Saturday, March 1, 2008

Graduate School MADNESS. Sigh.

Okay folks. Do you want to start donating to the "Chavi Needs to Go to Grad School" fund now? Or later?

I got an e-mail today informing me a postal letter is on its way from BRANDEIS ... with a big, fat acceptance! Eeeeeeeeep! Accepted at BRANDEIS! The Jewish ivy league, folks. I could meet my besheirt! I mean, the odds would, indeed, be in my favor. So that means Michigan, Brandeis and UConn are in the bag. The problem? Money.

It's always about money.

UConn has promised me an assistantship, with tuition remission, and a stipend, among other things. Michigan has said there will be no financial aid, nothing, nada, niet. And Brandeis? Well, I haven't gotten the official letter, so I can't say whether there is any type of funding aid, but from what I've heard the school is infamous for not offering any funding to its masters students.

The latter is having an open house day on March 7 for accepted students, and I want to go more than anything on the planet, but the late notice means flights that exceed $300. Even to drive, well, as it turns out it would be way too expensive and would require too much time off of work. So what to do? Sigh.

I think I've ruled Michigan out, actually, simply because there's no aid and the PhD program is not through the Judaic studies department, but requires applying to the department of focus (religious studies, history, etc.). I have yet to hear from Boston U, but I'm not necessarily leaning toward that. So I'm trying to figure out what is more important to me -- a no-cost Master's degree at an institution w/o a PhD program that is a decent school, but that has a very young program and professors with a focus on literature OR an expensive, loan-filled Master's degree at an institution that is incredibly Jewish, with a PhD program and is a well-known and profound school with more professors in the areas that I intend to focus on.

Prestige vs. Free.

An incredibly Jewish campus vs. a normal, Northeastern campus.

I know that I shouldn't be bitching about this, but come on. This is seriously a very *AGH* kind of moment. Do I want to take on more loans than any human should for a master's? But I feel like if I had the chance to visit Brandeis I could sit down with the faculty and with the financial people and see what they think -- should I stick it out for a master's at Brandeis? Should I go to UConn for the cheap degree? Should I just reapply to Brandeis for a PhD in a year?

AGH. I want to cry.