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Tleach17

Princeton, Santa Barbara, Maryland, or Penn State for Geoscience

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I have PhD offers from Princeton, Maryland, Penn State, and UC Santa Barbara.  I feel blessed to have the offers I do, but I have no idea how I am going to decide between them.  Help!

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The questions asked by @Edelweiss8 will get you started. You'll also want to think about the research opportunities available, your fit (in terms of research interests and personality) with your potential labmates and PI, the professional development opportunities (trainings, workshops, conference funding, etc.), and the placement at each institution. Oh, and funding and average length of time to degree.

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I am broadly interested in hard rock geology and geochronology.  My undergaduate research experience lends itself well to igneous or metamorphic petrology.  I want to teach at a research university after a post-doc fellowship. I think my decision will largely come down to Santa Barbara, where I would work with a professor who is in the National Academy of Sciences, and Princeton where I would work with a well known geochronologist. I like the graduate students at both schools, and feel like there isn't much difference in social interactions at either school. Both positions are funded. The Princeton funding is a little better, but not so much better that I would make a decision based off of the stipend.

 

I guess I am wondering how much stock to put into 'who' my adviser would be.  How much does their career affect my career trajectory?  The opportunity to be at an Ivy is appealing, but so too is working with someone in The Nation Academy of Science.

 

Geographically, Santa Barbara is much more appealing than New Jersey.

 

I also have upcoming visits to Maryland and Penn State, and I suspect I will really like many aspects of those schools, advisers,  and opportunities as well.

 

I jokingly say I will choose a name out of a hat, because as of right now I am beleaguered by much anxiety in trying to decide where to go.

 

Thanks for your input

Edited by Tleach17

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Your advisor certainly matters. But, I wouldn't decide based solely on membership in NAS. I would also look at their publication record, how often they publish with their students (and what authorship position those students are in), post-PhD placement of their PhD students, and external funding those students get while in the degree program. 

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