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  1. Hi all, I've narrowed down my list to 2, but having a hard time deciding where to go. School A: Higher rank (10~20), prestigious name, well funded and well rounded program. I'm sure I'll find an interesting research during my rotation. However, I hate the "family" atmosphere of the dept, no diversity of the community, and the location. School B: Lower rank state school (50~60). mediocre funding (but cheaper cost of living), tiny dept and faculty size. However, I was offered admission through personal contact with a recently tenured professor, whose lab is very well funded, wants me in his lab, and does interesting research. I like him especially because he is not just a good research professor, but a great mentor. Early graduation is also a major plus, since there will be no rotation and his students graduated 3~4 years (He encourages it to all his students). I visited his lab to make sure its a good fit for me. Also love the location. I'm attracted to school B solely because of this lab, and confident that I'll learn a lot from this professor and professionally ready for the job market when I graduate. However, I hear some say that I'll get a disadvantage later down the road because of the school's and the dept's reputation.. Should I just go with my gut feeling?
  2. Hi, After all the visits, and making pros-cons list, I still can't decide on where to commit myself to.. I think my title is pretty straight forward! My area of study is biology (molecular/cell/micro/immuno), and got offers from Purdue, Dartmouth, Boston College and UC Irvine (All Ph.d). I'm REALLY thankful that I got offers from these programs, but I'll be honest and say that they were not my top choice schools. Nevertheless, I really enjoyed visiting all schools, and now it's freakin' hard deciding where to go and spend my next 5+ years.. If I only went for the rank and the name, I would probably choose Dartmouth or UCI. They were excellent programs with great faculty and resources, but I realized on my visit that the location and the student lifestyle didn't suit me very well. I liked BC for its location/program vibe (I'm crazy about the city). I think I would have the best work/life balance and happiest time at BC, but have to say that the program is the weakest among the four. For Purdue, I got in contact with a prof who seems really productive, personable, and wants me in his lab. I would probably spend my graduate years most 'efficiently' (fast/high productivity), according to his past mentees. What should be my main criteria in making this choice?? Does anyone have any experience from these schools? Any input would be greatly appreciated...!!!
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