newt11 wrote:Hey all! I wonder what do you think about an important part of the applications. Consider you gave a pre promise ( ok if I am accepted I ll do it with you) to a young brilliant professor working in a lower ranked university ( say out top 100) .And also you got accepted from a more qualified institution ( say top 50 ). Which one would you choose than and why?
I don't mean to be rude, but that is such a vague and awful question. I understand the scenario because I am in that situation currently. I have 2 programs I am strongly considering, but the ranking is vastly different. The only difference in my scenario is there isn't a specific professor that I'm interested in. It has to do with the departments. To be honest, the programs in the top 50 are mostly large programs. Programs beyond that are smaller programs. The question really boils down to (for me at least): large department or small department? There are advantages and disadvantages to both. In some ways, ranking does matter, but ranking is not the be all end all of choosing a program. Ultimately who you do your research with is more important.
Really ridiculous scenario:
Working with a Nobel Laureate at an unknown school (just having a Nobel Laureate makes a school well known most likely) vs working with an unknown professor at a big name school. Working with the Nobel Laureate will probably put you at a better advantage later in your career than going somewhere else just for the namesake of the school.
If your dream professor is at some random unknown school, don't cross them off just because they aren't ranked. They might still be highly respected in a specific sub-field of physics (let's say a school with great AMO but nothing else). That also needs to be taken into consideration. I don't have the link on me right now, but I have a link for the Cosmic Variance's blog on "picking the right school." I'm sure I linked it in some other thread through recently (I link them a lot because their "unsolicited advice" answers a lot of questions people ask on these forums).