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Triple-School Decision FREAKOUT


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Hi everyone, I've been reading this board throughout my application process and it's been super helpful. Kudos to this entire community. Having lurked on the forums for some time, I now have sufficient cause to post:

My Story:

I applied for Life Sciences PhD programs and was accepted to UC Davis, Scripps (Florida Campus) and the University of Miami.

My Goal:

Now, I'm from Florida (family and friends abound!) but I currently live in California (which, let's be honest, is a much cooler state). I'm pretty sure I'd like to "end up" in Florida (ie: establish a career there) and I'm having trouble figuring out which institution is most like to get me there. This may change during grad school, but at the moment I don't have a strong feeling one way or the other in regards to industry/academia.

The Details:

  • U Miami
    • Has a good program, and though it isn't very highly ranked at the moment they're dumping a ton of money and recruiting some awesome new faculty.
    • Very short commute
    • UC Davis
      • Has a well-ranked and respected program, but the connections I make (for potential postdoc work) may skew towards the west coast
      • I will also have a 1 hour commute if I go here
      • Finally, Scripps

        • VERY highly ranked (according to US New and World report) but is a very small and very new biology PhD program
        • I will also have a 1 hour commute if I go here

        Considerations:

        [*]If I attend U Miami, will it be more difficult to eventually find a permanent position in Florida (ie: do intitutions prefer "exotic" recruits from far away universities to diversify their program)?

        [*]Are US News and World Report rankings useful for anything?

        [*]How bad is a long commute while you're in grad school (I have a long commute to my current lab job, but I know the two experiences are quite different)?

        Any advice, ideas or irrelevant musings are most welcome!

Edited by SlickMcFavorite
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First of all, are you referring to the Scripps in La Jolla? Because if that's so, it is very well respected. There is some pretty serious research coming from there. Notably Pete Schultz works there and he founded several successful companies locally. He is very well respected in the biotech field of San Diego.

Also, regarding US world news report: love it or hate it, it is the most respected ranking system. That's what employers look at when they want to know what the top 10 schools are. So yeah, it definitely counts for something. Now it's pretty pointless for evaluating the differences between for example #15 & #18. However, it is very useful for evaluating the difference between a top 10 school and a top 25 school.

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First of all, are you referring to the Scripps in La Jolla? Because if that's so, it is very well respected. There is some pretty serious research coming from there. Notably Pete Schultz works there and he founded several successful companies locally. He is very well respected in the biotech field of San Diego.

I was applied to (and was accepted by) the Florida campus of the Scripps Research Institute -- their whole thing is "one school, two campuses". So, I would only be working with faculty from the Florida campus, but I'd take classes from both campuses (they have a fancy tele-classroom) and my degree would just say Scripps. I know Scripps is super well-respected in Chemistry, but I don't know much about the prestige of their biology division (which is where I'd be). The professors I met on the Florida campus were all pretty awesome, but I don't think any of them would count as widely known (yet!)

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