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Hey everyone,

International student, got accepted to UCSD, USC, UCSB, and UMD Ph.D. programs (with many other rejections) in order to study bioinformatics as concentration area. It would be nicer if I showed the smartness of posting this question before finalizing my decision, nevertheless, I just wanted to know where you would prefer going, for what reason, if you were to decide between those 4.

Here were the offers:

UCSD: $19,000 for 9 months (financial aid available during 3 months for summer if I choose to stay and continue doing research instead of an internship.)

USC: $30,000 for 10 months (Provost's Fellowship - same situation applies for summer)

UCSB: $16,600 for 9 months

UMD: $20,500 for 9 months

at USC, I was admitted to the Computational Biology/Bioinformatics Dept. under the Biology department (not Computer Science). For the others, the admitting department was Computer Science and Engineering.

Professor-wise: (I was pretty interested with the research in all 4 places.)

USC: 15 professors working under the program.

UCSD: 3 professors doing bioinformatics under CSE, (I got a reference letter from 2 of them, so I'm quite familiar with their work.)

UMD: >3, still as good as UCSD & USC.

UCSB: only 1. (it -kind of- was my safety school)


Almost same for all 4. (as far as I know)


UCSD: I lived there 1 year, last year (as an exchange student) -- pretty but VERY serious campus, city not extremely expensive, 25 min to the Pacific Ocean on foot (less, if you run :P )

USC: Downtown Los Angeles, heard from a Ph.D. student that it was located very near the ghetto area, there. EXTREMELY pretty and relaxed campus, good social life, but inland, and more expensive than others.

UCSB: By the beach, AMAZING campus, (social life rocks, there). Small city (Santa Barbara), not expensive.

UMD: Near Washington D.C., looks like a cool campus, too. doesn't have California climate, apparently. Guess not as expensive as the L.A., either.

What I did: I chose UCSD, because I didn't want to go to a ("not the safest place on earth") place (USC) for 5 years, even though they gave a lot of money, and thought it woulnd't matter since L.A. is pretty espensive. (I'm still in love with its campus, though :c ). Rejected UCSB because the bioinformatics wasn't that strong, there. And the only reason why I favored UCSD over UMD was because I knew the the environment, professors and I already took part in a research project during summer with one of them, and it was located in California.

Anyone attending to one of the schools I mentioned?, or would like to express their choices on a similar situation?

Any comment highly appreciated!

Edited by Doruk
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