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Taking a Gamble on Cambridge


Lorel

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Hi all, this is my first post, it's great to be here.

I'm in something of a pickle: I've been accepted into two PhD programs (I didn't apply to very many this time around as I'm just out of the undergrad).

I've been accepted by:

Cambridge, for a PhD in Clinical Neurosciences
George Mason University for a PhD in Neuroscience.

Cambridge is far and away my top choice: I've been in contact with the PI and he seems great, their research is exactly what I want to be doing, it's clearly the place to be.
Unfortunately, I still don't know about the possibility of funding and might not get it - acceptance doesn't automatically come with a stipend or tuition remission. When asked, the PI said that he thought I'd be a great fit and recommended me for funding, but of course, it's not a sure thing.

George Mason was kind of a 'safety school' (although I know that doesn't really apply to PhD programs) - I'm interested in the work that's happening at the Krasnow institute and they gave me a very good package. It doesn't feel like as good a fit for me though -- the work isn't quite as relevant to my interests as the work I'd be doing at Cambridge, the University itself is less appealing, and I know GMU just generally has a reputation as something of a second-tier institution.

So my quandary is this:

I realistically won't know about Cambridge funding until after the deadline for GMU. So:

Do I gamble on Cambridge and decline GMU's offer in the hope of getting enough money for Cambridge to make it worth it and potentially wind up with nothing OR do I go with the safer, less exciting option that I know will be stable?

Advice from my olders and betters would be much appreciated. I'm leaning towards 'gamble on Cambridge,' right now, but I'm so uncertain.

Lorel

Edited by Lorel
A word
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