Baruch’s Choice (Of Where To Go To Grad School)

My friend Baruch is debating where to go to graduate school.

Baruch is close to finishing his BSc, a triple-major in CompSci, Math and Psychology at the Hebrew Univ. His grades are good – around an average of 90 (in each and in total), and grades nonwithstanding, he is one of those rare people who ‘get’ CS, feel both comfortable around it and genuinely interested in it. He reads Math StackExchange for fun. He is border-line Dean’s List student. On a personal note, Baruch and I were the only two students of our grading majoring in Psychology-Computer Science together (he added Math mid-degree).
Unfortunately, Baruch is still in the undergrad mindset (fostered and encouraged in no small part by the science faculty) that he is insignificant to the all-awesome Institution. This is a mindset which (I had shared, and) I assume should change quite quickly after completing his BSc – but it will reflect on the decision regarding where to go to grad school for, a decision to be taken soon.
Baruch has already decided he is going to continue with CS studies (instead of going to grad school for something else, or getting a day job, or becoming a Nepalese sherpa) which significantly narrows the conundrum. I think this is the right decision for him.
By Baruch’s own admissions, he has narrowed it down to three main options (and I love writing this, because what seems like a simple description shall probably help influence the discussion itself; see framing):
  1. HUJI – Pros: 1. Jerusalem is a friendly, “known” environment, both in terms of the University and socially (though this might change in a year or two, as friends finish their own undergrad and move on). 2. Possibility of taking graduate classes during last semester of undergrad. Cons: 1. Spending too many years in the same city. 2. Rejuvenate and diversify both social circles and academic environments. 
  2. Technion – Pros: 1. Haifa is a real friendly, liberal (and cheap) city, 2. diversity of academic circles. Cons: New social circle will involve effort; academic environment is unknown. 
  3. Weitzmann Institute – Pros: Considered best in Theoretical Computer Science (Baruch’s field of choice). Cons: unattractive social scene.

It is hard to encapsulate in ‘bullet-point form’ the various associations with each choice. Any of the above, after all, will also determine which city Baruch will live in for the next couple of years. As a full disclosure, I would naturally be happy if Baruch chooses to live in Haifa (where my parents live and where I currently live) as it would make it easiest for me to see him.

My personal opinion is that the best option would be the Technion. It’s a good academic institute – but they all are. In my view, the main consideration to take into account should be everything other than the academic institute itself; that is, studies aside, where would you want to live for the next couple of years? Having said that, my preference is towards diversity over any known comfort: life is short, go and experience living in many places. That should rule out HUJI. I know Haifa, and I know it is a great city for someone like Baruch – not too big and flashy, very liberal, big student population, etc. 

Difficult decisions. Perhaps Baruch should do as I did, and let the winds of fate decide for him.