Kilgore_Trout wrote:Yeah all those things matter, not just one.
I find things easier to narrow down my options. For example look at how much money they offer and look at how much rent is around there. If you are living near the poverty line your probably one like the experience much. So cut out those schools. Then look at research the schools are doing. If they dont have what you like cut them out. Do you hate/love cities, cut them out.... Eventually you will have you school.
What's frustrating is that I've already done all those things haha. Every school left in consideration is ranked (roughly) comparably, pays about the same in funding, has about the same cost of living indexes, is in a city (not a city person, but it's where most research universities are, so I'd have been an idiot not to have applied to them), has the main area of research I'm interested in (dynamical systems), has plenty of other applied options just in case (statistics, scientific computing, mathematical biology, etc.). None of the researchers are spectacular that I can tell, but I'm planning to transfer up the ladder in after a masters anyway, so I can't be too picky about that I guess.
I'm being forced to be super nitpicky now. As a sad example, yesterday I was trying to talk myself out of one of the schools because their classes are taught in a different building than where their offices are, so I'd actually have to cross the street to go to class (first world problems). The struggle's getting real...
H0lomorphic wrote: I ended up picking the school that felt like a better fit for me (location, getting along with potential advisors, better for my research interests, and ~grad student culture~) over the one that offered more money and was higher ranked. I can see arguments for why this is the "wrong" choice, but essentially I figured that at one place I would be much much happier than the other, and that that would certainly reflect in my work.
Yeah that's what I'm going for ideally. Might just have to suck it up and drive across the Southeast next week trying to get a few campus visits in. Hard to tell much more than I already know without visiting the departments in person and breathing the air.