Thursday, April 07, 2005

And then there were 3...

Ok, so I don't want to become one of those people who blogs about pointless life-type things that no one cares about, but I have a dilemma. As most of you know (or maybe not most of you, assuming people I don't know may be reading my blog...probably not, though) I'm in the middle of applying to grad school. Well, actually, I'm at the end of it. To be specific, I have 8 days before I need to inform schools as to whether or not I will be attending them. Here's the stats on the schools I applied to.

University of Wisconsin Madison--Tied for best sociology graduate program in the nation. However, extremely funky funding situation means I would always be wondering if I could afford to eat the next semester, so they're effectively out.

University of Oregon--My fallback school I only applied to in the freak chance that everyone else denied me admission. Screw 'em.

University of California Berkeley--The other school tied for number 1. As such, they are offering me very little in funding, meaning I would have to go into debt if I went there. Although their prestige is very handy in finding a job after graduation, they also have an earned reputation of being a place where the faculty just don't give a fuck about their grad students succeeding or failing.

University of California Santa Barbara--Pretty nice funding package offered, temperature in the 70s 320 days a year, three faculty with whom it would quite benefit me to work with. Top 20 school, so my career options are still open. However, Santa Barbara is kind of a small town, and the cost of living is very high there.

University of Minnesota Twin Cities--By far the best funding package, also a top 20 school. However, they're very focused on breaking back into the Top 10, and as such, really discourage students from street-level activism, of which I'm quite fond. Not too sure how many faculty they have that I really want to work with.

Boston College--By far the coolest school. Full of crazy left-wing faculty who are always getting arrested for verious causes and writing really cool stuff. However, has a very low departmental rating, which would make it hard to find employment afterwards.

Univrsity of Michigan Ann Arbor--Denied me entrance. Fuck 'em.

So you can see the quandry I am in. Where the hell should I go to grad school?!? I only have 8 days to figure this out, people!


Clare said...

You totally want to go to BC. Boston is by the far the best city in the country to go to school in. There is everything around, and as far as not getting jobs, just being here will help you get a job. With this many colleges here, this is one of the first places employers look. Boston just fucking rocks....not that I am biased...;)

Howzi said...

My thoughts:

UWM - eating is good... so effectively out.

Oregon - they're an Ore-goner. Hahaha. I'm not funny. That was a digery-don't. That wasn't funny. Someone stop me.

UCB - From what I've read, some graduate degrees are worth going into debt for (ie medical, law [side note... don't go into law], engineering), while some are absolutely not (masters in most social sciences). I don't think it covers Phds, but my guess is that a Phd would be worth some debt. However, you really want a faculty that gives a proverbial fuck, as recommendations are very important for teaching jobs. If you can't establish good working relationships with professors through class and research and stuff, it is supposed to be very hard to become a prof. That said, I imagine in interviews you could still say "I graduated from Berkeley... eat that, bitches."

UCSB - nice weather is good. California girls are good. High cost of living is bad, but if funding through being an RA/TA covers most of it, go for it. However, if you're thinking of transferring at some point, it's easier to transfer down (ie from UCB to UCSB) than to transfer up. Also, as someone who went to a "top 20" law school but could have gotten into higher ranked schools, there is a tendency to feel kinda gypped... hard to explain.

Minnesota - crappy winters, but you're from IA, you're used to it. Twins games. Vikings games. However, the "no street activism" thing bugs me. It feels like they want you as a student, but feel embarassed by you. Howzi once dated a girl named SM. You remember her well. SM liked Howzi, but felt like he was an embarassment and always wanted to change him. That sucked. The lesson is don't date SM (ie don't go to Minnesota).

Boston - Go there and pahk your cah in Havahd Yahd. No-mahhhh!! Don't be worried about the school ranking... remember that this is Boston College, not Jiminy's School for the Retarded. My guess is career placement would work itself out. However, my impression of Bostonian academia is that it involves a lot of old money types. If the idea of constantly rubbing elbows with Harvard and MIT grads, and people who "went to Yah-dale where they had a 4.0 grade point ah-verage... come, let us run through the hilly brush" bothers you, Boston might not be for you.

Michigan - screw it, they suck. That's why Iowa beats them in football nearly half the time.