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Deciding between two schools--advice appreciated!

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I'm deciding between two schools for my PhD in Hispanic Literature, and I'm completely caught in the middle. I'm mostly posting this to help myself process, but would love any advice or input you could give!


"School A"

-large public research institution

-where I got my BA

-top notch faculty (I don't love the whole department, but I love the faculty in my particular field)

-fully funded with first-year fellowship; would have to TA the rest of the time

-exciting possibilities for interdisciplinary work I want to do in other depts 

-cohort would be around 10 students


"School B"

-a wealthy private research institution (not Ivy League, but on par).

-was offered extremely prestigious fellowship (full-funding, excellent stipend, no teaching duties for 4 years)

-faculty good (but I don't think they're as well rounded as at School A)

-supportive in terms of mentorship and job market preparation 

-would be a new experience, getting to know a different dept in a different part of the country 

-cohort would be 4 students


In short, my biggest selling point for School A would be the faculty in my dept (and in other depts) and the exciting research being done in related fields in the Humanities; School B is attractive mainly because of the fellowship and the chance to do something new. Thoughts?

Edited by tardesdeinvierno
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I'd go for school B. You'll still be able to access the faculty from School A since you (presumably) worked with them in undergrad and have made those connections already; there is no reason these people can't continue to offer some mentorship or even be outside readers on your dissertation. Aside from the fellowship and prestigious name at option B, it sounds like it will expand your horizons more, give you access to a different alumni network, and provide more personalized support since the cohort is smaller and you note their mentorship as stronger. In terms of personal growth, I think there's a lot to be said for putting yourself in a different environment in a new city. After all, you'll be spending another 5-7 years in this city, and since you already spent 4 years in the vicinity of school A it would be easy to see feeling stagnant after a while. 


Another thing to consider is that I have heard that in the academic job market, it is preferred that you don't get all your degrees from the same institution. Having a mix of public and private school experience would also be a draw of B for me. The most significant pro of option A seems to be the interdisciplinary bent of the program - but did you ask program B whether you'd be allowed to take classes in other departments? Interdisciplinary work may still be allowed at option B even if it isn't encouraged to the extent of option A. 


Good luck! It sounds like both schools are strong contenders and you can't really make a wrong choice here. 

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Based on what's here, I'd say B for the networking opportunities and seeing new perspectives. Do you have a personal preference for the two? Is a smaller cohort more or less appealing to you? Do you have a strong location preference? Preference for the atmosphere at either place (if you've visited)? The extra funding that a wealthy private institution has can be very helpful for things like funding flexibility (e.g. continuing to fund you for an extra year if you don't finish on time), perhaps more support for conferences, etc. Have you looked into the job placements of graduates? Is either program better at placing graduates in the careers you want?

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