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Rockefeller vs. Scripps cs. Cold Spring Harbor


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I have a really hard time making decision. I am now deciding between these schools. My interest is genomics and computational biology.

##Scripps (La Jolla)

#Pros: warm weather, close to lots of biotech, a professor really likes me. Two I see myself working with.

#Cons: lower stipend in an expensive city


#Pros: New York city, housing subsidies, big name PIs, generous financial support

#Cons: didn't feel like community is well connected, PIs on the older side.

##Cold Spring Harbor

#Pros: accelerated 4 year program, access to all meeting and conferences, students seem to know each other well, some very nice comp bio PIs, generous financial support.

#Cons: not in the city

I had a better feel for CSHL during my weekend visit. But it got harder because a PI in Scripps email me and offer to "save a spot in his lab". Then Rockefeller is obviously prestigious and rich with a lot of big names. Have any of you attended there?

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I was at Rockefeller as a summer student and I really loved it. I did work for a big name PI who wasn't very involved in day-to-day affairs, which I probably wouldn't do for grad school. I don't know so much about genomics and computational biology, but in my field they had a number of younger PIs with smaller labs and strong reputations for mentorship. That being said, it's a small school - if none of the PIs you're interested in fit that description, you don't have too many other options.

I can't comment on the other two schools, but I thought Rockefeller students seemed well balanced. Everybody went out to do fun things around NYC outside of work, and the lab was pretty quiet on evenings/weekends. The school really values their students, in the sense that your stipend and fees are covered for a full five years - PIs like grad students because they're almost free. But I think CSHL might also do that? In any case, all are great schools. I just wanted to mention that I got a really good feel from the Rockefeller community, because I often hear a different kind of reputation.

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Correct me if I'm wrong, but neither Scripps nor Rockefeller are known for their research in computational biology. What you need to figure out is whether the research is more important than the reputation of the PI, or the reputation of the PI is more important than the research (call me bias, but I just don't think neither of these two institutions have PI that is big in computational bio.)


I have little to no knowledge about CSHL, but if you are not doing any wet lab work, then I don't think Scripps is a good match for you.


I wouldn't concern about biotech industry in SD at this stage of your career. Besides, if you are a good candidate, then you can get into the biotech industry after getting your PhD regardless of your physical location, or even your degree, for that matter. Qualification > connection > ... > current location.


My advise would totally be the opposite if you love dealing with cells biology / virology / infectious disease / immunology / structural biology / biochemistry.

Edited by aberrant
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My bioinformatics professor says Cold Spring Harbor is one of the best places for genomics right now. I don't know much past this but he constantly raves about CSH. Not sure if this helps at all.

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