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UCLA or UW Seattle for Neuroscience?


eevee
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The more I think about this decision the more I can't decide!!! I made a spreadsheet with weighted points hoping it would help and they're BASICALLY TIED!!!!

For what it's worth: I'm interested in translational neuroscience, specifically considering either addiction or neurodegenerative diseases. I'm hoping to go into industry after getting my PhD. Both programs are interdisciplinary and draw professors from multiple departments. At both schools I met PIs that I really 'clicked' with and could see myself doing research with.  

How do I make this decision?!

 

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This is something I considered and honestly both locations have pros and cons -- cost of living is marginally higher in LA, but it rains all the time in Seattle, etc. 

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Have you reached out since to the PIs you clicked with? Are they both well established, or newer faculty? Would one have more power/resources/connections that could help you get a job later? Have you spoken with current students extensively? Considered how much you liked the current students and the people in your interview class (aka your future classmates)? Are there any professional development opportunities one school offers that the other doesn't (workshops, conferences, etc)?

When it comes down to it, you can't go wrong either way. 

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Thank you so much! I'll definitely pursue those leads as well :)

I see you applied for neuro this year too -- have you decided where you're going yet, and if so, how was your decision process?

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23 hours ago, eevee said:

Thank you so much! I'll definitely pursue those leads as well :)

I see you applied for neuro this year too -- have you decided where you're going yet, and if so, how was your decision process?

I just barely decided a few days ago. Got into way more great schools than I anticipated. Some of them were really a disappointment during the interviews, though, so they were easier to decline. Thankfully (?) I have a significant other moving with me whose job is kind of geographically limited so I had to decline some others because of it. Came down to 2 of my 3 post-interview favorites and had a horrible internal back and forth. After communicating with some faculty members again at each, and talking to everyone at my current institution (from lab techs to the director of my department), I made a decision.

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I know at least four or five people who got their PhDs in neuroscience at UW-Seattle and now work in industry. Two of them (including a close friend of mine) work with me at a large tech company as user experience researchers. The other ones I know are in their extended network; they all work at large, successful technology companies in industry. They generally had very positive experiences in grad school; some of them described their labs as feeling like a family, the department as tight-knit, and the training (both science and professional) as being very good. (I'm sure that UCLA has connections into industry as well; I'm just speaking about what I know second-hand. The industry in LA may be more diversified. Up here in Seattle, it feels like everyone works in tech, which isn't true but that's how it feels. That's great if you would like to work in tech and maybe not so great if you don't.)

I currently live in Seattle. It doesn't actually rain all the time here. We get less total rainfall than most major East Coast cities. It's very often gray here between November and April, and often there's a light drizzle or mist. The rain is so light most people walk around without umbrellas - I went to San Francisco for a business trip last week and was surprised to see all the people carrying umbrellas around, lol, because I'd gone so long without seeing people really having them. The temperature's usually mild; it doesn't get much below around 30-40 degrees in the winter and much over around 80 degrees in the summer (with the exception of one week, usually in July or August. There's always one week.) The summers here are absolutely beautiful, though. Mild and delightful with lots to do. And I actually don't really mind the winters that much. They're gray and it gets dark kind of early, but they're not cold.

LA, of course, has wonderful weather - bright and sunny year-round if you like that sort of thing, warm to very warm all the time. (I'm laughing at myself now because I'm making a face writing about it - I never thought I'd be the kind of person who appreciates the gray mistiness of Seattle, but I really like it!)

Seattle's rental prices are expensive but not compared to LA. This is going to be the less expensive place to live as a grad student.

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