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Hi. I am choosing between UW, UT Austin, and Columbia. I have mostly eliminated Columbia for research-fit reasons, and I don't want to live in a cold place. Choosing between UW and UT, and it's extremely hard. I think that living conditions would be the primary deciding factor. Being international, I cannot visit. Can someone here possibly compare Seattle and Austin? 

Also, a number of my friends have been poking me about earthquakes in Seattle. Whats the reality? Is Seattle a disaster prone and unsafe city at the moment?

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I've never been to Austin, so I'm sorry that I can't answer your other question very well, but I've lived in Seattle my whole life. It is true that the city is in an area that is statistically "due" for a large earthquake (it happens on average every 300 years, and it's been about 315 years since the last one), but in my time here, I've only ever been in one medium-sized earthquake. While it's smart to be prepared, I don't think Seattle is disaster-prone or unsafe. A lot of the buildings here, especially newer ones, are built with earthquakes in mind.

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Hello everyone, I have mostly decided to join UW. Just a few questions before I finally make up my mind:

  1. I have been offered a monthly stipend on $2250 pre-tax. Considering the cost of living, is this enough for a comfortable living?
  2. If I share an apartment with someone else (2 people in 2 bedroom apartment) - how much is it likely to cost me? 
  3. I fear that I may be underpaid since a few from CSE and EE reported higher stipends last year. If someone from CSE, EE, or other engineering departments are out there, can you please share your comments?

Most importantly, should I be worried for my safety, life, or livelihood due to the disaster prone nature of the city? UW is great and all, but I wouldn't want to put myself in a big danger. @Tigris any comments?

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The cost of living in Seattle is definitely higher than average, but I think that $2250 should be enough to comfortably live on, if you are planning to share an apartment with someone else. When I lived near UW, I was paying $1200 a month for a one-bedroom, but I didn't share with anyone. There are definitely 2-bedrooms available for around $1800, especially north of campus, so I would estimate paying around $900 a month.

I might be biased because I've lived here for so long, but I really wouldn't worry too much about the earthquake danger. I would avoid living in any old brick buildings, but overall Seattle is built to withstand most earthquakes.  I don't want to say that there is no risk of damage from earthquakes, because that's definitely not true, but I feel perfectly safe living here and having an earthquake preparedness kit in my car. In the one earthquake I have been in here (6.8 magnitude), one person died, and it was from a heart attack.

Believe me, I completely know how you are feeling! It is a difficult decision to make, and it's good that you are considering these things. I might be moving to Miami to start grad school in the fall, and I'm a little worried not knowing what to expect about hurricanes!

Let me know if you have any other questions and I'll do my best to answer them. Congrats on your acceptances! :)

 

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I'm a UW grad student and I get paid less than $2250 a month, and i do just fine. Grad students are unionized so the salary schedules are all online: https://www.grad.washington.edu/students/fa/salaries/salary-schedules.shtml Having a Masters degree also affects your pay, so possibly others who reported higher stipends had Masters degrees already. 

Seattle is an increasingly expensive city, but there are still plenty of inexpensive neighborhoods. I live in North Seattle and I pay less than $1200 for a 900+ sq ft 2 bedroom with a walk in closet and a balcony. I live on an express bus line to campus so my commute is usually around 20 minutes. Two new light rail stations are opening that will connect South Seattle to UW; I have friends who live in a 3BR in Rainier Valley for $1500 or something equally ridiculous. If you want to live in Capitol Hill (which is expensive, but has a ton of good restaurants, bars, clubs, etc) or UDistrict (which is expensive and....not great), you can still make it work with the stipend, but it's more difficult.  

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Hi @perpetuavix thanks for all this info :)

I am 90% sure at the moment about attending UW, which I absolutely love due to research fit. A few things are holding me back though: Columbia has given me a TON of money and a 4 year fellowship, so that's definitely something to consider. Also, the earthquake thing is at the back of my mind too.

Are you paying $1200 for the entire apartment, or is it your share alone (i.e. total cost is $2400)? If I decide to live in a neighborhood close to UW and want an apartment to myself (1 BR), what can I expect to pay? Given my salary of $2200-ish, I'd say my budget is around $1000-1300. Thanks!

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I moved from NYC to Seattle; money goes a lot further in Seattle than it does in New York. 

I pay $1200 for the whole apartment. Depends on what you mean by 'close'. If you mean walking distance, 1br are about $1000 and up for something small and usually not very nice (I looked at about 10 apartments in UDistrict before deciding I preferred a nice place to live somewhere with a 20 minute commute than a shithole with a 5 minute commute). Something decent is probably more like $1200+ in UDistrict. Generally, the further away from UDistrict, Cap Hill, or downtown a neighborhood is, the cheaper it is. You can look at craigslist and see the kinds of places available now just to get a sense of pricing and areas. 

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Thank you @perpetuavix for assuaging my fears about living expenses! I'm moving from Chicago and deciding between U Wisconsin & U Washington -- I've been offered a TA/RA position at Washington for the same $$ as your current package. Money goes a lot further in Madison and even Chicago than Seattle, so I've been a bit nervous. U Washington is my first choice, but I've been worried about cost of living. Are there specific places you'd recommend looking for housing in addition to Craigslist, or specific property managers? 

Also, @compscian as someone who has only lived places where snow is your biggest concern rather than tornadoes or hurricanes or earthquakes or landslides, etc., I'd check out this article below. It tempered a lot of the hype from the New Yorker article.

http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/science/2015/07/kathryn_schulz_s_new_yorker_story_on_pacific_northwest_earthquake_geologists.html

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On 3/1/2016 at 0:57 PM, compscian said:

Hi @perpetuavix thanks for all this info :)

I am 90% sure at the moment about attending UW, which I absolutely love due to research fit. A few things are holding me back though: Columbia has given me a TON of money and a 4 year fellowship, so that's definitely something to consider. Also, the earthquake thing is at the back of my mind too.

Are you paying $1200 for the entire apartment, or is it your share alone (i.e. total cost is $2400)? If I decide to live in a neighborhood close to UW and want an apartment to myself (1 BR), what can I expect to pay? Given my salary of $2200-ish, I'd say my budget is around $1000-1300. Thanks!

Hi compsci,  I did my undergrad at UW, so I've lived in Seattle since 2011.  For a studio in the U-District (the neighborhood adjacent to UW), or another close neighborhood, you can expect to pay upwards of 1200/mo.  You might consider looking at sharing a place if you can stand it.  Housing in Seattle is pretty competitive now, so you'll want to start looking at leases for the fall asap.  Currently, I rent a room from a couple and pay 600+utilities in a part of North Seattle that is not considered a "nice" neighborhood, and I was pretty lucky to get that price.  

Other neighborhoods to look at would be Ravenna, Fremont, Greenlake, maybe Capitol Hill or Ballard.  You can get to UW from any of those places with one bus ride.

Also, don't worry about earthquakes lol, I've lived in Washington my whole life and can remember maybe 2 earthquakes I felt.  

Edited by Soft Rains

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Hi y'all!

I'm waiting for confirmation from either of the schools I've applied to, but I'm crossing everything with a joint for UW. My complication, though, is that I finish my current MA in May -- and my roommate is selling the house no later than early June. So, *that* will be exciting. 

I'm assuming that, like my current city (Raleigh, NC), finding a "student apartment" in June is going to be fruitless. However, I'm assuming that there are apartments and houses that will be available in June? Not next to campus, obviously (which I'd prefer to avoid anyway -- I'm in the "bedtime is 10 pm" morning person crowd), but in a few of the mid-range neighborhoods?

(I have a cat and a million books and three hundred pounds of craft supplies, but the cat's typically well-behaved and I can keep the rest organized.)

 

...Am I gonna have to/want to work on my Resting Bitchface? I'm so used to the south.

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Hello, as residents in Seattle do you have any particular recommendations for a safe and quiet studio/1 bedroom apartment within a bus ride because I'm a bit worried about the late night parties I experienced in my undergrad and also safety issues. Or I shall ask is there any notable differences in regard of these two issues between apartments in the same district?

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I went to ugrad in Boston and am probably moving to Seattle for grad school this Fall! Super excited for my offer but I also saw some posters above mentioning stipends. Are those fundings from UW? Also, does anyone know about the process of applying as a TA?

Also, I have questions about housing. How early should I be looking if I plan to move in mid-September? How would you compare (for those of you who has been to Boston) between the Boston and Seattle?

Thanks everyone! I'm new to the forum and have been excited to join the community because how helpful it seems!!

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On 3/6/2016 at 2:03 PM, WriteAndKnit said:

Hi y'all!

I'm waiting for confirmation from either of the schools I've applied to, but I'm crossing everything with a joint for UW. My complication, though, is that I finish my current MA in May -- and my roommate is selling the house no later than early June. So, *that* will be exciting. 

I'm assuming that, like my current city (Raleigh, NC), finding a "student apartment" in June is going to be fruitless. However, I'm assuming that there are apartments and houses that will be available in June? Not next to campus, obviously (which I'd prefer to avoid anyway -- I'm in the "bedtime is 10 pm" morning person crowd), but in a few of the mid-range neighborhoods?

(I have a cat and a million books and three hundred pounds of craft supplies, but the cat's typically well-behaved and I can keep the rest organized.)

 

...Am I gonna have to/want to work on my Resting Bitchface? I'm so used to the south.

June is a good time to look. There will be options pretty much everywhere; summer is usually a busy time for moving in any city, and undergrads will be leaving their apartments with 9 month leases in UDistrict (and there's nothing a landlord who usually leases to undergrads for 9 months wants more than a responsible grad student who will sign a 12 month lease...). Having a cat will somewhat limit your options, but not terribly. And if you don't like noise, you'll love Seattle; the majority of the city is made up of quiet residential neighborhoods. If you'd be okay with roommates, you can probably find a nice house with a few bedrooms to rent, or there's a lot of 'mother-in-law' apartments in the basements of houses. I'd suggest looking in Wedgewood, Maple Leaf, or Ravenna. 

Do you mean will you need to develop RBF or do you need to get rid of it? I don't think either is the case, so don't worry. 

On 3/6/2016 at 2:03 PM, vadupleix said:

Hello, as residents in Seattle do you have any particular recommendations for a safe and quiet studio/1 bedroom apartment within a bus ride because I'm a bit worried about the late night parties I experienced in my undergrad and also safety issues. Or I shall ask is there any notable differences in regard of these two issues between apartments in the same district?

Don't live in UDistrict. If you're particularly worried about crime, SPD has some crime maps here: http://www.seattle.gov/seattle-police-department/crime-data/online-crime-maps But generally, if you're worried about noise and/or safety, the best thing you can do is visit the neighborhood on a Friday or Saturday night (although if you move during the summer, UDistrict will be unusually quiet; most undergrads don't stay for the summer). 

 

On 3/8/2016 at 6:50 PM, elephantsmiles said:

I went to ugrad in Boston and am probably moving to Seattle for grad school this Fall! Super excited for my offer but I also saw some posters above mentioning stipends. Are those fundings from UW? Also, does anyone know about the process of applying as a TA?

Also, I have questions about housing. How early should I be looking if I plan to move in mid-September? How would you compare (for those of you who has been to Boston) between the Boston and Seattle?

Thanks everyone! I'm new to the forum and have been excited to join the community because how helpful it seems!!

It sounds like you're unfunded. I would think long and hard before accepting UW's offer, if that's the case. The legislature recently froze tuition for undergrads, which is good, in the sense that college shouldn't keep rising in price, but bad, because it means the entire College of Arts and Sciences is facing a substantial budget cut for next year. Many departments are cutting TA and RA positions as a result, so there will be both substantially fewer positions available next year and much more competition for those spots than in the past. GFIS has info about TA positions and other funding opportunities: http://lib.washington.edu/commons/services/gfis If you are entering without funding, it is much less likely that you will be able to find funding while at UW than it would have been a few years ago. 

Many buildings close to campus start pre-leasing for September during spring quarter, so you may be able to find a place pretty early. Unless you really want to pre-lease, you can wait until at least late August to start looking.

I've never lived in Boston, but I've been there plenty of time. I also grew up on the East Coast and lived in NYC before moving out here, so I have many thoughts on Seattle's differences from the East Coast generally. Seattle is much more spread out and much less dense than Boston. Seattle is much less diverse. The pizza in Seattle is terrible (not that it's always amazing in Boston, but at least you can find decent pizza with relative ease). Seattle feels more like a small town than Boston (which is saying something). Seattle does some things well (pho/Vietnamese food generally, salmon, Ethiopian food, Chinese food if it's from International District), but is lacking in a number of things that I expect of a city (pizza as already mentioned, bagels, Italian food, readily available decent Chinese food, Dunkin Donuts (there are no DDs in all of Washington state, a serious tragedy)). The people here are generally friendlier in casual interactions than people in East Coast cities (although less so than in California, because people who move up from CA complain about 'the northwest chill'). Seattle also has lots of parks and easy access to outdoorsy stuff, and the summer here is insanely beautiful and pleasant. Also, it does rain a lot, but not that much. 

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On 3/16/2016 at 3:46 AM, perpetuavix said:

It sounds like you're unfunded. I would think long and hard before accepting UW's offer, if that's the case. The legislature recently froze tuition for undergrads, which is good, in the sense that college shouldn't keep rising in price, but bad, because it means the entire College of Arts and Sciences is facing a substantial budget cut for next year. Many departments are cutting TA and RA positions as a result, so there will be both substantially fewer positions available next year and much more competition for those spots than in the past. GFIS has info about TA positions and other funding opportunities: http://lib.washington.edu/commons/services/gfis If you are entering without funding, it is much less likely that you will be able to find funding while at UW than it would have been a few years ago. 

Many buildings close to campus start pre-leasing for September during spring quarter, so you may be able to find a place pretty early. Unless you really want to pre-lease, you can wait until at least late August to start looking.

I've never lived in Boston, but I've been there plenty of time. I also grew up on the East Coast and lived in NYC before moving out here, so I have many thoughts on Seattle's differences from the East Coast generally. Seattle is much more spread out and much less dense than Boston. Seattle is much less diverse. The pizza in Seattle is terrible (not that it's always amazing in Boston, but at least you can find decent pizza with relative ease). Seattle feels more like a small town than Boston (which is saying something). Seattle does some things well (pho/Vietnamese food generally, salmon, Ethiopian food, Chinese food if it's from International District), but is lacking in a number of things that I expect of a city (pizza as already mentioned, bagels, Italian food, readily available decent Chinese food, Dunkin Donuts (there are no DDs in all of Washington state, a serious tragedy)). The people here are generally friendlier in casual interactions than people in East Coast cities (although less so than in California, because people who move up from CA complain about 'the northwest chill'). Seattle also has lots of parks and easy access to outdoorsy stuff, and the summer here is insanely beautiful and pleasant. Also, it does rain a lot, but not that much. 

Thanks for the thoughtful reply!

I actually got scholarship from UW, which I am super pumped about! I was going to go anyway because it is one of the best programs for my field. I did ask my department advisor and she said they send out emails regarding TA vacancies every now and then, but it depends on our profile as students and how many positions are left after the PhD students take their pick lol. I guess I'll see. Do you have any idea how much TA/RAs are paid?

What is pre-lease? Do I have to start paying eariler? How do leases work in Seattle? In Boston, all leases go on for one year and most of the ones downtown begin every September. 

I only heard that Seattle has a lot more Asians...is that what you were referring to when you said diversity is lacking? Not surprised that there's no DD...it is more of an East Coast thing. Just curious, is In and Out a big deal in WA too? Do you think I'd need a pair of rainboots?

 

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Unfortunately for Seattle, I'll be headed to Denver :) I'm waiting for instructions to remove myself from the waitlist, so anyone else who's waiting has an easier time. 

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What's the best way to scope out rooms for rent (Wedgewood,Maple Leaf, Northgate, Ravenna, Fremont, and Wallingford seem to be good options for UW)? I only know of Craigslist but I'm also concerned about housemates being potential serial killers. Otherwise, I'm looking at student housing at UW Mercer or Nordheim because, while more expensive monthly, they're furnished and include utilities + internet. It would be cool to live in an actual house but maybe something to consider after the first year when I've got some grounding in the city?

Edit: Someone mentioned roomsurf a few pages back but I don't necessarily want to live in a house full of 19 year olds. 

Edited by Slagatha

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Hi, I was recently accepted into UW and selected for a FLAS fellowship for the 2016-2017 academic year.  My fellowship provides a $15,000 living stipend for the year.  Is it possible to live on roughly $15,000 per year in Seattle?  I assume that I should try to find at least one roommate if possible.  Are there any roommate matching services for UW students?

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Has anyone here lived in graduate student housing at UW? I am looking for information about safe and affordable places to live with my husband and young children while I complete my Ph.D

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I should add that I'm applying for housing in Laurel Village and Blakely Village. I much prefer Laurel Village. I can't imagine paying any more than $1000 for rent with my stipend and also needing to take care of my kids, so it's obviously an affordable option. But, is it safe?

 

Edited by nikkimx

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On 3/4/2017 at 3:37 PM, Causofit said:

Is anyone here? Ive been reading these but all posts are from 10 yrs ago ! Lol

anyone out there?

I've been doing the same.

I'm probably not going to move there till the semester actually begins but I was planning to go apartment hunting sometime in the summer. Is there a good time to do this? I know some places are pretty time sensitive in terms of finding an apartment. Anyone know when most apartments are listed as available?

I'm optimistically looking for a reasonably priced studio/one bedroom, but I'd be happy to share a place with one roommate. Also, does anyone have recommendations for neighborhoods closer to campus? I was originally looking onto Wallingford but I don't see any places listed as available currently.

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On 31.3.2017 at 2:15 PM, waderpanda said:

I've been doing the same.

I'm probably not going to move there till the semester actually begins but I was planning to go apartment hunting sometime in the summer. Is there a good time to do this? I know some places are pretty time sensitive in terms of finding an apartment. Anyone know when most apartments are listed as available?

I'm optimistically looking for a reasonably priced studio/one bedroom, but I'd be happy to share a place with one roommate. Also, does anyone have recommendations for neighborhoods closer to campus? I was originally looking onto Wallingford but I don't see any places listed as available currently.

Sorry I can't answer all of your questions, I haven't yet been here a year. I lined up my apartment really far in advance, but two other people in my cohort found housing a week or two before our autumn quarter started. One found their place through connections, the other used craigslist, padmapper, etc. Roommates seem to be the cheapest option, but so are those pod-style apartments, where you share a communal kitchen with a floor, etc. There are a lot of these style apartments all over.

I live in a university grad apartment because it made finding an apartment from far away easier and my commute is literally a 10 minute walk. A lot of fellow grads I know live in the U District, but other neighborhoods that are popular tend to be north of the cut (prevents you from having to cross bridges to get to campus, which can easily bottleneck during all hours of the day -- traffic is very bad in Seattle). So, I have friends that live in Ballard, Greenlake, Wallingford, Ravenna, etc. Some people also live further north near Maple Leaf/Wedgwood/Northgate -- there are some pretty direct bus lines to campus. Some other people I know live south, in East Lake and Capitol Hill -- they usually take Link to campus. A lot of people bike, but be prepared to bike in the rain.

I hope this helps! Happy to answer other questions to the best of my ability.

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