The schools you choose to apply to will be heavily influenced by your interests and your goals. The following are a few criteria to consider as you’re making your decisions:
- Prestige in your field (e.g. rankings like US News, general name recognition)
- How does the school serve your goals (say via connections with a particular industry, history of producing professors, time to degree, etc.)?
- Particularly important for Master’s students; certain schools are known for having contacts with particular industries.
- To work in a particular research area or with a certain professor
- Availability of funding (will they pay your tuition and/or a salary?)
- Geography is a legitimate criterion. You are going to have to live at this place. Yes, it’s nice to live in warm places, a large city is exciting… It’s also nice to live where your spouse lives, etc.