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15 hours ago, Theory007 said:

I will of course not say that you have made a mistake in choosing Minnesota. If Minnesota outweighed Cornell in your mind that is all that matters. And no doubt, both are good programs.

One thing I will say is that programs, in my experience, "act" in very different ways towards accepted applicants. I was in a program once where the visiting day was truly perfect; everyone were super friendly, professors engaging, and people spoke unanimously about how great the place was, etc. But once I got there it was very quickly clear that a lot of what the program had displayed itself to be was more surface than anything. Students were in actuality not supported well and it basically turned out not a great place to be for someone who wanted to be a political science professional. After the first year, a third of my cohort was gone and I think only about half the people stayed beyond the second year.

The program I am in now is no doubt far more reputable. But there was barely any communication between myself and the university the summer before, and the visiting event was low key overall. The program however has turned out to be outstanding and everything I was hoping for when I began my grad applications way back. In my experience it looks like "weaker" programs (not saying that U. of Minnesota is weak of course) do what they can to retain the best of their application pool whereas stronger programs do not need to make as active an effort to appeal as well to the students who got first round offers. After all, if only few of them showed up they would likely still have a bunch of outstanding candidates to choose among for second round offers. Have others experienced something like this - stronger programs not making a great effort to appeal to accepted applicants?

My point is that while I am sure Minnesota is a good choice for you, had I been in your shoes, knowing what I know now, I would be apprehensive about turning Cornell down. I would really look more at the more objective standards of the program instead of what I perceive the program to be (which really can be skewed), and think I think would have lent favor to Cornell. But I have no doubt that you will do very well in Minnesota.

A good point.  Even after visit day, there's a lot I still didn't know (this was compounded by the fact that both visit days were virtual...)  I really, really tried to like Cornell and was very apprehensive about turning it down.  The extra $$$ Cornell has really made it hard, too.  At the end of the day, I just had a better gut feeling about Minnesota.  Hopefully it will turn out to be the correct decision.     

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