Mar 4, 2010
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Hi,

I'm suddenly in the position to be deciding between two excellent psychology PhD programs...

Schoo1 1 is offering full tuition remission plus partial ($6.5k a year) stipend for two years, guaranteed. Supplemental stipend and funding for years 2 and 3 very likely but not guaranteed. Excellent faculty with great match to my interests. Excellent national reputation. Really liked all the grad students I met here. A bit "narrower" of a program in terms of scope of training but excellent research and clinical training from what I can tell. Better area but a bit higher COL.

School 2 has offered me full tuition remission plus stipend for one year and guaranteed tuition remission for year 2 and 3 plus an additional GAship with full stipend, renewable annually "contingent on satisfactory performance." GAship is an EXCELLENT fit for my interests and goals. Faculty and current students seem nice enough, though I didn't get as good of a "gut feeling" as with School 1. I have some concerns about the quality of the clinical training here based on comments from a current student and the research training doesn't seem quite as strong as School 1, though the GAship would be an excellent help in that area. Students tend to do very well in internship match. Larger cohort (12-ish vs. 8-ish).


Based on program alone, I think School 1 is a perhaps a better fit. However, the funding package at School 2 plus a GAship at a research institute *exactly* in line with my interests makes it a really difficult choice.

Advice?

Thanks!
 
Last edited:
Apr 1, 2010
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Psychology Student
They both sound great and have a lot to offer. Because they are so close in terms of what they are offering you, if I was in your situation I'd go with the one I got the "good feeling" from. :)
 

McClinas

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Aug 5, 2009
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Paying attention to your gut feeling is an invaluabel skill. Sure, you can compare and contrast, pit these programs on certain dimesions, and seek an answer through "rational decision making". But, for me, this can seem quite futile, no? IMHO, rationality has it's place and time: save it for your empirical, scientific explorations. When making a life decision such as this, your deeper, visceral gut feeling knows best. It's evolution in action, an expression of your nonconscious thoughts, ideas, and accumulated knowledge. Trust in that!
 
Mar 4, 2010
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They both sound great and have a lot to offer. Because they are so close in terms of what they are offering you, if I was in your situation I'd go with the one I got the "good feeling" from. :)
Thanks for the advice. My concern is that, if I don't find supplememtal funding at School 1, I'd be in the position if taking out some loans ($7,000-$8,000), and I'm not sure if setting myself up to take on debt is a bad idea/precedent. I feel that I could be happy and successful at both schools but that there would be (minor) trade-offs either way, so it's going to be a tough decision, albeit one I'm lucky to make.
 
Apr 1, 2010
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Los Angeles
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Psychology Student
Thanks for the advice. My concern is that, if I don't find supplememtal funding at School 1, I'd be in the position if taking out some loans ($7,000-$8,000), and I'm not sure if setting myself up to take on debt is a bad idea/precedent. I feel that I could be happy and successful at both schools but that there would be (minor) trade-offs either way, so it's going to be a tough decision, albeit one I'm lucky to make.
Debt is something no one wants but it is inevitable sometimes. I would be thrilled if I only had 7-8k in debt! I'm looking at $100,000+ in loans when I'm done (my school is not funded :( ) so you are in an excellent position. GO with your gut and a little debt won't be as bad as being in a place that wasn't your first choice.
 

childpsych479

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Jul 9, 2009
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Debt is something no one wants but it is inevitable sometimes. I would be thrilled if I only had 7-8k in debt! I'm looking at $100,000+ in loans when I'm done (my school is not funded :( ) so you are in an excellent position. GO with your gut and a little debt won't be as bad as being in a place that wasn't your first choice.
You can also express to School 1 that is is your first choice (if you feel it truly is) but that you are concerned about financing your education etc and ask if there is additional funding available. I also recommend going with your gut - its what I did! For me, being happy is more important than all the other factors. It also sounds like you'll get better training at School 1. The combination sounds worth it to me. Best of luck - the great thing is there is no wrong decision!
 

jnine

5+ Year Member
Dec 17, 2009
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You can also express to School 1 that is is your first choice (if you feel it truly is) but that you are concerned about financing your education etc and ask if there is additional funding available. I also recommend going with your gut - its what I did! For me, being happy is more important than all the other factors. It also sounds like you'll get better training at School 1. The combination sounds worth it to me. Best of luck - the great thing is there is no wrong decision!
+1

i sent my potential advisor an email about how thier program was my top choice but i had a better funded option elsewhere and the advisor found funding for me. i was genuine about it so i guess that would be my best advice - write a professional but genuine email about your situation. i was suprised that it worked, but for me it did.
 
Mar 4, 2010
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I spoke to the faculty about it, and they said I would have a "very good" chance for getting additional hourly work through either a faculty grant, a grant with faculty at an affiliated program, or an RA position at a campus research institute, but that they couldn't guarantee anything until the summer (seeing how grant apps turn out, etc).