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Qualitative decision between two schools

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School A:

  • Research / School
    • Amazing (and accomplished) advisor who has already offered me an RAship
      • Plans on getting me to publish in an archival journal within my first year -- and is willing to help guide me through the process
      • Might be able to continue (but from a different/new approach) with a topic I'm currently working on (and love) for my MS
    • There are other professors at the school who I would be happy working with if this doesn't work out for some reason
  • Location: Northeast US
    • Big exciting city
    • I do not tolerate cold well but I love winter sports
    • Would have to get rid of my car, but can walk everywhere easily
    • Never lived on the east coast, so it would be exciting new experience but I don't know if I'll like it


School B:

  • Research / School
    • School has a rotation program and professors refuse to commit until you've rotated with them
      • I will already have an MS, so I don't know if I want to delay productivity
      • I like the idea of exploring and not being committed, but I do not think I am likely to switch research topics so I am not likely to gain much from rotating
    • There are at least 5 professors I'd be okay/happy working with
    • School has unmatched connections with industry
  • Location: San Francisco Bay area
    • Suburban -- a negative for me
    • Close to tons of national/state parks and surfing
    • Beautiful weather year round, and San Francisco is amazing
    • Lived in the bay area for a few summers -- love the area


Other than these things, both schools are very well regarded in my field and I am fully funded at both. In addition, both stipends are comparable and cost of living is similarly high in both areas so cost is not really a consideration. Both have great (but distinct) grad school cultures.

If it helps with context, I am in electrical engineering with a focus on quantum optics. I plan to work in industry R&D on quantum information after completing my PhD. And I am from a warm climate.

Are there some qualities of the schools listed that I should be weighing more heavily than others? Does anyone have recommendations on the better choice or why I might choose one over the other?


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