Jump to content

Grad life in DC vs. Philadelphia?


Recommended Posts

I'm torn right now between two PhD programs that are both great research fits for me. The faculty in both programs seem great, the students have all been awesome, and the campuses both offer a similar level of research opportunities. My decision is now coming down to quality of life in both cities. The stipend in DC is lower but requires less contact hours for work throughout the week. Philadelphia offers a stipend that's higher and is for the full 12 months, instead of just 9.5. Does anybody have an idea what grad life is like in either Philadelphia or DC? Any insight is appreciated! 

Link to post
Share on other sites

I live in the DC area, though I'm an NIH postbac rather than a grad student. There's lots to do in downtown DC but going out is pretty expensive in terms of food/drinks. Housing is also pricey. One big plus is that the metro system is excellent, so you probably don't need a car for commuting or going downtown. Happy to answer any specific questions you may have.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I live in Philly, am an adjunct at Temple and will likely be doing my PhD there starting this fall. Cost of living here is very reasonable here and there is a lot to do all the time. I feel like both cities offer similar cultures and weather environments as they are fairly close. I'm happy at Temple so far, the faculty are all good and interested in their students and there is a community here. Just have to be careful in the surrounding neighborhoods, but you learn to navigate the city quickly.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I don’t have much experience with Philly, but am likely moving there in the fall to do my masters, but I currently live in DC. I’m not sure how concerned with money you are but the cost of living in dc is quite a bit higher than in Philly, so the stipend won’t go as far. However there are a lot of things to do in dc and many of them are free like the museums and such so there are some ways to save money. As the other poster said, rent and food and drink are pricey in dc. There are lots of group houses where you could get a room in a house of 3 or more people for like 1000 in an ok area, but living alone or in a 2 bedroom will be quite a bit more. As the other poster said no need for a car in dc and if u do have a car insurance is really high if you register it to dc. I lived in dc and va and had the same insurance and it was $60 cheaper a month in va. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 3/8/2019 at 11:47 AM, maya123z said:

I live in the DC area, though I'm an NIH postbac rather than a grad student. There's lots to do in downtown DC but going out is pretty expensive in terms of food/drinks. Housing is also pricey. One big plus is that the metro system is excellent, so you probably don't need a car for commuting or going downtown. Happy to answer any specific questions you may have.

Housing is the part that’s making me pretty nervous. Everything seems to be at least $1000 even with a roommate. Where do grad students actually live?

Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, Aatt said:

I don’t have much experience with Philly, but am likely moving there in the fall to do my masters, but I currently live in DC. I’m not sure how concerned with money you are but the cost of living in dc is quite a bit higher than in Philly, so the stipend won’t go as far. However there are a lot of things to do in dc and many of them are free like the museums and such so there are some ways to save money. As the other poster said, rent and food and drink are pricey in dc. There are lots of group houses where you could get a room in a house of 3 or more people for like 1000 in an ok area, but living alone or in a 2 bedroom will be quite a bit more. As the other poster said no need for a car in dc and if u do have a car insurance is really high if you register it to dc. I lived in dc and va and had the same insurance and it was $60 cheaper a month in va. 

That’s great info!! Should I just look on Craigslist to try to find a group house? 

Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, FutureEdPHD said:

Housing is the part that’s making me pretty nervous. Everything seems to be at least $1000 even with a roommate. Where do grad students actually live?

I think a lot of people live outside DC and commute in on the metro. You can find apartments there in the $700-$800 range if you have roommates. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, FutureEdPHD said:

That’s great info!! Should I just look on Craigslist to try to find a group house? 

Yeah in the housing room share section of craigslist there are tons. If you need any neighborhood info I would be happy to give suggestions on some suggestions on the different neighborhoods.

Link to post
Share on other sites
49 minutes ago, paraent said:

If I had the choice, I'd pick Philly. It's much cheaper to live there and that your stipend there is *higher* relative to the DC one aggravates the difference. Not sure how big a load the contact hours requirement is, though.

I'm somewhat leaning toward Philly because the cost of living is so much cheaper. I can easily find a room share close to Temple for 500-600 and I've seen a few others that are even cheaper than that. The only issue with the fellowship is that it's 29 hours that I'd be actively working for a nonprofit each week. With that amount of work hours plus 3 doctoral level classes, I'm unsure what my personal quality of life would be. I worked full time as a teacher while I was getting my masters, so I'm not stranger to working and going to school BUT I was hoping that I wouldn't have to live that life again while getting my PhD.

Link to post
Share on other sites

The answer is simple: D.C. will require you to breath the same air as the likes of Donald "Why Don't People Worship Me?" Trump and Philadelphia is a literal garbage fire of a city.  🤔  Maybe it is a difficult answer after all.  Live in a garbage fire or near one.  🤔  Real head scratcher.

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 3/11/2019 at 2:44 PM, Ternwild said:

The answer is simple: D.C. will require you to breath the same air as the likes of Donald "Why Don't People Worship Me?" Trump and Philadelphia is a literal garbage fire of a city.  🤔  Maybe it is a difficult answer after all.  Live in a garbage fire or near one.  🤔  Real head scratcher.

As someone who knows both cities pretty well. This made me die 😂 There's a reason people say Philly is the armpit of the mid-atlantic. Both cities have lots to do but as others have said DC is more expensive. That being said, college park is actually a bit cheaper than DC because it is still in MD and it's in PG county, which is another armpit. Temple is more integrated into Philly itself, but College park has a "college town" feel because it's not actually in DC and the entire city exists to serve UMD. If you're looking for super urban city feel then you should go with Temple. College park is definitely urban, but not like Temple. The public transport in DC is pretty good, but I would still want to have a car at UMD because it's not actually in the city. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
13 hours ago, crackademik said:

As someone who knows both cities pretty well. This made me die 😂 There's a reason people say Philly is the armpit of the mid-atlantic. Both cities have lots to do but as others have said DC is more expensive. That being said, college park is actually a bit cheaper than DC because it is still in MD and it's in PG county, which is another armpit. Temple is more integrated into Philly itself, but College park has a "college town" feel because it's not actually in DC and the entire city exists to serve UMD. If you're looking for super urban city feel then you should go with Temple. College park is definitely urban, but not like Temple. The public transport in DC is pretty good, but I would still want to have a car at UMD because it's not actually in the city. 

Plenty of graduate students live in Tacoma Park or Hyattsville and trade a short commute to campus for easy(ier) access to DC. One does not have to live in College Park. In terms of pure location, I would take UMD hands down.

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 3/13/2019 at 8:41 AM, crackademik said:

As someone who knows both cities pretty well. This made me die 😂 There's a reason people say Philly is the armpit of the mid-atlantic. Both cities have lots to do but as others have said DC is more expensive. That being said, college park is actually a bit cheaper than DC because it is still in MD and it's in PG county, which is another armpit. Temple is more integrated into Philly itself, but College park has a "college town" feel because it's not actually in DC and the entire city exists to serve UMD. If you're looking for super urban city feel then you should go with Temple. College park is definitely urban, but not like Temple. The public transport in DC is pretty good, but I would still want to have a car at UMD because it's not actually in the city. 

After I visited Temple yesterday, I decided to commit there. It came down to cost of living and the type of life that I want to live and Philadelphia won out pretty easily. I've always loved living in the heart of cities and College Park is just too much of a college town for me. Even though it's super close to DC, i'd never be able to afford living in DC as a grad student. Thanks for the help!!

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.