- I want to do PhD
- I understand that ranking doesn't say much and that the professor and the research is what is important
- AOI - Area of Interest
- This question is not personal nor opinionated and can be useful to a variety of students stuck in a similar or comparable decision point.
Due to having a low UGPA (2.8), I applied to MS programs (USA) in BME (neuroengineering) in hopes of boosting myself to a PhD program that does research in my exact AOI (Unis - stanford, jhu, rice, harvard). Luckily during my application, a professor that I talked with asked me to switch to PhD since he was interested in my profile. At the end I got an offer from the university for PhD and fully funded (note that this university is ranked >150 in usnews). The only issue with this PhD opportunity is that the advisor is new (though decently connected) and does not have translational research.
Now I have also got a MS offer from a top 50 university, not funded and private (so I need a loan). Now my question is this- should I take the easy, financial free option which does research in my AOI but doesn't have much prestige and enough funding to do translational research. Or should I take the hard path and go into that competitive university (top 50), secure a high GPA and do good research to get recommendations from leaders in the field; but this option will be tough and will either be successful or will lead to failure. While the former will lead to success but will be at a much lower level when compared to the success that I get from PhD after masters.