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Rice vs CU Boulder CS


porllado
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Trying to figure this out...

 

Rice:

  • 2 profs in my subfield (though my expected favorite seemed a little overcommitted, though students said it wasn't a big deal)
  • able to visit, liked the program, students, profs
  • +$500/mo after tax stipend (+200/mo first year) compared to Boulder
  • program ranked 20th
  • fewer options of profs in secondary subfield
  • warm weather (this is definitely a plus for me)
  • few housing options very close to campus

Boulder:

  • 1 prof in my subfield (I think). I am assigned to an advisor
  • Advisor seems attentive and quick to respond
  • was unable to visit
  • a bit more profs in secondary subfield
  • program ranked 40th
  • more housing options close to campus

I had been fairly decided on Rice for a while, but I'm unsure now. The housing costs in Houston seem to be higher and less appealing. I really want to avoid having roommates, and I really prefer being as close to campus as possible.

 

Does anyone know anything about the housing situations at either? I thought I'd read on here once before that it was a big problem for grad students at Boulder, but I haven't found that evidence any more.

 

It's also difficult for me to determine cost of living comparisons - how much more money will be eaten up by housing in Houston? But at the same time, is food cheaper? I don't know!

 

I'm roughly equally as interested in my expected advisor's work at both schools. I think my future prospects at a top 20 school would probably be better than at a top 40, though obviously all things would not be equal, and it would depend on how well I do.

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Here's a simple cost of living calculator: http://swz.salary.com/CostOfLivingWizard/Layoutscripts/Coll_Result.aspx

According to that calculator, living in Houston is 23% LESS expensive than Boulder. 

This cost of living comparison says rent is 6.77% less in Houston:

http://www.numbeo.com/cost-of-living/compare_cities.jsp?country1=United+States&country2=United+States&city1=Houston%2C+TX&city2=Boulder%2C+CO

Boulder is extremely expensive.  There is and always will be housing issues in Boulder because it's a desirable location and UC Boulder is great.  However, there are stipulations on how much housing can be developed. 

If you look at Boulder housing on Craigslist, you should read the fine print.  Most of those rentals are for 1 bedroom in a 5 bedroom house and they still run around $1000.  (I was tricked by that when I was looking at housing in Boulder!)  I'm not trying to convince you to not go to Boulder, but it's definitely not cheaper than Houston.  Try reaching out to current grad students to get a feel for where cheaper housing is.  Maybe try to find a roommate. 

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Here's a simple cost of living calculator: http://swz.salary.com/CostOfLivingWizard/Layoutscripts/Coll_Result.aspx

According to that calculator, living in Houston is 23% LESS expensive than Boulder. 

This cost of living comparison says rent is 6.77% less in Houston:

http://www.numbeo.com/cost-of-living/compare_cities.jsp?country1=United+States&country2=United+States&city1=Houston%2C+TX&city2=Boulder%2C+CO

Boulder is extremely expensive.  There is and always will be housing issues in Boulder because it's a desirable location and UC Boulder is great.  However, there are stipulations on how much housing can be developed. 

If you look at Boulder housing on Craigslist, you should read the fine print.  Most of those rentals are for 1 bedroom in a 5 bedroom house and they still run around $1000.  (I was tricked by that when I was looking at housing in Boulder!)  I'm not trying to convince you to not go to Boulder, but it's definitely not cheaper than Houston.  Try reaching out to current grad students to get a feel for where cheaper housing is.  Maybe try to find a roommate. 

Thanks, I will try to figure out if the apartments I've seen are sublets. Even so, it seems like I seen a ton for like $700-900. Maybe I'm missing something...

 

But either way, I think the cost of living in Houston is brought down in those calculators by the poor and dangerous areas, which I would not find suitable.

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I wouldn't call Boulder "extremely expensive." It actually used to be pretty low cost of living, but has been growing rapidly and is slowly becoming more expensive. When I visited, we went on a housing tour, and I the places I saw were fairly reasonable. Decently priced and pretty nice (at least the ones I saw). Most students seemed to share apartments and from what I can remember, graduate housing wasn't super easy to get into. It's a shame you couldn't visit Boulder because Boulder and Houston are two very different places. Houston is a large, wide-spread, industrial city. while Boulder is a small, outdoors-y city. Personally, I would absolutely love to live in Boulder, and I really didn't like Houston much when I was there (I didn't visit Rice). But I know plenty of people moving to Houston after graduation who love it there. I also prefer the Boulder seasons to Houston heat/humidity (I'm sick of living in the South!), which, again, varies by person. I really can't remember for certain, but it is possible that Houston is cheaper than Boulder. For a city, it is considered very cheap. Houston is also so large that the housing varies a ton based on which area of the city you're in. 

 

I'm sorry I couldn't provide any input on the programs, but I thought I would at least jump in on the locations! Your lists are pretty short so I can't get a good feel of which program might be better for you. I do think, however, that, as long as you have enough money to get through the program without severely struggling, then you should make your decision based on factors aside from money. I ended up deciding on the uni with the highest cost of living (in the entire country..) simply because I love the program. I didn't visit a program that didn't provide enough stipend for the students not to have to worry, and I wouldn't make a huge decision as this based on a few k. If you love where you go, you'll make up for it in the end anyway. 

 

It seems like you prefer Rice and are only uncertain because you're wary of housing and cost of living. If that's the case, then I say go with Rice. If you liked Houston, then I think you'll be fine in terms of housing and cost of living, and you shouldn't worry or let it keep you from choosing the better program.

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I wouldn't call Boulder "extremely expensive." It actually used to be pretty low cost of living, but has been growing rapidly and is slowly becoming more expensive. When I visited, we went on a housing tour, and I the places I saw were fairly reasonable. Decently priced and pretty nice (at least the ones I saw). Most students seemed to share apartments and from what I can remember, graduate housing wasn't super easy to get into. It's a shame you couldn't visit Boulder because Boulder and Houston are two very different places. Houston is a large, wide-spread, industrial city. while Boulder is a small, outdoors-y city. Personally, I would absolutely love to live in Boulder, and I really didn't like Houston much when I was there (I didn't visit Rice). But I know plenty of people moving to Houston after graduation who love it there. I also prefer the Boulder seasons to Houston heat/humidity (I'm sick of living in the South!), which, again, varies by person. I really can't remember for certain, but it is possible that Houston is cheaper than Boulder. For a city, it is considered very cheap. Houston is also so large that the housing varies a ton based on which area of the city you're in. 

 

I'm sorry I couldn't provide any input on the programs, but I thought I would at least jump in on the locations! Your lists are pretty short so I can't get a good feel of which program might be better for you. I do think, however, that, as long as you have enough money to get through the program without severely struggling, then you should make your decision based on factors aside from money. I ended up deciding on the uni with the highest cost of living (in the entire country..) simply because I love the program. I didn't visit a program that didn't provide enough stipend for the students not to have to worry, and I wouldn't make a huge decision as this based on a few k. If you love where you go, you'll make up for it in the end anyway. 

 

It seems like you prefer Rice and are only uncertain because you're wary of housing and cost of living. If that's the case, then I say go with Rice. If you liked Houston, then I think you'll be fine in terms of housing and cost of living, and you shouldn't worry or let it keep you from choosing the better program.

 

Thanks for your input, it helps.

I'm not terribly concerned about money, beyond living comfortably. It was kind of a hope for me to discount a school (if it wasn't livable, then the decision is made).

It's difficult for me to know how I really feel about CU without having visited (they came pretty late with the offer).

 

If you put the same school in either city, I'd probably pick to live in Boulder, though I do really like warm weather. At the same time, I think I prefer Rice as a school and think it will be worth more for my future.

 

Urrrrgh I know it's only my decision to make, but that doesn't make it any easier.

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I didn't think about it, but it also depends on how far away from the school you want to live.  If you aren't set on living right next to campus, I'm sure you can find some reasonably priced apartments in both places.  I don't remember being able to find anything that wasn't with roommates that was close to Boulder although now that I'm looking at Craigslist, there seem to be a couple of studios for rent that are close.  Those cost of living calculators are pretty decent from what I saw.  Food seemed to be a bit cheaper in Boulder, but rent was definitely cheaper in Houston.  Again, it depends on where you want to live/how long of a commute you want to make.  I always compare rent prices by looking at the map view on Craigslist. 

You also have to consider that a lot of places aren't on the market yet because school hasn't ended.  There should be an increase in listings by the end of the month. 

 

Things to consider: Do you like cold and snow?  Boulder gets 87 inches of snow/yr on average (based on the climate data from Wikipedia so take that with a grain of salt).  I'm only pointing this out because you say you like warm weather.  I've only visited and never lived there so I would advise reading the Boulder threads.  really liked the Boulder campus, but I would've been very uncomfortable with the weather (I don't like cold or snow very much). 

Also check out the Houston thread:

 

I know how frustrating it is to try and determine housing prices when you aren't in the city (especially when 3/4 of apartments aren't even listed yet). 

I would say choose the school over the city as long as the city won't make you miserable. 

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