Can anyone give me advice on this grad school decision?
I got accepted to both Stanford and Berkeley, both of which I am strongly considering. I'm doing condensed matter experiment with the goal of pursuing a career in academia.
I go to Berkeley as an undergrad and really love it there. When people think of Stanford, they think of rich kids. When people think of Berkeley, they think of leftist nutjobs. I definitely fit into the leftist nutjob category. Plus Berkeley's got alotta crazy people around, and I like crazy people.
But of course, political orientations and weirdo population percentages mean very little to someone who's going to spend all his waking hours trapped in a lab. Stanford has certain advantages over Berkeley:
1. Prestige. Academia jobs are few and hard to get. If I wind up looking for a job in industry, that Stanford prestige might mean a lot.
2. Money. A Stanford TA/RA is probably better paid than a Berkeley GSI/GSR (and it's worth noting that the State of California is in a budget crisis). Of course, cost of living in Palo Alto might negate this.
3. I hear that it is better for my CV if my undergraduate and graduate degree come from different places. Having a BA and a PhD from Berkeley might not look as good as having a BA from Berkeley and a PhD from a different institution.
I also hear from several people that Stanford's physics PhD program is overrated and not really that great. But of course, the people who tell me these things are Berkeley undergrads/grad students/employees, so there might be a bias at work. And I noticed that Stanford has a lot of high temperature superconductor people, and I don't really care for high temperature superconductors.
So any information, suggestions, insults would really be helpful. And if anyone can point me to a place where I can find statistics about different graduate schools (e.g. department size, publication rate, cost of living, salaries, gender ratios, crime rates, average GRE scores, whatever), that would be really nice too.
Thanks for your time, everyone!