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PhD in Chemistry - Choosing between programs

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Hi all,

I have been lucky enough to get into a couple chemistry PhD programs, and my choice has come down to Northwestern vs. Caltech. There are multiple professors at both schools that I would happily work for (2-3 at Caltech, at least 4 at Northwestern). Does anyone have any insight on the department atmospheres at these two schools?

At Caltech, I am worried that everyone is too competitive and focused on research 24/7. At Northwestern, my fear is that the program is so big that I won't get to know enough people to make friends. Also, before visiting either program, Caltech was by far my top choice, so it feels uncomfortable that I am not immediately choosing it now. Does anyone have any experience with these schools, or how input on how they made their grad school decisions?

Thank you!

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