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Hi All! You've made some great points and I greatly appreciate it. As it turns out, tonight I received word that I've been admitted into my 1st choice program. I will accept their offer as soon as the official letter gets here. (Having only applied to 3 programs, I've been making myself sick with worry that I would either not get in or I'd be attending the less preferred program.) My first choice program is definitely more prestigious than the one I referred to in my original post, but more importantly, it is a much better fit. The thing that worried me most about the "safety program" was that the faculty was not publishing in the top journals and I feel that would impact the kind of work that i'd be doing, which would impact the kind of job i'd get in 4-5 years. Anyway, thank you again for your feedback. I'm still in total shock at the fact that my gamble actually worked. (I would not recommend this strategy. You will definitely end up with an ulcer at the end! )
Off to a great night sleep for the first time in 2 weeks!!!