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Engineering - how much emphasis to put on rankings?


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So I ended up only applying to 5 PhD programs for chemical engineering because I chickened out of applying to some due to only having a year of research experience.

I didn't apply to any top 20 programs and have gotten into 3.

1)UConn - has some research in what I'm interested in but the GA I was offered was with a professor doing unrelated work.

2) Notre Dame - higher ranked program (among the 3), has some research I'm interested in. (Visiting this weekend and will have more insight after that)

3) Ohio University - lowest ranked program but has strong research in what I'm interested in with lot of resources. PI seems to have a lot of connections.

I'm just not sure how strongly I should consider the ranking of the schools. Especially because none of them are particularly well known for chem eng.

Just hoping for some insight/opinions.

Thank you.

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It really depends on what your future plans. From what you've described it may be beneficial to attend OU (I have a friend in their ChemE PhD program who says it's fine) since they have projects you're interested in/resources and that would help in your training. If you need to you can use your potential PI's connections to get a really good postdoc which would help you get into industry, academia or whatever you feel like. Honestly, rankings matter to a degree but you should enjoy your PhD training - and if that means attending a slightly lower ranked program, I say do it. If it bothers you too much, you could just try for the next application cycle but if you'd like living in Athens, OH and you like your research I wouldn't sweat the rankings that much. 

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