Graduate School Dilemma



I graduated Binghamton University with a B.A in math. After graduation, I pursued the actuarial field. During my pursuit, I realized that I am interested in the statistical elements of actuary science rather than the insurance/ actuarial elements. I am now looking to go to graduate school for statistics within a year and am currently studying for GREs. I am unsure when I should pursue a degree.

I have a few options.

1-Binghamton accepted me for this fall despite applying in August. The program costs only 20k for both years. The problem is that Binghamton has no reputation for statistics as it is a brand new program and their math department is understaffed. Furthermore, they told me that they have no job network or connections.

2-I can apply for this Spring. In the interim I can take additional relevant coursework and maybe pursue SAS certification. However, only a fraction of the schools have Spring programs. I found 11 programs 8 of which are ranked by U.S News. I can probably find a few more.

3-I can apply for data analyst and other entry jobs for this year and apply for the following fall. However I would only want to pursue this, if I can efficiently obtain a job since it would be for a potentially short duration.

Also note Binghamton is a 2 year program. About half of the graduate directors told me their program is 1.5 years.

What are your thoughts? How important is the network of the graduate program?