Point well made joetro. I think it's also important to keep in mind that a person can go to a "top" school (or even a lower ranked school for that matter) and still have the cards stacked against him/her. If, for example, a student choses a "match" mentor that looks good on paper (e.g. prolific), one should keep in mind that perhaps this researcher may be less inclined to spend the time to personally invest in his/her students' future careers. The best defense is picking the brains of current mentors and grad students in order to find out which mentors will actually...well... mentor!joetro said:I very much agree with these posts, although sometimes it does work out that the great matches with really exciting research interests that match your own are at the top places. I think you can get a great education and be very productive and competitive at any place, and you can slack off at a great school and miss out in your chance. It's more what you make of it.