I hope some of you can provide me different opinions regarding the dilemma I face now. I am about to begin life as a graduate student majoring in Electrical Engineering; my goal is a PhD. Of the schools that I have been accepted into there are two schools I am trying to decide between. One of the schools is in the Top 15 EE Graduate Schools with a highly reputable research program. The second school is in the Top 60 EE Graduate Schools - I have been offered a full fellowship/stipend to complete my studies at this school. Both schools have their research programs funded by the NSF (and equivalent organizations) and they both conduct research in the area I am interested in. The reason I mention the ranking these schools reside in is because I have heard numerous people mention the importance of the ranking/prestige of the school you receive a PhD from; especially if you are considering a career in academia. I am not concerned about external factors such as location of the schools - both schools are in locales I would enjoy living in. If any of you were faced with this decision which would you choose. While I am able to obtain a loan that would fund my graduate studies; do you think such a move is worthwhile in the long run? Am I being too concerned about prestige when I should be grateful I am being offered a full ride scholarship to pursue my studies in something I am truly interested in? Any opinions/personal anecdotes/suggestions would help. Thanks!