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You have a decision in mind. How are you finalizing it?


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 As in, what are some things you're doing before you admit?


I don't know if I should be browsing housing already, or things like that, planning for the future....but I just don't know how to finalize my decision


School A 

- has a better feel

- has better research for me, I believe

- has a better environment for me to succeed in (I'm worried about being in a small college town...versus a city, theres Meetup, I can go out of my way and make friends if I can't within my program for whatever reason)

- I am in contact with two professors of the three I am interested in. I am reading their research, trying to understand what I might be doing in their group. 


School B

- has a better research according to my PI (I told him I'm planning on going to A or B and he said that B is a better program)

- was a lot more inviting/friendlier, but I didnt enjoy myself on Visitation weekend, socially wise. Just didnt seem like I fit in as much.

- pays slightly better, and is slightly cheaper to live in than school A....although both A and B will be cheaper than how I am living now, I think.

- I am in contact with one professor, and another professor seemed to recruit me but I am not in contact with them (haven't gotten around to it // mainly because I feel I am not going there). I am not so interested in reading their research, although I suppose I should...


I don't know what I can possibly do to make myself feel happy with a decision. That I will have no doubts. So how are you finalizing / did you finalize your decision, and leave no doubts in your mind that you made the correct choice? 

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What do they have in terms of resources (lab space, library materials, summer research grants, etc.) to support your research? Does either program require TAing and, if so, how much and doing what? What would your PI be like in each situation? What is the placement record of each program and of your PI in particular? What are the travel costs to home (wherever that may be) from each school? Are there opportunities for internships, co-ops, etc. in either program in case you decide to go alt-ac? What kind of professional development support (in terms of career training, mentoring, conference funding, etc.) is available and is it competitive to get that support? Answering (some of) these questions might help you decide.

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I've just sent my acceptance and declination emails (declined offers at two universities), and I was filled with anxiety the entire time! My "gut" decision to attend the school I accepted has been unwavering since my interview. However, the stipend wasn't what I was hoping (considering the cost of living). The cost of living at the other two choices made their otherwise comparable stipends more attractive, but I'm not as passionate about the programs or the research of the faculty. Because most of us applied to multiple programs, I think we all know that we could "make it work" where ever we choose, however, at this stage in my academic career (and personal life) I want to be somewhere where I'm happy, even if a little broke temporarily. 


I think my heart rate is slowly returning to normal...

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1. Curriculum matters to me a lot. I do not want to attend a program that has me taking superflous courses that will not benefit my career goals. Looking to see if they offer a lot of 'specializations' within their program.

2. Opportunities outside the classroom (various types of study abroad programs, internships, work-studyprograms, etc)

3. A school that has a lot of graduates within my intend career field who are able to get careers

4. Location. DC is the hotspot for international affairs people.

5. Examining the Career Services.


Funding isn't the main priority in my case. My main priority is to attend a program that presents many options within my career interests and presents many opportunities beyond the classroom as a I purse my studies.

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