General Question

nikipedia's avatar

Should I go to grad school at UC Irvine or UT Austin?

Asked by nikipedia (27335 points ) April 8th, 2008

Sorry that it’s come to this, fluther. I have exactly 1 week to decide.

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

19 Answers

peedub's avatar

I think that would depend entirely on each school’s program.

peedub's avatar

Although there’s DEFINITELY a better music scene in Austin than in Irvine.

ninjaxmarc's avatar

depends on where you live now.
In state students save a bit? Sorry I’ve been out of school for a few years.

If your looking for a new environment, go for that school far, far away.

Good Luck!

nikipedia's avatar

The programs are approximately equivalent as far as I can tell and the funding situation is virtually identical as well. See why this is so hard????

peedub's avatar

I was always under the impression that one should follow the best program, and not worry too much about geographical location.
If they are the same, Austin for sure.
Have you been to Irvine? It sucks.

soundedfury's avatar

Go to Austin. Irvine is a plastic nightmare living inside of a hellhole.

Seriously.

Big88's avatar

If the programs are equal I would choose irvine. California always trumps Texas. Austin is probably the coolest Texas city but I would rather live in Orange County any day.

peedub's avatar

Irvine is not a good representation of ‘good-times’ California.

We are talking about a city that enforces lawn mowing.

peedub's avatar

Unless, you surf, that is.

brownlemur's avatar

Austin! I am currently a grad student at UT and I love Austin. Which program are you interested in?

osakarob's avatar

Do you live anywhere near either of those places? If they are comparable programs and the funding is the same, you may wish to consider incidental expenses such as overall cost of living, how much it will cost you to travel to visit family and relocation costs. Do you have the cash to maintain your standard of living or will you be working?

The argument about “best program determining your choice” tends to be most significant, in my opinion, if you are continuing on towards your doctorate. Are you?
If not, you have to seriously consider the financial aspects and let those help you decide.

soundedfury's avatar

Here’s some real info: the cost of living in Irvine is about twice as high as Austin. It’s nice to be near L.A., but as a student you’ll be on a budget and crunched for time. Plus, it’s expensive as sin to go out in L.A.

Austin, on the other hand, is a great city in your 20s and 30s, has a thriving creative scene and is nice on wallet.

Two of my closest friends went to UC-Irvine and they hated it. Both of them bolted the moment school was out. One of them moved to Pittsburgh. You know it’s trouble when you’d rather live in Pittsburgh ;)

On the other hand, I dated someone who lived for 5 years in Austin and she loved the city (not so much the state, though).

nikipedia's avatar

@brownlemur: neuroscience—what program are you in?

@osakarob: Yes, its a PhD program. I can’t figure out which program is “better”.

@soundedfury: The cost of living issue is sort of thorny. I get a bit more money at UCI and guaranteed student housing which is quite reasonable. Why did your friends hate it there?

brownlemur's avatar

@nikipedia: Physical Anthropology. Sorry, I don’t know much about anything outside my lab, so I can’t tell you much about our neuro program. Good luck though.

soundedfury's avatar

It sounds sort of cliche, but both of them felt that Irvine was too fake, too made up and lacked character. It really is a planned city, with strict ordinances. One of them had problems with the cost-of-living, which doesn’t help. The other felt that it wasn’t really a campus that had much a community, and wasn’t interested in the greater community around it.

I’ve been out to Irvine a couple of times, having considered a job offer out there. There are cool places to live nearby, but I didn’t find much in the city that was redeemable. I’m pretty biased, though, as the 2 who lived out there have similar tastes in living (well, except Pittsburgh).

I can only talk about the cities, though, but I was in school for 7 years and my experience with grad school is that, all things equal, you should go for the town around it. Especially as a grad student, you’ll want to be able to find some activities away from your constant studying. You’ll go insane if you stay wrapped up 100% in your work.

cwilbur's avatar

Have you visited either? What did your gut tell you?

Especially, did you talk to the grad students there? Are they people you’d want to hang out with and live with for the next 7 years?

nikipedia's avatar

@cwilbur: Yes, I visited both and talked to the grad students. They’re all fine. Everything about both schools is fine. I didn’t really fall in love with either school though.

cwilbur's avatar

That, in itself, is a big red flag. Are there other schools you applied to that you did fall in love with?

nikipedia's avatar

Can we call it a pink flag? I didn’t hate them, I just felt sort of indifferent to both programs.

And there was one other program I interviewed for that I liked somewhat better while visiting but in retrospect is not the right program for me.

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