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Top school vs Mid ranked school with spouse


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I am in a serious dilemma. I have been accepted to several schools. Making the decision is already hard. Moreover, I just got accepted to CU Boulder for Cs PhD, where my spouse also is having a positive sign and he may get offer by 3rd April. 

The dilemma is that I also got accepted to UIUC. My interest area is mobile and real time systems. The professor at UIUC is very new and young, his research area is related to my interests though not an exact match. I would be on an RAship from the beginning. So may not be able to change advisor later on. 

In CU boulder, I shall be with my family, although it is not a as big a name as UIUC in CS Systems research. However, the professor is more senior and reputed working in an area in which I do not have much experience but I am very much interested to explore.

My questions are-

1. How much ranking matters when it comes to PhD?

2. Staying away from spouse for 5-6 years for the sake of a top school, how much does it worth? 

3. What would you do if u were in my place?

Please help!

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1. What matters more is your work and your connections you make within your department and outside with other Universities. That said, usually higher ranked schools have more opportunities which can help if you want to go on to academia. But you can still be incredibly successful no matter where you go. And if your goal is to work at Google or some other industry research lab, rank probably matters even less. 

2. Depends on both of you. Is living through a smartphone screen on skype/facetime doable for most of your time? You will still get to visit with each other so it isn't like it is 5 solid years apart. But if one of you thinks they couldn't do it, it probably isn't worth it.

3. I had already spoken to my SO and agreed that if we had to, it would be fine to live apart. But I fly on airlines for free and I also have my pilots license (in case I wanted to rent a cessna instead), so distance isn't really that distant for me. If you guys don't have the funds or ability to make trips to see each other, I personally would just take CU-B (I mean it is still a great school even if it isn't as great as UIUC).

Edited by .letmeinplz//
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