Background: CS Undergraduate applying for Fall 2022 session. (MS/PhD CS USA)
Knowing (and for obvious reasons) that it is "easier (higher chances)" to get into a masters program than a PhD Program:
Question: Should I apply for a PhD program at a lower ranked school than apply to a higher ranked masters program?
Please Note: I love research and will go for a PhD even after the masters. My main motive is research. I ask because I can apply only to only a handful of programs and want to know which path is better.