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El Horrifico

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  1. Thank you for everyone who weighed in here! I got a lot of great advice that helped me out while I was making my final decision. I have accepted my offer from the University of Kentucky and am now enrolled there. I'm looking forward to starting the program! And I emailed Purdue to let them know I'm not coming. I felt terrible doing it--they were so nice--but I hope my doing so can help out someone else. And I had to do what was right for me. Thanks again, everyone! You were all lifesavers!
  2. You may have hit the nail on the head right there! I definitely feel like I do this as well and am doing it now. I don't think I'll be able to visit before the deadline, unfortunately. UK is still far enough away that a trip there would be an all-day sort of thing. Were there any cons that I listed for UK that stick out as particularly minor? Thanks for the reply! It's some solid advice, and I appreciate your taking the time to give it.
  3. Hey all, I've been accepted to the PhD programs in lit at both the University of Kentucky (UK) and Purdue. It's getting down to the wire now, and I'm having significant trouble choosing between them. Any advice is welcome. Both schools are strong fits for my research interests. My POI at UK is one of the closest scholars I've found to my niche little area of research, and I've found 8 different scholars at the university I would like to work with. Purdue does not have an individual POI as interesting to me as the one at UK, but I have found 10 scholars there, in various departments, whose work appeals to me. Both schools have offered generous funding in excess of their typical packages. UK's funding would vary by the year, and is a bit top-heavy, with additional funding in the first two years and less in the subsequent years. Purdue's funding is guaranteed at a single rate for five years and includes a first-year fellowship whereby I would not have to teach and could get a head start on my coursework. I would have to teach all five years at UK. I have sat down and done the math on these offers, and the gap is pretty narrow. Cost of living is lower around UK than around Purdue, and I would have a much shorter commute to UK from home, which would mean much lower moving and travel costs both for the initial move-in and any trips home, such as for holidays. This brings me to the location. I visited Purdue's campus briefly, and I was disappointed. For context, I'm from the southern Appalachians and got my BA and MA in the south as well. Going off this, I did not find Indiana to be a pretty state. And I thought West Lafayette looked a bit rundown, though I admit I did not see all the town had to offer. I was not there for long. Meanwhile, I did not see UK's campus directly, but I have passed through Lexington. In general, I was impressed with Kentucky's natural beauty, and I think I would more at home there than in Indiana, as Kentucky more closely mirrors the geography I'm used to and enjoy. None of this is to deride anyone from the mid-west, of course. I merely mean that, personally, I preferred what I saw of Kentucky to what I saw of Indiana. The only factor that could tip the question of location in Purdue's favor is that of town size. I got my MA from a school in a college town, and I loved the atmosphere, enough so that I would love to return to teach there someday. That said, I've never really lived in a big city before, so Lexington would be a change-up for me. I guess what I'd really like, in addition to natural beauty, is somewhere where I'd feel safe walking around, even at night. I typically felt safe doing this at both my previous universities. Also, as stated previously, UK is much closer to home for me than Purdue. Going to Purdue would mean being very far from my family, friends, and support network. I know no one at either school, but it's not out of the question for family and friends to come visit over the weekend at UK; it would be at Purdue. So, location wise, UK is the clear choice for me. I feel like I would be happier there than at Purdue. I get hung up, however, when comparing the schools' relative resources and rankings. I've been told that resources at UK are a bit scarce, and my impression has been that this is, indeed, the case. I've gotten the impression, for instance, that conference funding is only really available once you're ABD at UK. Purdue appears to offer more conference funding and also has various journals and centers that align with my research interests. Thus, I've gotten the sense that Purdue has more resources as well as more opportunities for me to get involved than UK would provide. I also know that Purdue is typically higher ranked than UK, though I have been told that gap is narrower than US News would have one believe, and that it is pretty narrow in my area of interest. Of course, resources and rankings only matter insofar as they help you with job placement, and on that front, if I am to believe what the schools have told me, UK and Purdue are fairly even with one another. Based off the statistics they've provided me, both have solid placement rates. UK provided ten years' worth of data, whereas Purdue provided 2012-2016. I am not sure what to make of that. And UK's TT placements also include a few community college positions, though I suppose job security is job security. Overall, I was impressed with the rates at both schools. I've been considering my choice for over a week now, since I got off the wait list at UK, and I keep wavering between the two. Both have been very kind, and both have worked to try to recruit me, which is very flattering. I do not want to say "no" to either program, even though I know I'll have to, and soon. I've realized lately that I kind of want to go to UK but feel as if I should go to Purdue. UK puts me closer to home, in a beautiful and still fairly familiar area. Purdue puts me in a more prestigious university with more opportunities. Though the difference does not appear to be reflected in their placement rates, I fear that Purdue has more to offer and that turning them down would be a mistake that could cost me down the line. I also wonder whether I should not get used to moving to far-off places now, since if I'm lucky enough to get a TT offer at a school on the other side of the country 5 years from now, I'll probably have to take it. Sorry for the long post. There are a lot of factors to this decision, and I want to be sure I make the right one. I welcome any and all advice. Thanks for reading this far!
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