Jump to content
Bayesian1701

"Let's just TALK about it..." Decision Edition

Recommended Posts

2 hours ago, FishNerd said:

I agree so much! It really does feel weird to factor in funding because I feel like fit and how much you like a prospective program and area matters a lot too. Also my master's advisor has mentioned that at this stage in the game it's not about the money as long as whatever package you are given at a place is enough to where you are not going in debt during your PhD. However, when I told her about the fellowship I received at one of my schools (which is quite frankly a ridiculously high amount of money for a PhD student - it is almost double my offer at the other school) she said when the discrepancy is that much you kinda have to factor in the money. But choosing based off the money does make me feel greedy and weird so I really feel you Bumbleblu! I'm just really hoping my visits will help me figure out how much of my principles ("it's not about the money as long as I'm doing something I love!") I should stick to.

Also, if my partner gets rejected from the school with the fellowship I'm going to be really disappointed that that offer is kinda off the table then... But I worry by me being disappointed it will only make him feel worse about the rejection if that does happen (which I really don't think it will since he is such a great fit for his program there!).

I'm in a similar boat. For me it wasn't so much the amount of money but whether they would offer any. I applied to 7 programs and had a top 3, 2 of the 3 have accepted me with the 3rd school yet to notify me of a decision. One of the two that admitted me is pretty much out at this point since they said they could not offer me any financial support which is a massive deal breaker. Did make me feel a bit disappointed as the fit there is fantastic but can't go somewhere with no funding. On the flip side, if the 3rd school in my top 3 accepts me the funding packages may have to be the tie breaker between them and the other school that accepted me and offered funding. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Mopar18 said:

I'm in a similar boat. For me it wasn't so much the amount of money but whether they would offer any. I applied to 7 programs and had a top 3, 2 of the 3 have accepted me with the 3rd school yet to notify me of a decision. One of the two that admitted me is pretty much out at this point since they said they could not offer me any financial support which is a massive deal breaker. Did make me feel a bit disappointed as the fit there is fantastic but can't go somewhere with no funding. On the flip side, if the 3rd school in my top 3 accepts me the funding packages may have to be the tie breaker between them and the other school that accepted me and offered funding. 

That's disappointing that one of your top 3 doesn't offer any funding but I get it. I definitely would not be attending anywhere that is going to put me into debt because I didn't get funding. That's just not worth it. However, it is great that you have funding and an acceptance from one of your top 3! I hope you here more from your 3rd school in your top 3!

I guess I'll have to decide whether to use the funding as my tie breaker after I have my visits and see how I feel.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

RT to everyone feeling the imposter syndrome. I'm still in my final semester of undergrad and have about 100 pages of thesis work standing between me and my diploma, yet I keep coming up with grad-school related reasons not to work on those theses. A ) My thesis advisors are going to realize, by reading my theses, that I did not at all deserve to get into the schools I've gotten into so far. B ) I've already gotten into a couple awesome PhD programs, so why do I need to do all this work now? Also, it feels so absurd that top-tier professors are trying to court me to attend their program. I just got off the phone a little bit ago with a professor who personally knew ~Michel Foucault~, and he's actively trying to convince me that I should attend his program??

Ultimately, as for decision making, I know it's going to almost entirely come down to money, though. My stipend offers are almost the same at both schools I've been admitted to, but one school is in a big, expensive, East Coast city, and the other one is in a smaller, Midwest college town.

Edited by Monsieur Vénus

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank goodness other people are out there stressing about the same “good” thing. I have been told I have been nominated for fellowships or awards at all 4 schools I applied to. 2 schools require me to win the funding for admission. The PIs I am interested in wouldn’t be able to support me without them. I kinda hope that one of those schools will not pick me, just so I don’t have to factor all 4 places into my decision. It’s exciting to feel wanted, but I have had many interactions with a bunch of POIs. The courting and interview process has been overwhelming. The decision will not be easy. Between programs, POIs, cost of living, and moving.. there are a lot of variables to consider. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, GreenEyedTrombonist said:

Got into another school. Yay, but also, how tf am I going to visit all these places without taking time off my new job and then make a decision?

I totally understand and I am in a similar situation.  I am considering canceling a visit that hasn't been finalized yet.   They wanted me to drive 6-8 hours originally and I was trying to figure out to arrange a flight and it's not working out.   I don't know if it's worth it anymore considering my other offers.   Deciding if it is worth missing that many classes/work to go on multiple visits is tough.  Going to only 2 or 3 of the places is fine.  Use location, funding packages, and other details to pick a few places you are almost certain you don't want to attend.  If you really only want to go to one then just visit it.  You don't have to visit everywhere.    Which programs of the four do you really want to attend?  Go with your gut.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@Bayesian1701 So far I've gotten paid offers to visit three of the schools and have already attended one of these visits. The three schools all offer work I'd really enjoy and competitive stipend rates, but are in places I've never been before so I do feel the need to visit to get a feel for the department culture and if I'd even like the location. I probably won't be able to accept anymore visits, especially if they're in March. x] 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
21 hours ago, FishNerd said:

I agree so much! It really does feel weird to factor in funding because I feel like fit and how much you like a prospective program and area matters a lot too. Also my master's advisor has mentioned that at this stage in the game it's not about the money as long as whatever package you are given at a place is enough to where you are not going in debt during your PhD. However, when I told her about the fellowship I received at one of my schools (which is quite frankly a ridiculously high amount of money for a PhD student - it is almost double my offer at the other school) she said when the discrepancy is that much you kinda have to factor in the money. But choosing based off the money does make me feel greedy and weird so I really feel you Bumbleblu! I'm just really hoping my visits will help me figure out how much of my principles ("it's not about the money as long as I'm doing something I love!") I should stick to.

Also, if my partner gets rejected from the school with the fellowship I'm going to be really disappointed that that offer is kinda off the table then... But I worry by me being disappointed it will only make him feel worse about the rejection if that does happen (which I really don't think it will since he is such a great fit for his program there!).

I think this is an important!  Overall money you are offered should not matter, but it should matter in the context of the cost of living.  My cheap cost of living midwest cities offered me around 30k for each program (give or take a little), which is the norm for the area.  The schools in New York City or Bay Area offer anywhere between 35-40k, but students often have to seek out homes with multiple roommates or subsidized student housing because even 35k isn't enough.  30k is enough for a studio or 1 bed apartment in the cities I was looking to live in, though.  You won't live lavishly, but you should not need to take out any debt to keep you afloat.

Part of the reason I chose to stay in the midwest is personal/family reasons, but I also don't want to live in an absurdly high cost of living area.  Students are still able to live in those areas and make do, but I would not be comfortable with that cost of living.

Going into the application season, I felt weird stating one of my reasons for choosing to stay in the midwest because it's affordable to live in.  But it seems like the students and some of the faculty I met with during my interviews understood my dilemma.

Edited by StemCellFan

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, GreenEyedTrombonist said:

@Bayesian1701 So far I've gotten paid offers to visit three of the schools and have already attended one of these visits. The three schools all offer work I'd really enjoy and competitive stipend rates, but are in places I've never been before so I do feel the need to visit to get a feel for the department culture and if I'd even like the location. I probably won't be able to accept anymore visits, especially if they're in March. x] 

I saw you have Madison as one of your choices.  If you haven't visited the city before or want more information on the state of Wisconsin, I can give you some!  As far as the Communications department, I'm useless, unfortunately.

Edited by StemCellFan

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, StemCellFan said:

I think this is an important!  Overall money you are offered should not matter, but it should matter in the context of the cost of living.  My cheap cost of living midwest cities offered me around 30k for each program (give or take a little), which is the norm for the area.  The schools in New York City or Bay Area offer anywhere between 35-40k, but students often have to seek out homes with multiple roommates or subsidized student housing because even 35k isn't enough.  30k is enough for a studio or 1 bed apartment in the cities I was looking to live in, though.  You won't live lavishly, but you should not need to take out any debt to keep you afloat

I completely agree. When thinking about my funding offers I am for sure taking into account cost of living. The school where I have been offered the high paying fellowship (I'll just go ahead and make it clear since I do have them in my signature - this school is the U. of Arkansas) is in a relatively low cost of living area so even if my offers were the same the money would go farther at the school with the low cost of living. So the fact that I have also received even more money in Arkansas means it will go very very far. However, I know that between my offer and my partner's offer at the school with the higher cost of living (U. of Denver) we would not be going into debt but we would be living pretty tightly and probably not nearly as comfortably as at Arkansas. So it's kind of a weird place to be in (especially since this is all on the assumption that my partner receives an acceptance at Arkansas)...

Also my partner and I are are struggling with the possible decision because we kinda want to completely change up the area that we go to school in. For both our undergrad and master's we went to schools in a similar part of the country and similar sized towns as Arkansas so Denver would be quite the change for us. Neither of us have lived in a major city and it kinda seems like a PhD would be perfect time to test out if that type of environment would be something we are open to in the future. So there is a big appeal for adventure and new experiences at Denver that is also hard to look past. But a buttload of money is also hard to look past.

Gahhh it's awesome to have choices and feel wanted by these places but it's total agony for my indecisive nature!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 2/17/2018 at 12:32 AM, GreenEyedTrombonist said:

@Bayesian1701 So far I've gotten paid offers to visit three of the schools and have already attended one of these visits. The three schools all offer work I'd really enjoy and competitive stipend rates, but are in places I've never been before so I do feel the need to visit to get a feel for the department culture and if I'd even like the location. I probably won't be able to accept anymore visits, especially if they're in March. x] 

One of my schools is on the opposite coast, and I don’t have the time or money to visit. (The dog sitting bills are killing me, and the school doesn’t have a formal visit day.)  Instead, I’ve asked the program head to put me in touch with 2-3 current students and reached out to some recent graduates on my own. Between that and the chats I’ve had with the faculty, I’m confident I can make a decision.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 2/16/2018 at 7:40 PM, GreenEyedTrombonist said:

Got into another school. Yay, but also, how tf am I going to visit all these places without taking time off my new job and then make a decision?

I would say that you should ask them to schedule you skype meetings with some current grad students and your POIs.  You have a totally valid reason - you just started a new job and can't take time off.  It's not ideal, but it's better than nothing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't know where else to vent about this, but I'm starting to get incredibly stressed and my heart is hurting because I went through this process with my best friend, a beautiful soul who works her butt off, and she applied to a field where numbers are super competitive (my process is ~5 admits per 30-40 applicants, whereas hers is ~6 for 500+). I wanna talk about my options and the decision making process because she understands me more than anybody, but it's hard because she's still in the waiting game, and her top programs just did sweeping rejections. I am so lucky and always try to keep my blessings in perspective, but this is so emotionally draining, even after acceptance. :( Anyone else going through a similar situation? 

On a happier note, I'm on vacation from work and traveling a bit, and my visits start next week! I'm excited to finally see the programs and person and hopefully solidify a decision. All of the staff has been so incredibly nice and I'm pumped to be back in a university environment! 

 

Edited by madamoiselle

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, madamoiselle said:

I don't know where else to vent about this, but I'm starting to get incredibly stressed and my heart is hurting . . .

This!  I am sorry you are hurting and I hope your best friend gets some acceptances soon!

I was starting to think I was the only one going through this. Some of the people I'm closest to are also applying out but haven't heard back anything positive yet (we are in one of those very competitive field)... I would love to talk with them about my acceptances and upcoming visits, but instead I just try to be there for them since I know how hard the waiting game is. I don't mind doing emotional labor for people close to me (obviously) but bottling all my own emotions up is starting to get to me! It feels like what should be one of the happier times in this process is actually the most stressful! Instead of commiserating with all my friends who are waiting/rejected, I get to celebrate alone :/ I know I know, cry me a river. I am eternally grateful for being accepted anywhere, much less more than one place. 

Anyway, congrats on the acceptances and I hope your bestie gets the admits she deserves (even if they aren't from her top choices)! I am nervous but excited for my visits next week as well!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@E-P This is probably what I'll do. I scheduled the Madison visit before I knew about my new job, so I can work that one out, but I'll probably just ask for skype/email conversations with students at the other schools. :/

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I feel the same way. A good friend of mine classmate and someone who's definitely as good or maybe better than me has gotten 2 rejections and still waiting to hear back from 1 program, if he gets rejected he'll be done this cycle. Meanwhile I'm 3/3 with one visit/interview coming up and 2 programs still pending. I'm really excited but I don't like talking about it with him because I don't want it to come off as douchey. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

After reading about some of the survivor's guilt y'all are feeling.  I feel fortunate that I'm the only person from my MA program that I'm aware of who is applying this cycle!  There was one person who applied (and got in) last year - I guess it's a benefit of a small program.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I feel conflicted. I have only one acceptance. Now I love the research being performed at this school however the local region is not as suitable for me as it seemed like from online research. I have health conditions that I need to take care of and I worry that this area would not be suitable for my health as it is not as urban in person as the other schools I applied to. I feel silly thinking about not going to graduate school when I was accepted, but I also don't want to spend years at risk of harming my health due to being in a place with less access to the resources I need. I wish I had more options.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So far I have one acceptance, and have an interview tomorrow (which I'm super excited about).

I am however considering if I will go to the program that I got accepted into if I don't get an offer from the second school. It's a good program, but the faculty research fit isn't as good as I thought when initially applying and even then it wasn't as good a fit as the other places I applied to (but got rejected from, ironically). I'm also concerned about low funding - before I made a choice I'll definitely go back and see if I can bargain it up any higher and whereas I thought it would be 4 year course it turns out that my MA would not be "counted" so I would probably have to do it in 5 years. 

Having said that there are some amazing parts to the program, the POI seems lovely and there are some solid research opportunities. 

I think complicating this is that my career has also not got in the direction I'd hoped over the last year to say the least, so it feels even more of a strange thing to be thinking about not accepting an offer. 

Going on from here: 

- interview tomorrow - if I got a place here then decision made :) 

- take some time to think about, I'm going to go away mid-March for a week and I expect that a change of place will bring a change of persepctive

- possibly this might just be a reaction to a huge amount of change, both now (I have given up my apartment and am moving out in about 10 days) and anticipated, it's probably normal to get cold feet. And it might be the sign of making big decisions as a thirtysomething rather than a twentysomething - really carefully weighing and considering options rather than just jumping in. (This applies to me rather than necessarily other people on the forum. ;) )

- also, putting aside the "sunk cost" motivation; although I have put a huge amount of time and money into these applications, if at the end of the day I know that this isn't the right program or place for me, it will be better to cut my losses. And also it's OK to even consider this, being offered a place isn't a binding legal agreement. Even I chose not to take it up I would still know in my heart that I had pursued this option to the best of my ability. 

- wait for feedback from current students on what the course and college is like

Editing to realise that actually moving house is a big stressor for me after a traumatic divorce-related house-move as a teen. Definitely put decisions on ice until at least a few weeks after. 

Edited by Prosecco_dreams

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hey everyone! I'm not sure about where to ask this, but I was wondering if it's normal not to have received a funding package yet for a program I was accepted to around two weeks ago. It's a PhD program so I'm not worried I'll have no funding, but still I'm starting to get really anxious about it.

Btw, congrats to everyone on your acceptances!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Okay so I got an offer from a school (A) that I really wanted to go and accepted it. But a faculty from the school (B) that I was waitlisted contacted me and asked me whether I was still interested in the program. I *politely* told him that I decided to accept an offer from another school; Then he asked me the name of the school I accepted. Is this normal? Do the schools you have rejected ask you which school you accepted? Please let me know if anyone had similar experience!! 

Edited by Admissionplz

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@Admissionplz School's sometimes like to know who their competition is so that they can better persuade students to choose school B over school A  such as highlighting things B has that A does not. It helps them with future applicants so they can be prepared to make better offers etc. Also sometimes faculty B has peers at faculty A and I heard that they speak and may joke around like "you stole my student" etc etc. I wouldn't take it in a negative way.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here's my current dilemma... 

I got into my #2 school for a phd with full funding (USC), but the research isn't something i know much about. Whenever I work on a new project though, I end up really interested in the topic as I learn more about it. Plus, I feel like the department really wants me and like my advisor and I would fit really well.

Then last week I got into my #1 choice (stanford), which I never even dreamed of getting into. Financial aid decissions don't come out until the end of march, but they only give awards to around 9 of the 30-40 admits and from my understanding, it isn't like the funding package I was offered from the other school. This is a one-year MS program, and if you do well and there's funding available you get admitted to the PhD program the following year. The research I could potentially be doing after the MS is way more interesting to me, but without financial aid I'm looking at something like 60k in loans for a single year of study.

I'm really not sure how to decide between going to a great school for free or the best school and take out loans. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@1PhDplz what's the ranking/prestige difference?  If USC is also good and both of them would help you achieve your career goals the funding and security of knowing you can stay there until you complete are major pluses in my opinion.  Stanford sounds risky because you could not get into the PhD program or have to get debt (or even worse both).  How many spots do they typically have in their PhD program for those that did their MS?  Do you feel comfortable with getting 60k in debt or possibly not being able to finish?   I was in a similar situation except that the risky school wasn't my top choice and I decided not to do it and opt for the safer place.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.