Background: I am a non-traditional applicant who would rather not work until I am 90 to pay off all of my loans. Ideally I'd want to go into academia, but PI/government would be nice as well. I have no geographic preferences, and I think biglaw is likely to be allergic to my work experience and age. Also, I like all three schools.
I am now struggling with the prestige/cost trade-off. Opinions?
(Rankings, Profiles, Tuition, Student Life, . . . )
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Duke is not worth $100k more than UT; rule that out if they make you pay sticker. UT places much better across the board than UIUC, although it's not a bad school. If you don't mind working in Illinois, I would say take the money and run. If you want Texas or a bit more portability, go to UT.
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