MathCat wrote:If you haven't already, you should ask about attrition rates (how many people don't finish the program) and also job placements of graduates. Are they getting the kinds of jobs you want? Are 50% of their students dropping out?
Also, definitely try to correspond with lots of students at both places. It sounds like you didn't get to visit, so try to get as much of a sense of the department as you can by talking to lots of people. Research fit is not the only factor! Some places are much friendlier and supportive of their students than others. I've heard some bad things about Yale in that regard, but it was second hand and the person was there 15 years ago, so take it with a grain of salt.
I haven't asked about attrition rates, thanks for that piece of advice. I have looked at some job placements but only at Michigan (because the information was easily available on their website) and I was happy with them but I haven't looked at those of Penn and Yale, I'll check that out.
You're right, I didn't get a chance to visit (I'm coming from o/s and it would've been too expensive to make the visit). I have contacted various students at Michigan and now also Penn and Yale and am waiting on replies. Thanks for pointing out that I should look into how friendly/supportive the place is, I'll keep that in mind. Is there some particular way in which you heard that Yale wasn't the most friendly or supportive? I know it was 15 years ago but it could still help to know. I do have a general unfriendly vibe from Yale but that's only because they haven't replied to any of my emails.
joga wrote:Things to consider
(a) only 2 geometers
(b) very small student in take - was 3 last year
(c) pretty Strong for representation theory and categorification
(a) a lot of geometers and topologists
(b) good intake 10-12
(c) well represented in geometry
(a) I think by far amongst the best places for algebraic geometry broadly in america.
(b) great intake
(c) geometry is in their name.
now if u are an incoming student with broad interests, u should seriously not bother with yale. by prestige michigan is way ahead over upenn which i feel is better than yale. broad interests go to michigan. u are doing yourself the best career choice.
i am pretty much in ur situation. u can see my profile addition. would go to yale only if i am hell bent of working with goncharov on Mulitiple zeta values, and mixed tate motives and periods ( i was genuinely considering).
u should put ur interests in the page, and your undergrad thesis and masters thesis topics if any. that will help us make better suggestions
Thanks a lot! This was very helpful and confirmed many things which I had been thinking. It seems that Michigan is probably the best place for me. Were I go to Yale, Goncharov, or possibly Minsky, are the people I was thinking of working with.
I actually intentionally decided to not put any more specific information on my interests and previous thesis topics in my first post as advice for a broadly interested, geometrically/topologically minded person is probably the advice I'm looking for rather than for someone with more specific interests.
I had a look at your profile and we are in similar positions indeed. Can I ask, from what source did you find out that Yale had only 3 incoming students last year?