A little free time, so I will go through the areas tht I looked at when I was deciding which schools to apply to. I found a really good website that actually had all of this information for every school that offers an Accounting PhD. So for anyone interested in this let me know and I will send it your way. Here were my criteria, this not an exact order of importance, but the more important things are near the top.
1. Research Interest Fit- In accounting there are 4 different areas where people do research. It is sort of set up in to two groups of two. They all can somewhat overlap though. There is one area in particular that interests me. Even though I may end up doing something else, I wanted the possibility to work with professors who did research in this area. Therefore, I eliminated any school that did not have any professor who did this type of research. I did all of this on an excel spreadsheet so I literally deleted schools off of it as I went through the steps.
2. Placement of Past PhD Students- I used this to determine how "good" a school was. This doesn't mean I only picked schools that placed graduates at Harvard or Ivy league schools. I wanted to make sure that when I graduated I would have the opportunity to go to schools that I was pretty sure I would enjoy being at for the rest of my life. Primarily at this point I eliminated schools that only placed students at schools where I could never see myself being. This was mostly used to narrow down schools where I thought I would be comfortable.
The Remaining Criteria are less important, but I used them to narrow down my selections:
3. Amount of Stipend- As I mentioned in my Introduction post, I am married with a baby on the way, so the more money offered the better.
4. Average Time to Graduate- I really don't want to be in graduate school forever. I know this is very different for other program types, but in Accounting 5 years is a pretty common completion time. I tried to focus on schools where graduating in 4 years was a possibility and I eliminated any that said it would probably take 6 years.
5. The Opportunity to Teach- I really want to teach a few classes while I am in graduate school, so any schools that mentioned the possibility of not teaching were cut.
6. Geography- I think some people have this too high on their priority list. For some people I understand that you have reasons why you are limited in where you can go, but for people fresh out of college this is the perfect time to get out of your comfort zone. Be open to the idea of moving somewhere else, you may love the school and the area. If you love the school and hate the area then its a good thing you won't be there forever. This is on my list primarily because my wife vetoed some states because they were too cold. Other than that I was fairly open to going anywhere.
7. Attractiveness of Website- I honestly only used this once to cut a school I was iffy about anyway, but the fact that I got almost no information from the website an the difficulty of navigating it really made me wonder how good the shool was. I wouldn't use this as a primary method of attack, but if you have to choose one school or the other this may be as good as flipping a coin.
8. Instinct- There were some schools that just did not feel right, and then again there were the ones I chose that just looking at the website got me excited.
I know there are a few more criteria that I probably used without thinking about it but numbers 1 and 2 were the big ones for me. Average test scores and GPAs played a role in the process as well, but I will probaly get more in to that later. If you have any other suggestions feel free to leave them in the comments section, as I know everyone's journey is different.