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choosing between similarly-ranked programs

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hey—was wondering if anyone is choosing between similarly-ranked programs (i.e. multiple top 30, top 20, or top 10 schools), and how you're making your decision, given everything that's going on (cancelled recruitment days & inability to visit, etc.)

Edited by scotty2
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I’m deciding between a school ranked 27 and a school ranked 30, and it’s pretty brutal. With numbers that close, I’m inclined to just remove “school ranking” from my decision-making process, but it’s still there in the back of my mind. 

Since ranking isn’t necessarily as much of a dealbreaker in my situation, I’m trying to evaluate programs based on a few other big-ticket factors: stipend amount (keeping in mind relative cost of living), teaching load, years of support, opportunities for summer/additional funding, and recent PhD placements. I’m also comparing past and future grad seminars to see which school’s catalog most intrigues me.

I’m also taking into account the tenor of the interactions I’ve had with the DGS, the program admin, and faculty to get a sense of the overall “feel” of each program. I was able to visit one of my schools in-person but definitely won’t have a chance to visit the other, so that’s making things a bit lopsided, unfortunately... 

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