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Decision Question: Rank and Funding?

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I thought I'd come out and ask for some help regarding my decision. I've been accepted to a few great MA programs - a couple of private universities and one public. The public university provided the best funding package out of the four. (I wouldn't have to take out any loans, I'd live comfortably, and I'd gain teaching experience.) However, the public school is my alma mater, so I'm a little hesitant about getting my MA from the same place as my BA as a few of my professors have said it doesn't look great. The next best offer is a full tuition scholarship at a private university; however, I'd have to take out a small amount in loans to cover living expenses, and I wouldn't have a graduate assistantship, but I believe their placement in Ph.D. programs is better.

Long story short: I can get my MA at my alma mater for free OR I can get my MA at a university (that more than likely places in higher ranked programs), but I'd have to take out a few thousand in loans to cover basic living expenses. 

Right now, I'm heavily leaning toward my alma mater because of the financial reasons, but I thought I'd ask whether or not attending the same school for a master's degree would hurt my chances in my next application cycle! 

Thanks so much, and also, congrats to everyone for making it through this application cycle!! 

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The advice that I've been given is that it's okay to get your BA and MA at the same location as long as your PhD is from a different location. Likewise, it's okay to get your MA and PhD at the same school as long as you didn't get your BA there. It's just important to get a 'different perspective' at some point. 

As such, I would go with the fully funded offer at your alma mater as long as it's a decently ranked school. 

Edited by Gray Under Gray
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You mention that all of your offers are from great schools (your alma mater included) -- I think you'll definitely be okay when applying to Ph.D. programs if your B.A. and M.A. are from the same (great) school. Based on everything I've heard from various professors, two degrees from one place doesn't look bad; it only becomes a problem when all of them come from the same school. 

The one thing I have been consistently told (by literally every professor I've ever spoken to) is not to pay for any graduate education in the humanities. Based on professor recommendations alone, I'd say it's better to get paid by your alma mater to attend than to take out loans in order to attend a new school.

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1 hour ago, Courtney Whited said:

Question: For a fully-funded education and the chance to attend a new school, would you be willing to go down in rank if the other option was your alma mater?

Unless you have personal resources that might make up the difference (could live at home, etc.), always chase the funding. Especially at the Master's level: getting a spot in a PhD program from a lower-ranked school is much easier than getting a TT job from one. You're entering a career that will never pay you very well - the last thing you want is a debt-monkey on your back holding you down.

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