I have been offered two PhD positions (!) and I'm having trouble deciding between the two.

I think they are fairly close in terms of the quality of the program itself (including advisor, department, cohort, etc...). However, in one of the positions, I'd be close to family, which I think makes me unfairly think of this position with respect to the other, thus "biased".

Any advice on how could I be more unbiased towards the decision? What do you think could help me change my mind?

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    Your post is far too long and too specific to you. Try to shorten to a paragraph or two Mar 16 at 14:11
  • Did that. I guess I was going against the guidelines because I just wanted a discussion around this issue and a general advice, rather than a single unequivocal answer. Hope to gather some useful advice even with this more generic post. Mar 16 at 15:23
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    Great job improving the post, this is much better. We'll see if the community votes to reopen. In the mean time: are you sure you want to be "unbiased?" Lots of grad students get into depressed, lonely spirals of unproductivity (or at least so the questions here seem to indicate); if being near your family helps to avoid this, then maybe you shouldn't trade away that advantage.
    – cag51
    Mar 16 at 15:25
  • I think I have an implicit hope that I would be fine even far from family, although I would certainly have less support. So with this assumption, I would prefer to be "unbiased". Of course, if we abandon this assumption, there would be a clearer advantage, as you said. Mar 16 at 15:39
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    Being close to family was a strong factor (the strongest really) in deciding which schools to apply to. My family is an emotional support system. Doing a PhD is hard, it's always nice to take a break and visit home. I don't understand what you mean by "fairly" deciding who to be with because you are the one doing the PhD, so you should choose the program that has the most benefits for you. Those benefits might include proximity to your family. Mar 16 at 21:05

1 Answer 1


Congratulations on your offers!

Since you would have accepted either in isolation, there really is no "wrong" choice here. Remember, this will be years of your actual real life so choosing based on closeness to friends and family is not a mistake.

Try not to get paralyzed with the thought that you have to make the perfect choice (either here or elsewhere). Since both offers seem good, you shouldn't be too preoccupied with fears of making a mistake.

Some biased advice: choose the one that you know most about and where the future trajectory seems clearest. Pick the one where you are most likely to feel comfortable and happy. And as you inevitably come to difficult parts in your PhD journey (as everyone does) don't mourn not having taken the other path.

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