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    Hi guys

    I was just wondering if I could have some advice since it's crunch time now in terms of decision-making. I've been lucky enough to be awarded two scholarships at two different universities which are both well-respected. The first uni is my first choice in terms of course and living situation, and i've been given an award equivalent to a research council stipend. The second uni, also brilliant but stipend worth significantly more per year, and award is most prestigious. However, a few question marks over direction my thesis would take at this second uni. Anyway, just wondered whether you thought it would be better to take the money and prestige of second award over first one? Friends and family say stick with first uni, but I'm still not sure.....
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    It would be helpful to know what universities you're deciding between.
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    (Original post by Euphiletos)
    It would be helpful to know what universities you're deciding between.
    I'd rather not go into specifics if that's ok, suffice it to say they're both in the top 20,plus at PhD level it's more about the thesis and supervisors than the uni prestige...
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    Look at the supervisors and departments rather than the universities - uni prestige is much less relevant at this point. You really want a good supervisor who publishes regularly and has a good record of students who have published under him/her. (Edit: sorry, you just said exactly this while I was posting! 😋)

    I'd advise thinking hard about the subject of your thesis. It's a long, long slog and if you're not studying something you're truly dedicated to, it'll be a misery. It sounds as if uni 1 is going to offer you a subject you've agreed on, and which you're (presumably?) happy with, while uni 2 sounds a bit more flaky at this point. I'd go for the thesis you prefer, even if it means less money.


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    If you can live comfortably on the stipend at the first university, and you'd be happier with the supervisor/options for your thesis, I'd say go with the first uni. Yes, of course it would be nice to have a bit more money to live on, but if you can live happily enough at University 1 then I'd be inclined to go there. I also wouldn't be too concerned about the 'prestige' of scholarships - you'll be able to 'tick a box' saying you were fully funded, but a lot of people don't look too far beyond that to discover what the scholarship was so it's unlikely to matter, unless it's a Rhodes scholarship or similar!

    I was in a similar situation: offers and scholarships from two different universities. At University 2 I would have had significantly more money, but I also know I probably wouldn't have written the thesis I have if I had gone there (I'm finishing up atm), and I would have regretted that. So I went to University 2, fully-funded but not loaded, because the supervisor, facilities, general 'scene' was so much better, and I figured that overall I'd be happier academically, and about the same happiness socially compared with University 1.

    Hope that helps!
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    (Original post by PangXie)
    Look at the supervisors and departments rather than the universities - uni prestige is much less relevant at this point. You really want a good supervisor who publishes regularly and has a good record of students who have published under him/her. (Edit: sorry, you just said exactly this while I was posting! 😋)

    I'd advise thinking hard about the subject of your thesis. It's a long, long slog and if you're not studying something you're truly dedicated to, it'll be a misery. It sounds as if uni 1 is going to offer you a subject you've agreed on, and which you're (presumably?) happy with, while uni 2 sounds a bit more flaky at this point. I'd go for the thesis you prefer, even if it means less money.


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    Thanks PangXie, I really appreciate your advice. The supervisors at both unis are lovely people, I just think the first uni's supervisors are more immediately in line with what I want to do. I think you're right and I just need to stick to my guns. Thanks once again
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    (Original post by gutenberg)
    If you can live comfortably on the stipend at the first university, and you'd be happier with the supervisor/options for your thesis, I'd say go with the first uni. Yes, of course it would be nice to have a bit more money to live on, but if you can live happily enough at University 1 then I'd be inclined to go there. I also wouldn't be too concerned about the 'prestige' of scholarships - you'll be able to 'tick a box' saying you were fully funded, but a lot of people don't look too far beyond that to discover what the scholarship was so it's unlikely to matter, unless it's a Rhodes scholarship or similar!

    I was in a similar situation: offers and scholarships from two different universities. At University 2 I would have had significantly more money, but I also know I probably wouldn't have written the thesis I have if I had gone there (I'm finishing up atm), and I would have regretted that. So I went to University 2, fully-funded but not loaded, because the supervisor, facilities, general 'scene' was so much better, and I figured that overall I'd be happier academically, and about the same happiness socially compared with University 1.

    Hope that helps!
    Hi Gutenberg, thank you very much for your reply, I really appreciate your insight and advice I think you are dead right, to be fair I would definitely still be able to live on the first scholarship. It is equivalent to a rhodes scholarship but still...I need to go where my heart tells me to haha (sorry that sounds a bit corny).
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    First off, congratulations! It's no mean feat to get a funded offer leave alone two.
    Without knowing the details it's a bit difficult to advise but just a few things to think about:
    If the stipend is higher it's usually coz the studentship has an industrial partner which is both good for networking and looks good on your CV.
    If you're doing a STEM subject things won't necessarily work out as you'd like so you always have to have a back up plan(s). This means that there's no guarantee that your thesis will go in the direction that you start with and actually most people end up with this situation. But it all depends on what you're worried about in terms of thesis direction.
    Finally pick where you will have access to the best supervisor for what you want to do, facilities and resources/training to get what you want to out of your PhD.
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    (Original post by Eugenie Grandet)
    Hi Gutenberg, thank you very much for your reply, I really appreciate your insight and advice I think you are dead right, to be fair I would definitely still be able to live on the first scholarship. It is equivalent to a rhodes scholarship but still...I need to go where my heart tells me to haha (sorry that sounds a bit corny).
    You can always list the declined scholarship on your CV. It does look a bit pratty to do that, haha, but plenty of people do up until a certain point in their career
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    (Original post by alleycat393)
    First off, congratulations! It's no mean feat to get a funded offer leave alone two.
    Without knowing the details it's a bit difficult to advise but just a few things to think about:
    If the stipend is higher it's usually coz the studentship has an industrial partner which is both good for networking and looks good on your CV.
    If you're doing a STEM subject things won't necessarily work out as you'd like so you always have to have a back up plan(s). This means that there's no guarantee that your thesis will go in the direction that you start with and actually most people end up with this situation. But it all depends on what you're worried about in terms of thesis direction.
    Finally pick where you will have access to the best supervisor for what you want to do, facilities and resources/training to get what you want to out of your PhD.
    Thanks a lot for your reply, alleycat I am in fact an arts student, but yeah i think as gutenberg and pangxie mentioned, going with supervisor and direction of thesis is very important.
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    (Original post by gutenberg)
    You can always list the declined scholarship on your CV. It does look a bit pratty to do that, haha, but plenty of people do up until a certain point in their career
    Haha oh my days people do that, that is funny! i guess it's bloody tough to get anything or anywhere in academia so i can understand why some people may do that!
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    (Original post by Eugenie Grandet)
    I'd rather not go into specifics if that's ok, suffice it to say they're both in the top 20,plus at PhD level it's more about the thesis and supervisors than the uni prestige...
    The prestige of the award might well be important if you are planning a career in academia, or even if you are not, however.

    Anyway, based on what you have said, the second choice sounds preferable: more money, better CV.
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    (Original post by Eugenie Grandet)
    Haha oh my days people do that, that is funny! i guess it's bloody tough to get anything or anywhere in academia so i can understand why some people may do that!
    They do, believe me.

    Out of interest, are you able to say what the second scholarship is (without saying the university)? I'm trying to think of a UK-based award that would be equivalent to a Rhodes in terms of prestige, but struggling! I understand if you want to keep it private though
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    (Original post by Euphiletos)
    The prestige of the award might well be important if you are planning a career in academia, or even if you are not, however.

    Anyway, based on what you have said, the second choice sounds preferable: more money, better CV.
    Thanks for your reply, I guess the second award is more for people who are definitely intending to go directly into academia.
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    (Original post by gutenberg)
    They do, believe me.

    Out of interest, are you able to say what the second scholarship is (without saying the university)? I'm trying to think of a UK-based award that would be equivalent to a Rhodes in terms of prestige, but struggling! I understand if you want to keep it private though
    I've pm'd you Another thing colouring my choice was that I am concerned about the ethics of refusing one award after having already accepted it, it seems a bit dodgy and unfair to do that, right?
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    (Original post by Eugenie Grandet)
    I've pm'd you Another thing colouring my choice was that I am concerned about the ethics of refusing one award after having already accepted it, it seems a bit dodgy and unfair to do that, right?
    It happens. I mean, in arts/humanities subjects I imagine it's less common than elsewhere since there's much less funding to go around, but people do decline. I don't know about the exact arrangements if you've already formally accepted it, but whichever option you go with, when you let the other university down be as a polite and grateful as you can - you don't want to burn bridges with them after all! They will likely have a reserve list for the award so it won't go to waste.
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    Well done on getting two funding offers.

    (Original post by Eugenie Grandet)
    Hi guys

    However, a few question marks over direction my thesis would take at this second uni.
    Can you elaborate on this? As an arts student I would assume you have a lot of influence over what you want to do. If you were a STEM I could understand technical expertise and facilities vary across institutions, but what the issue for you?

    (Original post by alleycat393)
    Finally pick where you will have access to the best supervisor for what you want to do, facilities and resources/training to get what you want to out of your PhD.
    I think the supervisor would definitely be the deciding factor here. One thing to check out is where their previous students end up. Did they publish during their PhD (a prerequisite these days)? Did they end up getting jobs? Can you talk to any former or current ones to find out what the supervisor is really like?

    (Original post by Eugenie Grandet)
    I've pm'd you Another thing colouring my choice was that I am concerned about the ethics of refusing one award after having already accepted it, it seems a bit dodgy and unfair to do that, right?
    This happens all the time. Just send a polite letter once you've decided explaining about the other offer. You might feel bad but they will be used to it. You're not obliged to do anything until you've signed on the dotted line.
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    (Original post by chazwomaq)
    ...
    I'm assuming you meant to quote the OP and don't have a question for me
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    (Original post by chazwomaq)
    Well done on getting two funding offers.



    Can you elaborate on this? As an arts student I would assume you have a lot of influence over what you want to do. If you were a STEM I could understand technical expertise and facilities vary across institutions, but what the issue for you?



    I think the supervisor would definitely be the deciding factor here. One thing to check out is where their previous students end up. Did they publish during their PhD (a prerequisite these days)? Did they end up getting jobs? Can you talk to any former or current ones to find out what the supervisor is really like?



    This happens all the time. Just send a polite letter once you've decided explaining about the other offer. You might feel bad but they will be used to it. You're not obliged to do anything until you've signed on the dotted line.
    Thanks a lot for your advice, chazwomaq. I know what you mean re arts vs sciences but in fact the supervisor at the second uni is an expert in a theoretical field which is quite new and I personally have very little understanding of. Anyway they want that theory to be the overarching methodology of the thesis which makes me quite anxious...
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    (Original post by alleycat393)
    I'm assuming you meant to quote the OP and don't have a question for me
    Just seconding your opinion. The questions were for OP
 
 
 
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