If you want to make it simple, real simple, you can do the following:

Apply to lots of places, then go to the school that offers the prettiest PhD robes.

So many universities opt for the basic, traditional black robes on which the hood provides the only splash of color.--and it's just so dull. I happen to like Duke's robes: elegant, subtle deep blue trimmed with black and white, topped with a soft black hat with a golden tassel. If red's your color, you could try Stanford; some people prefer the audacity of Harvard's crimson, which bellows your educational pedigree to everyone within eyeshot. Hopkins has very nice gold robes with black trim--understated, yet elegant. Now, moving into the other end of the spectrum, Columbia's robes combine traditional black with royal blue trim; unfortunately, you're expected to wear a royal blue top hat as well, which I tend to find absurd. I would also advise against Princeton or Brown, both of which incorporate orange and brown--colors that are only fashionable around October. If you just want to be different, maybe UPenn's for you; the body of their robes is a dark blue, but the arms are red from the elbow to the wrist.

I think NYU is the best choice of all. As an NYU graduate, you'd wear an elegant purple robe with a soft, comfortable gold-tassled black cap. The armbands are black velvet and, as a PhD, the hood would be trimmed with a complementary dark blue. Simply lovely.

Alternatively, you could select the graduate school whose name forms the coolest acronym.

This time, Duke's not a good choice; Duke University Graduate School is DUGS, which is nothing more than an archaic epithet for women's breasts. Other schools offer much more interesting options: entomologists should go to Brown or Boston (BUGS), coffeeholics should opt for Marquette (MUGS), and future criminals should try for Texas-Houston University (THUGS). If you like to bask in irony, you could attend snooty, coldhearted, arrogant Harvard (HUGS). Lovers of small dogs should attend Princeton (PUGS), collectors of ewers or large-breast fetishists should choose the Jesuit University (JUGS), magic-carpet enthusiasts and bald people should go to Rice or Rockefeller (RUGS)...you get the idea.

This option of course, rules out all Universities of Whatever. You could attend Berkeley, but UCBGS doesn't spell anything...

Choose wisely!