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


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You guys all being picky when you got admissions with funding when most of us won't even get a single admission...

@sprklinthe I get that this can be a sore subject, but that's actually why this thread was made. I didn't get in anywhere last year and it hurt. Luckily, there are multiple places to discuss that (and

I'm not entirely sure how to decide. I seriously figured I would at best bat 1/7 but I have two offers and one visit invite. Still waiting to hear back from my top choice program. Somewhere deep

Ugh, trying to make a decision sucks. So, I only applied to one program for undergrad, only applied to one (the same school) for grad, and now I'm faced with having to make a decision that's going to take me far away from my family for the first time. I'm freaking out about housing, living costs, feeding myself, coursework, and making sure I'll be doing research and TAing from the start. 

On the plus side, I get to ogle some pretty houses (that I won't be able to afford). x] 

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I'm not entirely sure how to decide. I seriously figured I would at best bat 1/7 but I have two offers and one visit invite. Still waiting to hear back from my top choice program.

Somewhere deep down I was hoping I wouldn't have had to make a choice lol.

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15 hours ago, Mopar18 said:

I'm not entirely sure how to decide. I seriously figured I would at best bat 1/7 but I have two offers and one visit invite. Still waiting to hear back from my top choice program.

Somewhere deep down I was hoping I wouldn't have had to make a choice lol.

OMG, SAME. I applied to my dream program with no hope of getting in. I just knew I would regret not trying. Now I have an acceptance, and I'm freaking out about the cost of living in that city and feeling guilty about picking it over a more reasonably priced location.

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OHHH Thank you so much for this thread!

Well, I finally have all my results except for Stanford, who have invited me over for a campus visit and afterwards will officially accept or reject me. Funding-wise only 2 schools have released the info, but the other 3 have informally told me they can offer full funding!

Where am I decisions-wise right now?

-There is one school I'm particularly excited about but I must wait to hear more! Nothing set in stone.

-I have scheduled 3 campus visits which will also inform my decision. I am excited about getting to know faculty, departments and cities. You can't really fully know a school and city in 2 days, but oh well. Such is life.

-One school seems like it has a nice community, but the stipend they offered me is relatively low, if affordable for the area. The area also worries me a little--I want to live in a more urban environment. Still, I am hesitating to say no yet because my parents have asked me to wait until after my campus visits.

- I feel like I'm too old to obey my parents in this regard, but what they're saying is valuable. Patience is key.

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19 hours ago, Mopar18 said:

I'm not entirely sure how to decide. I seriously figured I would at best bat 1/7 but I have two offers and one visit invite. Still waiting to hear back from my top choice program.

Somewhere deep down I was hoping I wouldn't have had to make a choice lol.

Same.  I really wanted just one.  

I know with a high degree of certainity what I want to do my dissertation on so I basically said that in my SOP whether they had someone doing that or not (most don’t).  I figured this way it would make my decision easier and I would get to spend another four years on the problem.   It's my niche and I am lucky to have found it so young.  I have five acceptances so far and I am wondering if they actually do support me continuing my research.   I guess I'll find out on visits.  One program commented that I should go there because they would let me continue it so hopefully it will work out.   I tried to make a ranking system but I think I might go on a gut feeling based on visits.

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4 hours ago, iwearflowers said:

OMG, SAME. I applied to my dream program with no hope of getting in. I just knew I would regret not trying. Now I have an acceptance, and I'm freaking out about the cost of living in that city and feeling guilty about picking it over a more reasonably priced location.

Same!!! I applied to my top choice program thinking it a long shot that was unrealistic. I had no hopes of getting accepted, but then I did. They offered to fully fund me for all four years, but another program (my second choice) gave me a far more generous offer. So now I feel kind of... stuck. I want to go to my top choice, but at the same time I don't want to accrue more debt. I feel guilty not accepting that school because of its reputation, but it is honestly a bad decision to turn down the school that gave the more generous offer. I'm visiting both schools a week from now so hopefully that will help settle it. 

Still waiting on one last school. I'm kind of hoping that I don't get into it to be honest so that the decision is easier. 

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@sprklinthe I get that this can be a sore subject, but that's actually why this thread was made. I didn't get in anywhere last year and it hurt. Luckily, there are multiple places to discuss that (and the worry when waiting) on this forum. This thread was specifically created so that there would be a place for those with admissions to let off stress without making those still waiting feel bad. 

Best of luck with your programs! Hopefully, you'll be joining us in worrying over the decision process soon enough! <3 

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I'm waiting to hear on funding, not sure when that will be. I have two acceptances for MA programs (yes, there is hope of funding with both of them). I have enough to keep me distracted, but still obsessively checking my email.  

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4 hours ago, Bayesian1701 said:

Same.  I really wanted just one.  

I know with a high degree of certainity what I want to do my dissertation on so I basically said that in my SOP whether they had someone doing that or not (most don’t).  I figured this way it would make my decision easier and I would get to spend another four years on the problem.   It's my niche and I am lucky to have found it so young.  I have five acceptances so far and I am wondering if they actually do support me continuing my research.   I guess I'll find out on visits.  One program commented that I should go there because they would let me continue it so hopefully it will work out.   I tried to make a ranking system but I think I might go on a gut feeling based on visits.

I just don't want to have to email a POI and tell them I'm rejecting the offer. I've spoken and developed some good relationships with some professors so I feel a little bad. Ultimately, gotta pick the best overall fit.

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I was rejected from both of my top choices in terms of research fit and left with two schools that only had one professor I was interested in. I feel bad for being disgruntled because they are both good schools (otherwise I wouldn't have applied haha). I hope visit weekends change my mind in terms of what research is actually going on and the flexibility and freedom of doing what interests you, otherwise I'm looking at staying at my job which I absolutely love (and pays much better haha). I have my first visit coming up this weekend which is rather exciting!

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Haven't even done all my interviews yet and already freaking out about not loving schools I thought I wanted to go to, loving schools I didn't think I wanted to go to, deciding between prestige and comfort, and figuring out how my decision will affect my significant other's career.

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Accepted to my top choice and I'm pretty sure I'm going, but worried about turning down an offer at a school I used to work at where I know a lot of the faculty/adcoms and my PI there was one of my letter writers :(

Is anyone else thinking about accepting an offer early? I know we have until April 15th but my cycle is complete (besides not hearing from UC-Denver but..whatever). I figure the earlier I accept the more time I have to plan and look for housing/etc. 

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@synapticcat I'm still waiting on decisions, but I plan to accept in March. I should have enough information by the end of the month to make a choice and that leaves time for the schools I turn down to get someone off the waitlist before April 15th. Still doing my due diligence to make sure I choose the best program for me, but if you know where you want to go, why wait?

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4 hours ago, synapticcat said:

Accepted to my top choice and I'm pretty sure I'm going, but worried about turning down an offer at a school I used to work at where I know a lot of the faculty/adcoms and my PI there was one of my letter writers :(

Is anyone else thinking about accepting an offer early? I know we have until April 15th but my cycle is complete (besides not hearing from UC-Denver but..whatever). I figure the earlier I accept the more time I have to plan and look for housing/etc. 

I have admits from 2 of my top 3 but what at the moment I think is my top choice has yet to reach out. That's one of the reasons I am still holding out but once that chip falls I will start making my move. Hoping to have made my decision by mid maybe late March. 

If I had all the chips and was sure of where I was going to end up I would absolutely commit well before April 15th. 

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I'm also planning to make my decisions as soon as possible. I've already eliminated one program, so I'm going to send them an email this week so they can offer my spot to another student. Plus, the longer I stew over this the longer I'm stressed out and not sleeping well. I'm ready to be focused on other things.

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For me, right now, my biggest decision comes down to my spouse.  He won't have to change jobs (he can work remotely), but his family is a lot closer to one university than the other.  He says it doesn't matter, and he'd be happy with either, but I still have to consider his support system.

Of course, the one university that I'm still waiting on (decisions out next week) is where my family and support system is.  So there's that too.  But I'll make a new support system at whichever university I go to....right?

One of my advisors told me not to make any decisions one way or another until you visit campus and talk with people; his decision changed due to that visit.  So I'm trying to keep an open mind.  Two campus visits over the next two weeks will hopefully help.

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So who else is struggling with impostor syndrome in making their decision?   I know that the adcoms must have thought I could succeed in the program,  but I feel like they don't realize that I am not actually as great as they think I am and will fail quals and have to leave.   I literally only applied to a certain program because it had a free application so why not? It was a total impulse decision.     And then I got in and realized that they are tied for #10 in my field.  It's not that I don't want to go there, but I seriously doubted that I would ever get in.  Am I at 21 years old ready to start a top ten PhD program?   I thought I would be limited to second-tier programs and now that I have gotten in places across the spectrum I have no idea where I want to go.   I know many people would love to have 4 funded offers at great programs but it kinda sucks.   I envy those who get a single offer.  I know I should pick the better programs if I want a TT job at a great statistics department, but I don't know if that's what I want.   Should I go to the place where I know I'll graduate and be successful and may not have the opportunities I would have elsewhere?  And I haven't heard from my first choice yet,  and considering my success so far I think I will get in (it's nowhere near as competitive as some of my other programs),  but you never know.  I just felt like I belonged there.   The base stipend is best,  the completion rate is the best,  the male/female ratio domestic/international ratio is good,  the professors are great,  the structure is great.  It's perfect for me,  but I haven't been accepted yet.  I thought my stress levels would be better once I got my first offer,  but it has gotten worse.  

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17 minutes ago, Bayesian1701 said:

So who else is struggling with impostor syndrome in making their decision?   I know that the adcoms must have thought I could succeed in the program,  but I feel like they don't realize that I am not actually as great as they think I am and will fail quals and have to leave.   I literally only applied to a certain program because it had a free application so why not? It was a total impulse decision.     And then I got in and realized that they are tied for #10 in my field.  It's not that I don't want to go there, but I seriously doubted that I would ever get in.  Am I at 21 years old ready to start a top ten PhD program?   I thought I would be limited to second-tier programs and now that I have gotten in places across the spectrum I have no idea where I want to go.   I know many people would love to have 4 funded offers at great programs but it kinda sucks.   I envy those who get a single offer.  I know I should pick the better programs if I want a TT job at a great statistics department, but I don't know if that's what I want.   Should I go to the place where I know I'll graduate and be successful and may not have the opportunities I would have elsewhere?  And I haven't heard from my first choice yet,  and considering my success so far I think I will get in (it's nowhere near as competitive as some of my other programs),  but you never know.  I just felt like I belonged there.   The base stipend is best,  the completion rate is the best,  the male/female ratio domestic/international ratio is good,  the professors are great,  the structure is great.  It's perfect for me,  but I haven't been accepted yet.  I thought my stress levels would be better once I got my first offer,  but it has gotten worse.  

of course your concerns are reasonable, but I think sometimes it's good to accept that other people may be able to evaluate you even better than you can evaluate yourself, especially if it is their job to do so. if you are really concerned about your ability to succeed in some places, I don't think it would be out of line to mention your concern to a professor and see what they say. if they know your application they may be able to relate their program to things you have already experienced.

also, I don't think a university's higher ranking means their educational program is harder. you sound like you have looked into some objective measures of difficulty, like completion rate, but I wouldn't take ranking to be one of them. talk to students at different places and see what they think about the difficulty of the programs.

in the end, one possibly less stressful way to think about it is that the most important thing you will do in grad school is learn.  the amount you learn in grad school will influence your success later on whether its in academia or elsewhere. so think about in what environment you will learn the best, not necessarily accomplish the most, because I think that is harder to think about and predict.

good luck with your top choice!

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I'm so stressed out with making a decision, that it's actually keeping me up at night. 

I have three great schools that I'm all locked and loaded to visit. However, I feel like my final decision is going to be between two. 

One has been a favorite of mine for a very long time, but their funding is notoriously difficult and it's in a RIDICULOUSLY expensive region, so finding housing is famously near-impossible. This being said, the department environment is awesome and I've been told that I'd fit right in (by old professors and faculty at the school themselves). They're a gigantic school with tons of professional options and training for students, have a graduate-student run journal that's really prestigious, etc. They're giving me five years of funding, but completion tends to be 6 or 7 (I only have a B.A.) and after 5 years, I've heard it's sink or swim. That is really not the dilemma I want to be facing as an already-broke PhD student. 

The other school is a smaller school in the Ivy League. Ranking/prestige are about the same in my field. Their funding is ridiculously generous (I'm still in shock at how good it is, and that will most likely be the deciding factor). However, the environment issue is really stressing me out. I almost wish I could just push that school somewhere else. This was a relatively new school on my watch list, so I haven't been hyping it up as much as the first school, but they've been really impressing me with how well put-together they are and how good the fit is! 

I know that campus visits will help a lot, but I'm still stressed. To make it even harder, every single person I've been in contact with at every institution has been way, way too nice for me to even stomach the thought of turning down their offer. There's one school in particular (the rough funding one) where I feel like the staff have been my friends for years. I'm an empath and am also extroverted, so I love personal interaction and also become emotionally attached quite easily. I know this isn't the most important part of picking a program, but it is weighing on me. 

/end vent! 

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