Assuming that an applicant does his research and applies to a bunch of schools for a PhD. He gets accepted by a few of them with full aid.
Assuming that the research and faculty at all places is more or less of the same quality, what factors come into play when deciding where to go? (Also assume that the student is an international student)
How important are the following factors:
- Location (Urban/Rural) of School
- Country of School
- Rankings (For instace, U Tennessee Knoxville has awesome Supercomputing Research but a not-so-good overall Ranking)
- Size of Department
- Student Faculty Ratio
A strong factor for most people will be the financial impact, i.e. how much is it going to cost and are there scholarships available. I would also have a look at the specific field (or subfield) that I'm interested in and compare the faculty and research according to that criteria. In particular the prospective advisor, not so much the rest of the faculty.