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Waitlist and Help Me Decide Thread 2019

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18 minutes ago, MichaelMonroe said:

Help me decide: 

I need you guys to tell me I'm making the right decision. I've got 4 acceptances, but only 2 'real contenders' 

School A: 

  • Going into it this was my top choice 100%.
  • Developmental Psychology Program
  • The research fit is 80% overlap so I've got a lot in common but I'm not just copying my PI.
  • I've got access to my very hard to come by population of interest. 
  • Location is perfect. Medium sized city, about 2hr flight from home. (I'm currently an 8hr flight from home). 
  • Downsides:
  • The PI is very inexperienced. I'd be their very first ever grad student. Ever. 
  • It's a strong program (R1) but most people go to a post-doc before becoming a professor. (I know that's common)

School B: 

  • I didn't even consider this school before visiting/talking to the PI. 
  • HDFS program
  • The research fit is 60%, a decent overlap, but not as exciting as the other school. 
  • I've got access to my population of interest, but with adolescents not my ideal age group. 
  • The school has a mega emphasis on professional development. A lot of grant writing practice, certificate options in quant methods, a lecturing certificate, the ability to teach your own class, etc. (R1 university as well)
  • ~30% of graduates go immediately into a TT position. 
  • Two of the 5th year grad students I talked to said that they had multiple TT job offers and were able to be picky with which ones they selected. 
  • The PI is very experienced, but not 'old' or slowing down by any means. 
  • PI essentially said if I want publications/want to work for them, I'll get them. 
  • Downsides: 
  • I HATE the location. I think I will be miserable there. 
  • The university is located in a tiny town and there's nothing to do there, most people complain about how boring it is. Grad students say they hate living there. 
  • It's in a state that would still have me at an 8hr flight from home. 
  • Grad students have talked about being hyper-competitive and how they feel like they don't support each other. 

After all of this I'm still leaning towards school A, but I feel less confident in my career trajectory than before. I also feel like I will need to be more assertive with the PI and explicitly tell him what I need as far as mentoring goes. At the same time, I seriously don't think I'll thrive in the location of school B. The stipend is roughly the same for both schools when COL is accounted for. 

I would choose school A... in my experience, a new POI will be more receptive to feedback about mentoring. ~30% going on to TT positions is not impressive enough (in my opinion) to outweigh some major cons (research fit, location, and limited access to pop. of interest). 

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1 hour ago, MichaelMonroe said:

Help me decide: 

I need you guys to tell me I'm making the right decision. I've got 4 acceptances, but only 2 'real contenders' 

School A: 

  • Going into it this was my top choice 100%.
  • Developmental Psychology Program
  • The research fit is 80% overlap so I've got a lot in common but I'm not just copying my PI.
  • I've got access to my very hard to come by population of interest. 
  • Location is perfect. Medium sized city, about 2hr flight from home. (I'm currently an 8hr flight from home). 
  • Downsides:
  • The PI is very inexperienced. I'd be their very first ever grad student. Ever. 
  • It's a strong program (R1) but most people go to a post-doc before becoming a professor. (I know that's common)

School B: 

  • I didn't even consider this school before visiting/talking to the PI. 
  • HDFS program
  • The research fit is 60%, a decent overlap, but not as exciting as the other school. 
  • I've got access to my population of interest, but with adolescents not my ideal age group. 
  • The school has a mega emphasis on professional development. A lot of grant writing practice, certificate options in quant methods, a lecturing certificate, the ability to teach your own class, etc. (R1 university as well)
  • ~30% of graduates go immediately into a TT position. 
  • Two of the 5th year grad students I talked to said that they had multiple TT job offers and were able to be picky with which ones they selected. 
  • The PI is very experienced, but not 'old' or slowing down by any means. 
  • PI essentially said if I want publications/want to work for them, I'll get them. 
  • Downsides: 
  • I HATE the location. I think I will be miserable there. 
  • The university is located in a tiny town and there's nothing to do there, most people complain about how boring it is. Grad students say they hate living there. 
  • It's in a state that would still have me at an 8hr flight from home. 
  • Grad students have talked about being hyper-competitive and how they feel like they don't support each other. 

After all of this I'm still leaning towards school A, but I feel less confident in my career trajectory than before. I also feel like I will need to be more assertive with the PI and explicitly tell him what I need as far as mentoring goes. At the same time, I seriously don't think I'll thrive in the location of school B. The stipend is roughly the same for both schools when COL is accounted for. 

With the way you are describing it seems your heart is made up and wants to go to 1.

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1 hour ago, Joegeo said:

With the way you are describing it seems your heart is made up and wants to go to 1.

It really is. I was just blown away by the organization of the program for school 2, and by how organized the PI was. 

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1 hour ago, Clickingrefresh said:

I would choose school A... in my experience, a new POI will be more receptive to feedback about mentoring. ~30% going on to TT positions is not impressive enough (in my opinion) to outweigh some major cons (research fit, location, and limited access to pop. of interest). 

That's true that ~30% isn't amazing, but that's people getting TT right after graduation, not overall. I think that school B's immediate hire rate is even lower. 

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Please give me some suggestions:

I got an offer from program A. The location is amazing and my POI is super nice. However, the fundings are not guaranteed. I only get 9-month tuition wavier and 6-month RA in my first year (summer quarter status could be leave-out automatically).  In the future, it will depend on my performance to decide. Also, the program is quite small. It only has 3 faculty members and sends 1-2 offers each year.

Here is an issue: I need to apply for the fellowship (4-year funding) and the deadline will be March 8. But I am on the waitlist in program B. Program B is a big program and the funding package is quite great! The only shortcomings are the location and the university's reputation. 

Should I wait for the second program's news or just accept the first one's offer and apply for the fellowship?

 

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46 minutes ago, jennyshaw228 said:

Should I wait for the second program's news or just accept the first one's offer and apply for the fellowship?

Any way you can apply to the fellowship without accepting the offer? I did that for one of my programs and was offered a scholarship if I choose to attend. That way all your bases are covered.

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Anyone planning to decline University of South Florida? Currently on the waitlist and it's my top choice, so I'm really hoping to get an offer :) :( 

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30 minutes ago, clinicalnerd said:

Anyone planning to decline University of South Florida? Currently on the waitlist and it's my top choice, so I'm really hoping to get an offer :) :( 

who is your poi?

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What are some good questions to ask either a POI or current grad students to help decide on a program? I've gone through the standard online lists but I'm wondering if there's anything beyond advising style, cost of living + funding, grad student well-being, and outcomes after graduation that people might not realize to ask about before deciding.

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On 3/2/2019 at 4:56 PM, MichaelMonroe said:

Help me decide: 

From reading your post, it seems like school A is the right choice. You wrote about it passionately and the fact that you HATE the location of school B and you think you would be unhappy there is a major downfall; imagine how terrible your 4+ year experience would be if you hated where you lived and it wasn't even close to family? I also will be working with a -relatively new- PI at my school and I'm INCREDIBLY excited about it. From speaking with others in similar positions, newer PIs are 1) really motivated to publish and earn their tenure, 2) hands on, involved, and provide a lot of feedback and 3) in many cases, are more similar in age to you which sets the stage for a beautiful working relationship and deeper connections with that person than if you're working with someone that is 20-30 years older. Also, just because your main PI is newer, that doesn't mean you aren't also able to collaborate with and learn from the more experienced faculty! School A all the way

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2 hours ago, EigenVictor said:

What are some good questions to ask either a POI or current grad students to help decide on a program? I've gone through the standard online lists but I'm wondering if there's anything beyond advising style, cost of living + funding, grad student well-being, and outcomes after graduation that people might not realize to ask about before deciding.

Would also like opinions on this. I was pretty thorough in my initial interview for asking questions. I now need to decide between some current options and also keep communication up while I wait to see if I get off some waitlists. At a certain point I am going to run out of questions. 

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how much is area playing a factor in y'all's decisions? would y'all go to a quieter town that is farther away from bigger metropolitan cities if you really liked the program?

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18 minutes ago, sassyyetclassy said:

how much is area playing a factor in y'all's decisions? would y'all go to a quieter town that is farther away from bigger metropolitan cities if you really liked the program?

I would, yes, if I liked the program and the people there. I figure between the stipend and the work there’s not a ton of going out anyway. Location is a factor for me, but more in regards to cost of living. What does it matter if there’s stuff to do if I can’t afford to do it?

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23 minutes ago, sassyyetclassy said:

how much is area playing a factor in y'all's decisions? would y'all go to a quieter town that is farther away from bigger metropolitan cities if you really liked the program?

Honestly I'm giving it a lot more than I probably should. Something people have told me is to go where you can see yourself being happier (both in the program and the larger area), because if you're not happy in the area it could impact your performance in your program. Do you generally prefer larger cities to smaller towns?

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2 minutes ago, EigenVictor said:

Honestly I'm giving it a lot more than I probably should. Something people have told me is to go where you can see yourself being happier (both in the program and the larger area), because if you're not happy in the area it could impact your performance in your program. Do you generally prefer larger cities to smaller towns?

this is exactly my dilemma! i am visiting later on in the month to get a better vibe of the city bc i did my interview online. 

i don't really have a preference bc i have spent time in both big and small cities, but i am worried about building community outside the program without much to do outside school

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3 minutes ago, sassyyetclassy said:

this is exactly my dilemma! i am visiting later on in the month to get a better vibe of the city bc i did my interview online. 

i don't really have a preference bc i have spent time in both big and small cities, but i am worried about building community outside the program without much to do outside school

That's fair - if a community & friends outside of school is something you need to be successful in school then definitely give that some weight. Maybe the current grad students there have some insight on ways you can do it even in a smaller town (or realistic advice on how possible it is at the school). The grad students I've talked to have all been pretty open about things like that at their school.

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3 hours ago, sassyyetclassy said:

this is exactly my dilemma! i am visiting later on in the month to get a better vibe of the city bc i did my interview online. 

i don't really have a preference bc i have spent time in both big and small cities, but i am worried about building community outside the program without much to do outside school

I'm not worrying much about it (I'm moving from large west coast metro to small midwest town).

It's a new experience for sure and it isn't easy to be open to new and unknown things, but you're not the first person to move to Carbondale, IL. There is are communities waiting for you there if you're willing to step outside some comfort zones and give it a go. 

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20 minutes ago, personallycentered said:

I'm not worrying much about it (I'm moving from large west coast metro to small midwest town).

It's a new experience for sure and it isn't easy to be open to new and unknown things, but you're not the first person to move to Carbondale, IL. There is are communities waiting for you there if you're willing to step outside some comfort zones and give it a go. 

Thank you for your reassurance!! Yeah I think you’re right, I mean adjustment is difficult for everyone in their own ways and I’m sure the current students there probably went through similar things so perhaps asking them will help 

I just don’t know much about the city which I guess is causing me anxiety but that will hopefully be alleviated by the visit 

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24 minutes ago, sassyyetclassy said:

Thank you for your reassurance!! Yeah I think you’re right, I mean adjustment is difficult for everyone in their own ways and I’m sure the current students there probably went through similar things so perhaps asking them will help 

I just don’t know much about the city which I guess is causing me anxiety but that will hopefully be alleviated by the visit 

I know nothing about Carbondale, but I'll just share an anecdote. I'm from one of the largest cities in the country. I did my undergrad in another of the largest cities in the country. When I did my 1st masters I went to a school in the middle of nowhere. The downtown was like one block and there were 4 non-fast food restaurants. I was terrified! I thought there was no way I could survive small town life. Here's the surprising thing: I loved it! I thought I needed all the amenities of big city life, but I really didn't. I still go back and visit (and eat at one of the 4 restaurants) from time to time. It is now one of my favorite places on Earth. So, moral of the story: I know it's scary, but you might love it! 

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8 hours ago, humanisticPOV said:

From reading your post, it seems like school A is the right choice. You wrote about it passionately and the fact that you HATE the location of school B and you think you would be unhappy there is a major downfall; imagine how terrible your 4+ year experience would be if you hated where you lived and it wasn't even close to family? I also will be working with a -relatively new- PI at my school and I'm INCREDIBLY excited about it. From speaking with others in similar positions, newer PIs are 1) really motivated to publish and earn their tenure, 2) hands on, involved, and provide a lot of feedback and 3) in many cases, are more similar in age to you which sets the stage for a beautiful working relationship and deeper connections with that person than if you're working with someone that is 20-30 years older. Also, just because your main PI is newer, that doesn't mean you aren't also able to collaborate with and learn from the more experienced faculty! School A all the way

 

On 3/2/2019 at 6:03 PM, Joegeo said:

With the way you are describing it seems your heart is made up and wants to go to 1.

 

On 3/2/2019 at 5:19 PM, Clickingrefresh said:

I would choose school A... in my experience, a new POI will be more receptive to feedback about mentoring. ~30% going on to TT positions is not impressive enough (in my opinion) to outweigh some major cons (research fit, location, and limited access to pop. of interest). 

I committed to school A yesterday! 

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49 minutes ago, philopsych said:

I know nothing about Carbondale, but I'll just share an anecdote. I'm from one of the largest cities in the country. I did my undergrad in another of the largest cities in the country. When I did my 1st masters I went to a school in the middle of nowhere. The downtown was like one block and there were 4 non-fast food restaurants. I was terrified! I thought there was no way I could survive small town life. Here's the surprising thing: I loved it! I thought I needed all the amenities of big city life, but I really didn't. I still go back and visit (and eat at one of the 4 restaurants) from time to time. It is now one of my favorite places on Earth. So, moral of the story: I know it's scary, but you might love it! 

Thank you for your words, it helps a lot!!

I think I’m just overthinking this situation too much and I should just be patient and see how it is and let myself be open to new experiences like everyone said 

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17 hours ago, sassyyetclassy said:

how much is area playing a factor in y'all's decisions? would y'all go to a quieter town that is farther away from bigger metropolitan cities if you really liked the program?

I think going to visit will really help you decide ! I was choosing between two programs - one right outside a large city and one that is a medium sized town surrounded by a lot of very rural area and I thought there was no way I would like the town vs city. I was completely wrong. When I went to visit I was really surprised by how many restaurants and stores they had, current students shared multiple different community activities that they are involved in outside of school, and the people were just super friendly.  I quickly felt much more at home at the school in the smaller town. I think visiting is the only way you will know if its the right fit! 

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