don't let it go away
04.06.04 // 4:29 p.m.

No, I have not made a decision yet and the deadline is fast approaching. I do have strong front runners. It looks like money will not be an issue in the final decision, although it was part of the cut. Also, location might not be a factor.

So, where am I in this process?

Front runners: UCLA and the University of Michigan (tied).
Money is not an issue with either of the schools. At UCLA, I met with my assigned advisor, Sylvia, who is the new director of a prominent research institute housed at the school of education. This woman is great and really cool. I feel lucky to be her advisee. Anyway, about the research institute, since Sylvia is the director she basically told me she can hire anyone she wants and would hire me as a graduate student research assistant (GSRA). As a GSRA, I’d get fee remission to basically cover my tuition as well as stipend.

If I choose Michigan, I’ll have all my tuition covered (according to the letter I got from the financial aid office) plus a $6,000 stipend for each of the three semesters it takes to complete the Master’s program.

Now, for the decision and what’s been in my head this past week. Michigan has a strong program, but I don’t fit as well there. The faculty who were doing the research I’m interested in are now gone (including Sylvia!). Still, it’d be a new experience in a very new and different location. I’m sure I would get a great education from a highly regarded program.

UCLA’s program is a doctoral program… and it’s very enticing because I want that degree and that training. I know I can always do a master’s and come back for a PhD program, but that might just be spending more time. Sometimes I doubt my readiness for the program, but I have to believe what others say as well as my own instincts. Come on, if the faculty felt I was ready, I got to trust them too. Plus, I fit perfectly with UCLA’s program and I know I’ll be exposed to more tremendous opportunities with my advisor (on top of the research institute job!).

The only thing that makes me hesitant about staying here at UCLA is that it is UCLA, the school where I’ve done all my postsecondary education. Still, it’s a great school. And yeah, I would like to get out of LA, but I love this place.

I just made a call to the counselor at the school of education. She let me know that the faculty offered me a $10,000 scholarship for next year.

When I visited Nahui last week, she told me I was in denial and already knew what I was going to do. She predicted I wouldn’t go to Michigan and that I’d stay here at UCLA.

She may be right. I think it’s time to formally announce my decision and send in my acceptance to the appropriate school.

[Note: Harvard, Teachers College (Columbia), and Claremont are all out of the running for a few reasons namely the amount of money I’d be in debt after the program and they aren’t as good as Michigan and UCLA in my intended area of study.]

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