I got some questions regarding the decision I have to make, any advice or suggestion would be much appreciated, even personal experience! Thank you guys in advance!
I was admitted at several schools, but school X offered me full funding to do PhD Computer Science, school Y - MS in Digital Media, after asked, told me that they would tell me if there's any assistantship available (which means no funding for this school yet).
To clear it up, my goal is to get an industrial R&D job after I graduate and continue doing research on my interest, which is game-based learning development.
I know that these 2 schools offered 2 completely different degrees and majors, but throughout the application process, I applied to a range of majors that have my research interests, not just 1 specific major, so that might answer your question regarding the different fields I applied to.
School X ranks <100 overall, and "rank not published" (means it is out of the 3/4 range of top schools) in the Computer Science field. Basically it is super low ranked. After looking around and search "Doing PhD in low rank STEM program", I got 2 conflicting messages. (1) is what research you do matters - not the ranking of the school, if you can publish in top/famous journals, or do postdoc in a famous schools, you should be fine. The advisor matters too, but more on that later. (2) is low ranking schools can't provide enough resources to help their students advance their careers. => I definitely need help clearing this up.
Regarding the school X's POI, he got his PhD in CS from a top 10 school, though he got all 3 of his degree (i.e. Bachelor, Master and PhD) at only that 1 school. He's able to get many funding and grants. He is also the "Program Committee Member" at a conference, which was organized by many top professors in my research interest. Though when I went to the conference's website, I can't find his name, so does anybody know what "Program Committee Member" might mean?
The funding I got from school X is Graduate Teaching Assistantship, so I have to support myself by teaching throughout my grad years. Would this be a disadvantage for me when I apply for industrial R&D jobs, which focus more on research skills - not teaching, when I graduate?
School Y on the other hand, even just a Master degree, has a good ranking overall, but I can't find the Digital Media ranking on US News (anybody has other reliable sources on the ranking?). Even then, after attending its virtual tour for admitted students, I fell in love with this department. It has top professors in my field (the professors were the organizers for the conference mentioned above), has full resources, also has a challenging program. I think it can well prepare me for my career! But the thing is, it has not provided me funding. Like I said above, I asked the DGS but only received the general: we'll tell you if we know.
I only have 2 weeks left to accept or decline the school X's offer. I would like to ask school Y regarding funding again, would this be bothering the DGS? Should I mention I got a deadline coming up and mention that I got full funding for another program? If yes, should I mention the school X's name for school Y to know, or just state generally that I got funding from other place and I would love it if school Y, which has been my top choice, provide me funding as well?
If I can't get funding for school Y, attending school X makes me feel nervous b/c that would mean I have to stay there for another 5-6 years and I don't even know if it's the right decision, given my career goal. If I decline school X and apply next year, it would be very difficult for me to improve my application b/c the area I live in (I'm an international student from Vietnam) does not have any labs or research projects that relate to my interest, and meanwhile I still have to keep my full time job. I guess working on my own can be an option, but I've been doing this till now for the Fall 2014 application season, and I know how challenging it is. With 5-6 more months until the next application cycle, I don't think I can make it. Do you have any personal experience in this matter? Any advice?
I apologize for this long post! I really appreciate it if anybody have advice for me in this situation. I just don't know what is right to do at the moment and really need others' thoughts on it! If any of you need more specific info like school's name or whatever that helps you give me an advice, I'd be more than happy to message you, just not publicly on post like this.
Thank you very much!