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Hello All,

So now is the time when decision will be rolling out and yet another stress full era of the graduate school application drama will begin. Many people will be asking the same thing if they should go to a higher ranked graduate school or remain closer to home. (in-state vs out of state, funding etc).

I have been wondering about the value (overall education , post graduation placements etc) of going to a higher ranked school. Well if you go to a top 5 school it might be a different story but how about others. Do you think there will be much difference in going from a school ranked in 30s and 40s to a school ranked in 20s. Or between the schools ranked in 11-20 VS 5-10.

Is it the brand name that people go after? Is it worth going after the brand name?

Any thoughts.

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If you are academy bound, I would definitely factor in ranking. While it shouldn't have a huge impact, it does. Big brand names matter a lot, probably because most faculty members are from those big brand name schools and it is self-perpetuating.

If you are industry bound, I would factor in location more than ranking, as long as the school is fairly well known. Especially consider where you would like to live after you graduate, since it's much easier to get a job in the region you get your PhD.

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I think it depends on your area and if you want to continue to a PhD. I get the sense from people on these boards that if you are wanting to continue on in a PhD, ranking is more important. If you are studying in a subject that you will immediately go into the workforce straight from school, rankings don't matter as much. This is just my opinion of course related to my field in health. For my program, you need to get certified after grad school anyways, so this will determine your knowledge/skill and make sure everyone is on the same page, no matter what school you went to and where it falls in the rankings. I'd just look into the individual programs to determine what will best suit you for the future.

I think rankings are skewed. My undergrad school is pretty highly ranked, but honestly, when I was going there I didn't think it was all that great. Most of the items that schools are ranked on don't necessarily affect students directly that it would make a huge difference to your everyday school life. Of course if you are doing a PhD, funding to the university would be a big issue, which is a ranking subject.

I personally think that fit is a stronger point to go on when choosing where to attend and maybe back that up with a bit of knowledge of the rankings. I don't think the rankings should be the single factor in determining where you go. Just because a school is ranked highly, doesn't mean you will like it. People in the workforce usually don't care if you went to school #3 or school #33m-- they just want a competent worker that knows their stuff.

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