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I've got just under two weeks now to decide between Clark and Wisconsin. I'm leaning toward Clark, but I can't quite commit to a decision yet.

The thing that Wisconsin still has going for it is breadth. Clark is basically a tiny liberal arts college with a top-notch geography grad program tacked on (although historically speaking they had a geography program and added a college to it). Wisconsin, on the other hand, has strong (or at least existing) grad programs in anything you can think of. On the one hand, I probably wouldn't make much use of outside programs. As much as I want grad school to be another undergrad experience (joining all the extracurriculars, taking classes from any department, etc.), I realize that the vast majority of my time will be spent in geography. But at the same time, I like the idea that those other resources are available.

It's interesting to think about which programs are the ones I'm concerned about. I don't care so much that Clark doesn't have anthropology even for undergrads, or that its philosophy department (and there have been times lately when I've thought I should have been a P&R major) is weak. What bothers me is the languages. Wisconsin naturally has programs in all kinds of languages. On the application I saw an entry for the department of African Languages and Literature. Clark, on the other hand, has one Department of Foreign Languages, which offers majors in French and Spanish, plus some courses in German.

I'm not entirely sure why that in particular is such a big issue. Granted, it would hinder my plan to expand my research on the Aral Sea by learning Russian, but in reality I don't have much of a knack for languages. I wouldn't take advantage of a Department of African Languages. But somehow it's comforting to know it's there, that I could go learn Arabic or Thai or Hawai'ian if I really wanted to.


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