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I'm being encouraged by the Phys Department of one of the schools I've applied to (my top choice) to also apply for a fellowship, specific to the school/department, that would increase my funding to 1.5x the standard RA for incoming students. This fellowship would lock me into a specific area of research for my first two years. While I am interested in this research, I'm not sure it's the most interesting research at the school or whether I'd want to do it long-term. Still, the money is pretty good and they're super-supportive of me applying for it. Thoughts?
If you apply and are offered the fellowship, you aren't required to take it, right? In that case there wouldn't be much downside to applying if it's something you would consider taking. As for whether you should accept the fellowship if it's ultimately awarded to you, I have no idea.