18 March 2009

trial by blog.

I have a conundrum that I would like to put forth to my readers, mostly because I don't really feel like calling everyone to get their perspective. I have two options.

School A: Offered me a funding package including full tuition benefit and a stipend.

I go to School A already. I have good relationships with the faculty, find the location to be very livable, beautiful and comfortable and I have many wonderful friends here. I've gotten good public history experience here and would continue to have such opportunities. Granted it's a really tough year for the job market-- nobody that I know who's applied for jobs with a PhD from my school has gotten hired. For the uninitiated, everyone in our field is operating on the assumption that the job market will continue to be rough.

School B: Waitlisted me for a similar funding package and won't notify waitlisted people until after they accept the admissions offer. Basically, they are asking me to make a blind decision.

School B is located in a huge metropolis on the other side of the country-- living there would definitely be an adventure and would offer more of a singles "scene" (not to mention great cultural and sporting events, the resources of several other universities in town and it is only a few hours away from some of the best libraries in the country)-- and I could take my car there. It has a very strong group of 20th century US historians and offers excellent public history training. School B is more prestigious than School A, and they have a very good rate of job placement (everyone who's worked with the person I would like to work with now has a university teaching job).

So which one would you choose? Short term stability with a risk of not getting a job at the end, or short term risk with a reasonable guarantee for employment at the end? What questions would you ask and what factors would you take into account? Flights between both places and home cost basically the same, for example. Both schools have the same school color, though School B has a cooler mascot. I'm tossing up a poll in the sidebar, but do leave a comment with your rationale.


Matt Newport said...

I don't like all of that risk. If you've got a good thing going, let your personal performance carry you above the prestige of your current school and you will at least be debt free (or nearly so) when you need to find employment 4 or 5 years from now.

Anonymous said...

Quite the quandary.
You are an adaptable person and would gain much knowledge at either location.
However, have you gazed upon the campus with thine naked eye, pressed your feet in school B's soil, conversed with those scholars that will enlighten?
"Brotherly love" may be rooted in the history of the city, but would you feel it there?

The gamble and thrill of university B catches the eye.
Yet you have a positive circumstance going for you already and it is going to be your efforts that shine through.

Big Sister said...

I would have to disagree with big brother here. You are young, have little baggage (stop laughing), and potentially have funding. I think it is a great opportunity and you need to jump in, just like you did when you left for Utah. You only live once and you don't have to always play it safe. It will be easier to roll the dice now than later when you have more responsabilities. Good luck :)

Anonymous said...

Logic it out. It's not really a tough choice looking long-term and job-wise. School B is the definite hands-down choice. If you want to talk real security and long-term comfort, it is the degree from the prestigious school that is going to provide that in the long run. It is so important to gain new exposure and fresh insight that comes with a new environment and experiences. You'll probably be more stimulated. It will also fight against developing a "cloister mentality." Additionally, it's good to challenge yourself before life situations (marriage, kids, etc.) become considerations. Current economic conditions will run their course (as they do) and you'll be in a much better place having a degree from School B. You won't regret it in terms of security and job reward down the road. It is actually the safer route. I can't say that for the first option. Again, logic it out. Don't limit yourself, your future options and happiness. Go for it!

Mum said...

So after many cups of coffee and some good conversation here are my thoughts. Webster gives the defination of opportunity as "a good chance for advancement or progress." I think that school B gets my vote and it should get yours as well. School B will give you new and fresh opportunities. A chance to expand your mind and person, a chance to experience new things, ideas, meet people and be a historian. You have a chance to experience things in the coming years that may not be available later. This is the chance to expand yourself in many ways. Spread your wings and take the chance. School B will give you the best that it has in many ways. Take the chance! Go for it!

Michaele said...

I was also on School B's waitlist last year for funding and found out the day after I accepted a different offer. When do you have to let the U know? If it's after the 15th just don't answer anyone until you hear more from school B. I believe School B would have let me accept their offer after the deadline- when the funding was offered.

I would also suggest that if you can do it- visit the campus and meet with your potential advisor- that could make the decision for you.

Good luck!

myrtlemichelle said...

Regardless of how much I want you to stay at School A for selfish reasons, I think School B would offer you a lot more. While if it were my choice, I would probably stick with School A for financial reasons because I'm already in so much debt from my undergrad, you could take that chance on funding. And clearly, the school with a cooler mascot is the way to go.

I would miss you, but it would also give me an excuse to visit you. :) Good luck!

Jenel said...

Hmmm...well I myself definitely went with the School A style of getting a graduate degree and like Michelle I have selfish reasons for thinking you should stay at School A.

One thing I wish I would have looked more closely at is specific people you want to work with. You know the faculty here so that's covered, but you might want to at least send some e-mails to potential people at the other school. While I agree that School B sounds like an awesome opportunity, you won't get as much out of it if it isn't the right fit. Plus, I'm always chicken about giant amounts of debt.

Good Luck!

Neighbor said...

If the only thing stopping you from school B is funding (which is what it sounds like to me): make your decision knowing that you might not have funding, and if needed create a back up, if that is what you want. Funding stopped me in my tracks, so I understand that dilemma and stress (therefore I would personally choose school A), but I think you've got a little more going for you.

I'm all about the lists. Up sides and down sides. When I ignore those lists, is when I tend to get into trouble! But that's me. Good luck!

Matt Newport said...

Well, after some more thought and your other post, I'm changing my vote. I'm going with School B now. If you're in the hole for one year of non-resident tuition, ok. I don't think you have much debt now, and that's not much more if you think that School B gives you such a better shot at a better job after graduation.

The other thing is life experience. You're going to get more of that on the other coast because it's new and different for you and you'll have to adapt. It hard to put a price tag on life experience.