I have seen many different research students that want to apply for a PhD or MSc program but they are so nervous about their choice. Sometimes they pay most of heir time, reviewing the websites of the universities, profiles of the professors and do their best to gather information and choose the best PhD program or university to apply for PhD but they are still nervous about their choice.
Some students only think that the universities with higher rankings are best to apply for and they miss some middle-ranked universities which are so good at their majors. This way, their chance to apply for those high-ranked universities is so low and they may lose two or three years preparing and applying for those university. While in the same period of time, if they had applied for that middle-ranked universities, they had higher chance of applying and in this period of three years, they would have finished most parts of their PhD program.
My question here is about these things:
- To what extent a person should be realistic in choosing a university for his PhD program. A normal student may be more successful in a middle-ranked university than a higher-ranked university.
I think that sometimes, normal students lose their confidence when they study at high level universities, while; if they study in good middle-ranked universities, their academic output may be much higher and they will be a more successful person.
- Does it worth that a person that has high chance to be accepted in a good second ranked university, wait for two or three years to modify his curriculum vitae and apply for a first level university?
- Which one is more acceptable and appreciated? A top student at a second ranked university or a poor and not so much successful student in a very good ranked well-known university?
I can not decide in this period of each persons' life, how he should make decisions. This also applies to other circumstances. For instance, working in good company with lower income or working in a not big company with higher level of income. Making clear how a person should make decisions like this may be so much helpful to me.