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About Fiain

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  1. Ive only been on two visits so far. doing my third in two weeks. Both seemed like really good fits. One had research I liked more, plus smaller lab groups (good in my eyes) and a location I adored. The other has an easier PhD program (less exams but its a very reputable program and one of the best for my field), has more funding and TAing would be easier (i want to teach), but had huge lab groups and while I liked the research, I didnt love it.. And I didnt like the location. I liked the professors and the environment of both.. Money wise, after rent costs, both are about the same... Any advice? I have no idea how to start deciding this.. and ive still another visit to go.
  2. I'm graduating UCI soon (undergrad) but Ive worked in a grad student lab for a bit. I dont know the PhD program here tooooo well but if you have questions about the campus/area, I can answer those!
  3. An unfunded PhD is generally considered not to be worth it - even at the best of schools. Thats a -lot- of debt... I personally wouldnt.
  4. I'm approaching my decision as, where am I going to be happier? That.. does take location into play - I didnt apply for schools that I'd never want to go to, even if they were great programs. Theres one school in particular I did not apply to, because I didnt like where it was at all - even though it was a great school for plasmonics/pchem research. The research is important, even to me. But for me personally, my advisor and how much I like the program, is far, far more important, as is my general/overall happiness. I know some people have chosen research over locations, but... If you'd be miserable at that location for the next 5 years... is that really worth it? Its not, in my eyes. Whats the point in doing research if you hate where you live and that makes you miserable? Its... a big, giant balancing act. I hope this helps a little?
  5. So I just went on my first one. I learned a -ton- about how the program works, about different professors - I went only having one or two professors in mind that I wanted to work for, and left having 4 solid profs that I'd love to work for, and I know one is perfect. I learned a lot about the city, and the requirements for the program/collaborations. Also learned about housing around campus and got to ask questions about the stipend and insurance. If you know exactly who you are working for already, then you might be OK skipping it? But I honestly would recommend going if you can, simply because it's a great opportunity to network and see who you wanna work for, what you can expect when you move there funds wise, if summer is an option... Of course, I mean, it won't be too bad if you skip it. You can still get the information through emailing grad students and all... But, I was kinda reluctant to go on the one I just came back from today, actually, due to scheduling issues, and I don't regret going at -all- and am very glad I did.
  6. So.. tbh, I am loving Rice a lot more than I thought I would. Theyve made a huge effort to show how interdisciplinary and collaborative the department is, and being small works for that very well. If you have specific questions, PM me? I can try and get them answered for you if I dont know.
  7. Is anyone going to Rice this weekend?
  8. I contacted professors at my schools and usually got a good response - it showed I cared and wanted to work with that prof. Also, not all professors watch admissions closely, so it draws that profs attention to your app. Attach your CV, say a little about yourself - mention youve read a bit about their research (make sure you have!) and how interested you are in potentially working for them. Thats what I did. I'd trust what the school said.
  9. Nope. I eventually decided not to attend Cambridge and informed the professor. He had basically said he would get me in had I chosen to go there.. Which I didnt, so no letters went out.
  10. Cornell's visit weekend is in two weeks, ish, right? I havent heard anything from them yet...
  11. Cornell's visit weekend is in two weeks, ish, right? I havent heard anything from them yet...
  12. My top choice is so, because I love the atmosphere in the labs. I didnt apply to most Ivys because they werent good schools for me. Prestige doesnt matter if no reputable labs work in what I want to do.. And I'd rather go to a place I'll enjoy more.
  13. Does it say what the decision is? *grabs your hand comfortingly*
  14. My offer came from a Professor and not the school. He offered funding, and said he could probably get the international fees covered... but on a probably when I cant meet people beforehand.. 20k a year wasnt a gamble I was willing to take, so I turned them down, though I still wish it mighta worked out better. I'm not sure how it would have worked on the school side. Since I'm from the US, that might have affected things too.
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