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mmch

final decision-TA shackles or far away

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I am deciding between two good art history PhD programs and could use some outside input:

School A is in the same town as my family (I'm close with my sisters, nieces, parents), its a medium-sized city with a low cost of living, and I was offered a modest 5-year TA, no summer funding. I have to take fewer classes and TA each quarter as part of my deal, so maybe it will take me a bit longer to complete coursework.

School B is across the country in a small city, high cost of living, and I was offered a nice 2-year fellowship & 3-year TA, plus 2 summers of funding. I have to live in a grad dorm/apartment at least the first year to afford the transition. Also I have more opportunities for curatorial work there.

I have strong faculty connections at each school and am thrilled with my acceptances but I am having a hard time deciding.

Thanks.

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I'd say B - more opportunities for curatorial work. Doing with a slightly lower standard of living might not be so fun for awhile, but it sounds like you would get through faster and with more applied experience.

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School B.  Do not underestimate the time suck that TAing can be, or how important summer funding is.  You can get SO much work done over the summers.  You can always fly home and visit, or your family can visit you, and if you are in art history and want an academic job you need to get used to having little control over where you live.

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School B does sound like a better deal, but I would not consider more TAing to be all that terrible.  Yes, it is a time suck and may lengthen your stay, but it may also give you a more impressive resume and teaching experience.  If all else was equal, I would take the less TAing, but if you are really close with your family and would like to stay, I wouldn't be stopped just because of an extra 2 years of TAing.  It all depends on your own priorities and values - I wanted to live far away, so family wasn't an issue, but if it's really important to you, you should factor it in.

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