Graduate school dilemma--solicitng opinions Hello, I started a thread a couple of days back that never really caught on. I'd like to phrase the question a bit more generally so that those with experience can give some advice. I currently am deciding between applying to grad schools Caltech and Glasgow University for space systems engieering. Caltech is one of the top 3 American schools in astronautics, but doesn't seem to have exactly what I'd be looking for in terms of research (though I admit I don't completely know). It also requires a more extensive application which involves taking the general GRE and a couple of other things. I have some postive contact with the department, suggesting I apply, but no one has or will gaurantee me anything. Glasgow is respected in Europe, but is not the same level as Caltech, and is virtually unknown in America. It also charges (a lot) in tuition fees, because unlike in America, graduate school is not typically paid for by the uni in the UK. That being said, it has research projects which are extremely similar to my own interests, a PI who (1) lets grad students publish as first author and (2) has already invited me to join the group--unofficially gauranteeing me a spot. Which one should I apply to? Both? Would going to a less prestigious school ruin my career? Would going to a prestigious grad school but doing research in something closer to propulsion than full on systems engineering bar me from entering the field? Thanks for the thoughts.