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Stanford vs. Columbia (Chemistry)


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I can't make up my mind! Any input would be appreciated. Here are the facts:

Before visiting I was set on Stanford (wanted to go there since applying for undergrad), but I was really impressed by Columbia...

Cost of living seem to be very comparable between the two schools/cities.

Stanford and Columbia are both top 10, but I think Stanford is a bit higher regarded.

I am from CA+FL and hate cold weather but I have lived in Chicago for 3 years, so I think I could survive NYC for 5. But then again Chicago has made me REALLY miss warm weather...

Not that I plan on being one of those people who take forever to graduate, but Columbia has a rule that you will get your PhD in 5 years, which is reassuring.

I am probably more of an outdoors-oriented person, but all of the things available to do in NYC appeal to me too. So give up NYC for San Francisco, or give up the California outdoors opportunities for Central Park?

At Stanford it is possible that I would need a car (need to get a license, then buy a car), whereas in NYC I wouldn't. (But is it bad to put off getting a driver's license until I'm 26???)

I got a better feeling from the grad students and professors at Columbia than at Stanford.

There are fewer professors at Stanford I am interested in (2 taking 1 student or so each), but they are more highly regarded than the ones I like at Columbia (4 or so, taking 1-2 students, generally younger). Stanford professors are a bit more focused in the areas of research I want to be in, but I'm also very flexible.

I do not plan on becoming a professor. I will either go into industry or do art conservation science.

There are a lot more opportunities for conservation science work at Columbia, but work on this during my PhD is not necessary to go into the field later, and there is no guarantee I can incorporate conservation science into my PhD work.

Columbia would be closer to my immediate family and girlfriend, but I'd have to fly to any of those places anyways so not sure how much to weigh that.

Is there anything else I should consider? Thanks!

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