BuckeyeAlum

5+ Year Member
Nov 2, 2009
87
2
91
Status
Psychology Student
I am trying to make a decision between my two favorite programs. I actually never ranked either program ahead of the other, and I didn't really think it would come down to making a choice between the two. I don't think there is necessarily a "wrong" choice b/c both are great, but I'm still really struggling...

Does anyone who has been in a similar situation have any advice? What did you use as your tie-breaker?

And before anyone scolds me for holding offers - these are the only two I'm holding/would consider at this point. I want to make my mind up ASAP - for both my sanity AND for the lucky person on a waitlist who will get the spot I turned down! My goal is to decide by Monday...
 
Jan 14, 2010
43
1
0
Status
hey! i definitely understand what you are going through. the best advice i have is to just make a list of what you like best about each program and compare it to perceived weaknesses of each program. then eventually, follow your gut. my boyfriend gave me really good advice when i was going through this and all he said was "you just have to pick one". sounds simple but ultimately, you arent going to make a mistake if both programs rule. you will feel 10 times better once you make your choice and the longer you wait the harder i think it gets. good luck!
 
Jan 4, 2010
42
0
0
Status
Pre-Psychology
I agonized over my decision so I know how you feel. I made a huge pros and cons list and that spelled it out pretty clearly. But even after that it was still hard to actually say, "this is where I am going." And it is true that the longer you take to decide the harder it gets so I wouldn't suggest drawing it out longer than it has to be. So I say make a pros and cons list and then go with what your gut says.
 
Jan 28, 2010
52
2
41
Kansas City, MO
Status
Pre-Psychology
I'm somewhat in the same boat. Both programs I'm considering are quite evenly matched and I would be very happy at either. I'm leaning towards one for what I think are silly but important reasons. I find myself getting excited about the apartments I'm finding at one place. I know it might sound crazy, but part of it might be the little things. A good friend of mine commented on how I was looking into proximity of grocery stores and amenities at potential apartments and being more excited about those little things for one school over another. At the end of the day you really do want to be happy since where you go will be your home for at least the next 5 years. If your programs are so evenly matched, look out for the little things and ask yourself if you're already more excited about one over another. And if you find that you are more excited about one place, stop thinking about it because that's where you should go.
 
Nov 28, 2009
44
0
0
Status
Pre-Psychology
I agonized over my decision so I know how you feel. I made a huge pros and cons list and that spelled it out pretty clearly. But even after that it was still hard to actually say, "this is where I am going." And it is true that the longer you take to decide the harder it gets so I wouldn't suggest drawing it out longer than it has to be. So I say make a pros and cons list and then go with what your gut says.
I like the pro/con list ... but another list may also help:

Create a list of the features you want the most from your future program (location, funding, mentor match, etc.). See which one best fits the bill (or has the most matches with the highest priority features).

Whatever the case, you'll end up being very pleased with your options (afterall, they both sound equally attractive); and you'll have a great experience in your new grad program!

:luck:
 

Markp

Clinical Psychologist
10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Nov 19, 2007
2,262
20
151
Status
Psychologist
Ask yourself this question, assuming all other things are equal... which would you be more happy with saying, "I'm a graduate of A and I worked with X." or "I am a graduate of B and I worked with Y." that might get you closer to a decision, if not? Then spend some time envisioning what your career would look like 10 years down the road with each decision.

Sometimes it can be a really tough choice.
 

Enlightened1

7+ Year Member
Mar 10, 2010
26
2
141
Status
Psychology Student
Here's another thought and to turn the conversation in a slightly different direction...What's the more effective and prudent way to decide between programs:

a) Make lists, compare and contrast on certain dimensions, pros & cons

OR

b) Go with your gut and your instinct

For example, I'm trying to decide between two programs, and if I made a list, I think Program A would be the clear front runner. My research match is a little stronger, the program is a bit more prestigious, and it's closer to home. However, from visiting the schools, I had a much stronger visceral reaction at Program B...I wasn't expecting much going into interview weekend, but when I got there, I loved it in a very intangible way. I just felt like I could see myself there, and that feeling continues to resonate with me.

I hope this makes sense. Has anyone else had this discrepancy between what their cognitive "rational" mind is saying and what their deeper emotional brain is saying?

Which would you trust?
 
Nov 28, 2009
44
0
0
Status
Pre-Psychology
Here's another thought and to turn the conversation in a slightly different direction...What's the more effective and prudent way to decide between programs:

a) Make lists, compare and contrast on certain dimensions, pros & cons

OR

b) Go with your gut and your instinct

For example, I'm trying to decide between two programs, and if I made a list, I think Program A would be the clear front runner. My research match is a little stronger, the program is a bit more prestigious, and it's closer to home. However, from visiting the schools, I had a much stronger visceral reaction at Program B...I wasn't expecting much going into interview weekend, but when I got there, I loved it in a very intangible way. I just felt like I could see myself there, and that feeling continues to resonate with me.

I hope this makes sense. Has anyone else had this discrepancy between what their cognitive "rational" mind is saying and what their deeper emotional brain is saying?

Which would you trust?
I know it's corny, but I think trusting your gut is REALLY important (I'll call it your evolutionary warning system). I will qualify this advice though, was your "gut response" a "negative reaction" that you're now perhaps rationalizing away because of other great things about the program? e.g., "if I were to be blunt, I'd say my POI was really annoying, but it's such a prestigious program and the research is so cool, maybe it was just a bad day for him?" Or was it simply an intangible, qualitative feel that one program resonated more with you (flow of the interview day, personalities of the people you met, environment, etc.)? If the former, I'd steer clear. If the latter, I'd give myself some latitude in knowing that these interviews/visits are "artificial" and don't really represent what you'll be experiencing in the program (although they ARE very helpful, don't get me wrong). Perhaps this "feel" isn't something to take too seriously.

I sympathize with your plight!

:luck:
 

Enlightened1

7+ Year Member
Mar 10, 2010
26
2
141
Status
Psychology Student
Sorry, maybe I should have been a bit more clear...

Here's another thought and to turn the conversation in a slightly different direction...What's the more effective and prudent way to decide between programs:

a) Make lists, compare and contrast on certain dimensions, pros & cons

OR

b) Go with your gut and your instinct

For example, I'm trying to decide between two programs, and if I made a list, I think Program A would be the clear front runner. My research match is a little stronger, the program is a bit more prestigious, and it's closer to home. However, from visiting the schools, I had a much more positive visceral reaction at Program B...I wasn't expecting much going into interview weekend, but when I got there, I loved it in a very intangible way. I just felt like I could see myself there, and that feeling continues to resonate with me.

I hope this makes sense. Has anyone else had this discrepancy between what their cognitive "rational" mind is saying and what their deeper emotional brain is saying?

Which would you trust?
 
Jan 29, 2010
111
0
0
Status
Psychology Student
For me when it came time to decide between two good offers, I used geography and access to populations of interest to decide where I wanted to be. Those may be crucial criteria for some people, but for me geographic location was a 'luxury' that I didn't consider until the end.

I am trying to make a decision between my two favorite programs. I actually never ranked either program ahead of the other, and I didn't really think it would come down to making a choice between the two. I don't think there is necessarily a "wrong" choice b/c both are great, but I'm still really struggling...

Does anyone who has been in a similar situation have any advice? What did you use as your tie-breaker?

And before anyone scolds me for holding offers - these are the only two I'm holding/would consider at this point. I want to make my mind up ASAP - for both my sanity AND for the lucky person on a waitlist who will get the spot I turned down! My goal is to decide by Monday...