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Have no clue what to decide


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Essentially, I might have to make a quick decision next week, and I can't decide which school to attend (given I had no options when I applied last year, I have no idea how to even digest getting in this time around).


I have been given until May 1st to make a decision about University X. I have been wait listed at my top choice (of both last year and this year), University Y (and by the sounds of it, even if I don't come off the wait list there is a good chance my POI will fund me instead), and I will find out by April 25th of their/my POI's decision. 


Essentially, if this happens, I will have 5 days to make a decision and I have no clue what I will do.


University X is a close second choice, I got in last minute. It's not only far from home, but also halfway across the country from where my fiancé (who is in a MA program) and I live now (and where University Y is). University X comes fully funded with tuition waiver and stipend (20k) in a city with a lower cost of living and takes 2-3 years. However, it requires 3-4 classes per semester for a MA, as well as 20 hrs/week of TA-ing. It's a pretty reputable school (top 150 in the world), and an amazing program in that some of the most famous researchers in my field have either worked as a prof there, or have been a product of the program.


University Y is an afternoon of driving from home, not to mention where I currently live with my fiancé. The program is 16 month fast track Masters and the University is top 20 in the world. It only requires one course total, and about 10 hrs week of TA-ing. It is a little bit higher cost of living, but if I go there, not only do I have a full tuition waiver and stipend (17k), but all my living expenses are paid in addition. My POI here is a new faculty member (coming from spending 4 years working at a university, then working for the government and advising grad students for the last 10 years) so it would be pretty cool to be a founding member of his lab.


My POI's at both universities are beyond awesome, and the research fit may be slightly better at University Y, but not by much and I would be completely happy at working with the POI at University X as well.



I'm not sure if applying for a PhD in the future, having a more research oriented masters or course/research oriented masters would be better. I feel like even though on paper the University X on a whole is less reputable in comparison to University Y, the program is amazing and I should take that opportunity. However, the city isn't the best of places (pretty rough and lots of rowdy undergrads apparently), not to mention a huge move by myself across the country. Yet, a 16 month program can also make for some awkward timing when applying for a PhD.


I might not even have a choice in the end, but if I do I wanted to get advice and give myself time to digest the information and not make a rash decision that I wasn't completely sure about (since any given day I could be sure I want to go to one of the schools). I know I'll always second guess my decision, but just thinking about my future I need to choose which ever school will give me better options when I apply for my PhD down the road!


Thanks in advance to everyone and sorry for the book!!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks for the advice... I'm happy to report that I got into University Y today!!! Yay!!!!! I have until May 1st to make a decision, it certainly will be a tough one but I think it will definitely be University Y, and am going to try and make the decision by tomorrow or Wednesday- hopefully someone on the wait list at University X will get my spot and be very happy, it would've been a great place to study! 

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