit because it was not the official visit weekend). The professors and students at School B were also very friendly and personable, but I also visited on the visit weekend, so I got a very different experience.

I am very much feeling the pressure of the decision deadline coming up, and would really appreciate advice, or even things to think about that I might not have come up with myself!

Posts: 7
Joined: Wed Mar 29, 2017 5:35 pm

Re: Last Minute Advice?

Post by harrisa » Fri Apr 14, 2017 3:14 pm

From your description, I'd go with School A because there are more research options, but the unhelpful administration might be a problem. A fix for this may mean that you have to turn things in super early and send lots of reminder emails.
Also I was told that newer professors tend to have more available money which is good so I wouldn't worry about that. And you may play a big part in their research which could be good (maybe you'll have more chances at 1st author publications) or bad (they'll work you like a dog).
Since the people seem nice which place do you think you can live in for 5-7 years? Consider cost of living, what's there to do in town, weather, ...

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