|MadSci Network: General Biology|
Anita, Choosing a graduate program is not an easy decision to make. Rather than look at what school has the best "ranking", I would suggest you look for the program that best suits your interest. If you are interested in marine biology and go to the highest rated biology school, is it really the best place for you if it is nowhere near an ocean? Next, look for the best people. Other professors know who the best in the field are. Find out who they are and where they are at. Finally, look at alternitives. For instance, if you are interested in animal health, why not look for an animal science or animal pathology department? Science, espically the life sciences, are full of overlapping disciplines and cross-training opportunities. Concerning finding out how hard it is to get into a school's program - ask them!!! Approach this like you are looking at a potential job instead of furthering your education. I suggest you talk to three very important groups of people. 1. The Graduate Admissions office. They can tell you all of the in's and out's about applying to their school and what they are looking for in a good candidate. 2. Current Graduate Students. Who better to talk to in order to get a feel for what the department has to offer and what the quality of the current research is? 3. A potential advisor. First off, this is the person you might have to work with for the next 2-4 years. These folks can tell you if you are right for their department and, often times, if the department is right for you. Additionally, these folks have a lot of pull with the admission office. They might be able to help you get through some of the red tape. I realize that I did not directly answer your question. My reason is two- fold. First, you need to investigate the school yourself. Don't rely on some guide book or survey to tell you what school is right for you. Second, I tried to offer some advice to others who might come across this page in their web searches. I wish you luck in your journey! Eric J. Biddinger Graduate Student Department of Horticulture Penn State University firstname.lastname@example.org
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