I am not sure which forum to post this in, but I suppose this will do.
I am 22 and just about to graduate from college. I applied to two graduate programs in my field. I have been accepted to both. The first is Yale University, and the other is Duquesne University. I am also about to get married in June of this year to a wonderful woman who would like to further her education. She has been admitted to programs located very close to both of the schools. I have been awarded a full-scholarship and graduate assistantship at both schools, however Duquesne is willing to pay me a substantially larger stipend.
In my field, Yale is much more highly regarded than Duquesne (as I’m sure it is in many fields). And, I think I will meet with much more worldly success, prestige, money, influence, etc if I go to graduate school there. I also think my peers and colleagues will be of a higher standard (from a worldly perspective). In the long term, this may set me up for a career where I could provide (materially) for a large family but I could also see how this same career could become an idol for me and destroy my soul and harm my family.
At Duquesne I will have significantly more opportunities to start my professional career while still attending school. Together we will have much more money in the short term, and the cost of living seems to be less in Pittsburgh than in New Haven. In the long run, I think that this career path will never yield as much (or even enough) money, but I will not have to travel as much and I think the temptation to put my career above my relationship to God and my family will be much less. My question is this: will my colleagues and mentors be of a higher standard spiritually? I know they can’t compete in the world, but is there a chance my future wife and I will meet people who honestly love God and want to serve him? Is Catholic education worth it? (I have never attended a Catholic school).
Also, for the past four years I have been living in an area of the country where the Church is spiritually (and also literally sometimes) in ruins. However, when I went to Pittsburgh it seemed like the Church there is healthy and living. Can anyone confirm this? In New Haven it seemed to be very similar to where I am now. Does anyone who lives near there know if this is in fact the situation?
I have been trying to discern this situation for months and it is quickly approaching the time to make a final decision. Fundamentally, we each want to do God’s will, but it does seem like different goods come from each of these opportunities. Do any of you have advice for us?