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Why can't it be easy?


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I was all set to go down to South Carolina (#25 program in the country). However, they have yet to offer me funding. On the other hand, I was offered a TA at U of Massachusetts (a very new program) that covers full tuition and fees and provides a $16000 stipend. I am at a total loss of what to do. Any suggestions?

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Guest criminologist

South Carolina is #25...out of 28 ranked programs, the bottom programs are also newer programs, there is almost no difference. I suggest getting the funding, if it was the #1 program unfunded then it's worth it. 

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Are you really willing to do an unfunded graduate degree?

 

I am if only for the fact that I feel extremely fortunate to have been accepted into SC, as I have no publications and no experience. I will have to pay $30,000 for the first year and then it will drop to in-state tuition. Also, there is a possibility for funding in the future.

 

This is probably the hardest decision I've had to make in my 36 years. Are there any pro's to attending a school that is unranked and has no reputation yet? It's only 3 years old.  

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Guest criminologist

I am if only for the fact that I feel extremely fortunate to have been accepted into SC, as I have no publications and no experience. I will have to pay $30,000 for the first year and then it will drop to in-state tuition. Also, there is a possibility for funding in the future.

 

This is probably the hardest decision I've had to make in my 36 years. Are there any pro's to attending a school that is unranked and has no reputation yet? It's only 3 years old.  

The reason why it is unranked is because US news has not updated their criminology rankings since 2009, so it can't be ranked if the program started after 2009. 

Edited by criminologist
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I agree with the other other responders for the most part. I voiced my opinion in a different thread but before reputation I would look at:

 

1) funding offered v. tuition costs and living costs in the area

2) Research fit at the school (how many faculty teach exactly what you want to learn about)

 

3) other stuff, reputation, special considerations, etc.

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The lack of funding is not just a short sided view. In fact, when a program is willing to fund you they are also willing to support you in your long term pursuits. That means you have greater chances of publishing and being connected to a mentor, both of which are what get you a job in the end. If you go to a school just for the brand with no support you just end up getting lost in the shuffle and forgotten. Go where you have funding!

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Thanks, everyone, for the advice (especially sword saint, who I'm sure I pissed off a while ago in a different thread). I'm going to give the other school until 4/14 to offer me funding and then I'll make my decision. I know what the right decision is... 

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I just wanted to add that I hope you realize that almost everyone with full funding and a stipend also has to work as a ta or ra. That's what we mean by full funding. So yeah, it would be crazy to turn down full funding in favor of an unfunded offer, but i think you got the message lol.

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I agree with all of the other posters concerning the issues with attending an unfunded graduate school. I would add that you will likely want the teaching experience that the TA position will offer - many of the current job positions for tenure track Criminal Justice faculty ask that applicants have some teaching experience. Additionally, despite the fact that their doctoral program is only a few years old, the CJ Department at UMass Lowell (I am assuming that is where you were accepted) is quite good, I would not hesitate to accept given the stipend offer.

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I agree with all of the other posters concerning the issues with attending an unfunded graduate school. I would add that you will likely want the teaching experience that the TA position will offer - many of the current job positions for tenure track Criminal Justice faculty ask that applicants have some teaching experience. Additionally, despite the fact that their doctoral program is only a few years old, the CJ Department at UMass Lowell (I am assuming that is where you were accepted) is quite good, I would not hesitate to accept given the stipend offer.

 

Thank you so much for that info. You have pretty much solidified my decision.

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I agree with all of the other posters concerning the issues with attending an unfunded graduate school. I would add that you will likely want the teaching experience that the TA position will offer

 

This is an interesting remark. I was hesitant myself about whether I should accept a TA position or an RA position working on research if I could only choose one or the other. After speaking with faculty at my department they similarly indicated that teaching experience is a plus- but some of them indicated while teaching experience is a plus, research experience is a mandatory. I imagine this depends on where you want to work after the degree. The faculty I asked have more emphasis on community engagement and research than teaching necessarily. 

 

Just looking ahead and planning accordingly is important I suppose.

Edited by Sword_Saint
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You'll get research experience regardless of whether or not you get teaching experience. Some of that will come from writing your thesis and dissertation. You can (and should) also do additional research.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Well, my first choice came through with funding today. Now I have to figure out if relocating is feasible. Not a bad problem to have though.

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Did they offer you enough funding for you to live semi-decently? Relocating is logistically complicated but totally doable, especially since you'd have about 3 months before you really need to move. Check out all the threads in "Officially Grads" on long distance moves if you're looking for ideas/suggestions on how to do it.

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I was offered a 13,500 stipend for years 1 and 2 and 16,000 for 3 and 4.

 

It's a matter of trying to get my house sold, go down there to find a new house and put offers in, etc.

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Well, my first choice came through with funding today. Now I have to figure out if relocating is feasible. Not a bad problem to have though.

 

That is great news! Congrats

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That is great news! Congrats

 

 

Thanks. I accepted the offer today. I figured, as the saying goes, "big risk, big reward." This will be the first time I have ever lived outside of Massachusetts... big move to the south!

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On 4/13/2015 at 2:42 PM, smcg said:

Thanks. I accepted the offer today. I figured, as the saying goes, "big risk, big reward." This will be the first time I have ever lived outside of Massachusetts... big move to the south!

 

 

"Today I will do what others won't, so tomorrow I can accomplish what others can't" 

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