Question: I am currently finishing my senior
year and I need help deciding on a graduate school. I have been accepted to two
programs, but I can't figure out which is better. None of my advisors are
helping and I thought maybe you could help my decision. Any guidance would be
This is a difficult decision, so your confusion
is certainly justified. To decide, you should look at the whole picture: program
structure and quality, cost, availability of funding, faculty, and quality of
life issues. Most students overemphasize program rankings and forget about
quality of life issues. These are essential issues, given that you'll spend
between two and eight years in a graduate program.
Try to determine your quality of life in each
program . What is the community like? Where might you live? Is housing
affordable or will you require on-campus housing or perhaps multiple roommates?
How do you feel about each of these living situations? How far are you from
friends and family? Is that important to you?
When comparing the academic side of the two
programs, examine the department web pages carefully. Are there differences in
curriculum? Other requirements (e.g., theses, internships)? Are the faculty
actively conducting research? Are there faculty in your interest areas? Speak
with current students and find out what they think of the program. Where are
graduates employed? Speak with recent graduates and get their input.