Stanford or Columbia?

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Discus: College Search and Selection: April 2004 Archive: Stanford or Columbia?
By Xonx34 (Xonx34) on Friday, April 02, 2004 - 02:04 pm: Edit

My top choices are Stanford, Columbia, Cornell and Berkeley, though the latter two I think I've ruled out, based on the former two.

I love NYC. I love Columbia. I love the social life and the buzz thats always around.

My problem is that I think I'm an engineer. Stanford is way better in that respect that Fu.

How do you guys suggest I go about picking? I'm really lost.

By Deferreddude (Deferreddude) on Friday, April 02, 2004 - 02:14 pm: Edit

I think the choice is more than clear. Even if you weren't going for engineering, Stanford would be the best choice. But since you are actually going for engineering, the choice hands down is STANFORD! The Bay Area is a much more hospitable place than NYC, and it doesn't get freezing cold in the wintertime. The social life in the San Francisco Bay Area, coupled with the exciting atmosphere of Berkeley across the bay, is MUCH more vibrant in my opinion than New York.
I congratulate your acceptance to so many wonderful schools, and hope that you are happy wherever you go. If Columbia is indeed very appealing to you and you are compelled to go there, I definitely applaud your decision. Though Stanford is more prestigious, Columbia is also a great school that would meet your needs. But if you want my personal advice, go to Stanford!

P.S. Good luck wherever you end up(hopefully Stanford)

By Masterchris (Masterchris) on Friday, April 02, 2004 - 02:19 pm: Edit

Stanford all the way.

By Subtrunks (Subtrunks) on Friday, April 02, 2004 - 02:28 pm: Edit

Cornell is actually better than Columbia for engineering but definately Columbia wins in terms of location. Granted Standford beats out all the other schools for engineering. So it will come down to your own values. Either put more emphasis on the education or the location. Eitherway you can't really lose. Good Luck

By Xonx34 (Xonx34) on Sunday, April 04, 2004 - 01:18 am: Edit

Thanks for the replies guys.

I guess my whole issue stems from the fact that I never saw myself getting accepted to Stanford. MIT was my top choice and I applied there early, got deferred, and finially waitlisted. I had pictured myself going back east and when MIT turned me down, I figured since I loved NYC so much, I would end up at columbia, have an amazing time, social life, city life, jewish life. BOOM. accepted at Stanford. It was a huge shock and utterly confused me. I KNOW that Stanford beats the rest of the schools academically (especially for an engineer) but I had never pictured myself going there and this is whats causing my dillema. Another factor I guess would be that I had visited the other schools but have not yet been at Stanford. Next week I am visiting and hopefully I will have a better understanding what the school is about.

I have lived in the Bay Area for 11 years and am currently in Los Angeles. I had the desire and want to try something new and totally different (ala east coast). Nevertheless, Stanford is the opposite part of the Bay from where I used to live and I guess it will be different enough. I'm not sure that I know enogh about Stanford on a first hand basis to be able to make a wise decision and therefore this conversation might be a bit premature, but I am rather anxious to start to organize my future because right now I feel like it's all up for grabs.

Hahaha maybe I'll end up at Berkeley, OR how about USC guys, it keeps crawling up the rankings and I can go there for FREE.. (ew I don't want to stay in LA).... booo ;-)

By Deferreddude (Deferreddude) on Sunday, April 04, 2004 - 03:42 am: Edit got waitlisted at MIT and accepted at Stanford? Most of the times it's the other way around. Anyway, don't let Columbia's NYC location pull you in like it does to so many others. The educational opportunities you find on campus and the resources of Stanford should more than make up for Columbia's location. Besides, wouldn't you prefer warm Californian weather to cold, freezing winters? I've lived on the East Coast for 12 years before my family moved to the San Francisco Bay Area. Trust me, this place is so much better than the East. Until you experience 20 below freezing New Jersey weather, you won't know how blessed you are to live in California.

By Stanfordrulez (Stanfordrulez) on Sunday, April 04, 2004 - 06:34 am: Edit

Stanford. For sure.

By Pacificali04 (Pacificali04) on Sunday, April 04, 2004 - 12:09 pm: Edit


By Jlq3d3 (Jlq3d3) on Sunday, April 04, 2004 - 01:42 pm: Edit

Being from Los Angeles, I always wanted to be in the cold weather in the north east. After 2 days of it, you hate it and wish you were back in California. It is cold, wet, and most of the time the snow isnt even fluffy, its brown and black and sludgy. And you do not spend as much time out doors.

By Masterchris (Masterchris) on Sunday, April 04, 2004 - 01:45 pm: Edit

Stanford. I do not think anyone turns Stanford down for Columbia. Stanford is better academicly, espessially for an engineer, and has a much better campus and campus life.

By Deferreddude (Deferreddude) on Sunday, April 04, 2004 - 02:32 pm: Edit

Yeah totally. Nobody should choose a school just because it is in New York City. Location is not SO important that it overrules a superior education, great engineering research opportunities, and fantastic resources at Stanford. Play it smart man. Many people would die to trade a Columbia acceptance for a Stanford one. I can think of almost no one willing to make the trade the other way around.

Good luck in whatever you choose!

By Xonx34 (Xonx34) on Sunday, April 04, 2004 - 08:44 pm: Edit

You guys are doing a good job convincing me but I have a question:

If I'm such a fan of NYC do you guys think there is a chance that I wouldnt enjoy 4 years at Stanford, or is there something for me to do all the time?

I hear bad things about Stanford's social life, but how true is it?

By Dawg43 (Dawg43) on Sunday, April 04, 2004 - 11:36 pm: Edit

Let me give you this advice: don't listen to people who say this is an "easy choice." You've been accepted to two of the countries most selective and prestigious universities – the elites of the elites. One is in the city that you love, and the other has one of the top 3 graduate schools for engineering.

For this one instead of just naming a college, I’d like to supply you with some questions that I think will help get you closer to making the better decision.

First and foremost, forget the "snob ratings" (a.k.a. US News' graduate school reputation rankings). 3 years out of college, your work experience and quality of recommendations by past employers are not going to be overlooked, because you received your bachelors from Columbia and a competitor has a S.B. from Stanford...unless the employer is a Stanford alum. :-) Simply, the “snob value” of the two schools is equal.

You instead should fully evaluate the undergraduate engineering programs at both universities. Compare the Columbia undergraduate engineering program to that of Stanford. Talk to the professors at both schools. If you can, talk to numerous students in both programs. Read about the studies (recent past and current) conducted by the faculty members and students. If you can, go to both schools and sit in a couple of engineering classes. While there, find out if the classes challenge you…if the professors are engaging and teach the way you like…if the classes are active. And determine which school would best help you become most formidable when you apply to engineering school (if that’s your goal)?

Additionally, I spent a good amount of time interacting with Stanford students, as I visited my now ex-girlfriend 4-6 times a year when she was in her freshman and sophomore years. Everyone I spoke to loves the school and I love it too. But let me also tell you that I met a good number of students (about a dozen) who began their freshman year intending to study engineering and ended their freshman year majoring in something completely unrelated! So a few more important questions you need to answer are how much you really like engineering, and which school would you choose if you decided not to study engineering...which school would you rather be at exploring your undergraduate concentration. When you ask this question, consider both the quality and number of classes you will have taken by the time you need to make a decision at the end of your sophomore year.

But yea forget about the people who say this is an easy decision. I could give you as many reasons to go to Stanford as I could for you to go to Columbia. What you need to do is determine what YOU want out of your undergraduate experience.

Good luck.

By Jlq3d3 (Jlq3d3) on Monday, April 05, 2004 - 12:15 am: Edit

For engineering, dont the same professors teach grads and undergrads. The curriculem is also the same, since both grads and udnergrads recieve the same degrees. Also, the facilities are the same.

By Theblank (Theblank) on Monday, April 05, 2004 - 03:58 pm: Edit

let's go to Columbia for SEAS :D

the fact that I didn't apply to Stanford,
cuz i knew they would reject me, lol

anyway, Columbia'08 ROCKz

By Xonx34 (Xonx34) on Monday, April 05, 2004 - 08:09 pm: Edit

Dawg43: Thank you so much for the lengthy and detailed response. Stanford's undergraduate offerings are much better, vast, and renown than Columbia's. Also, while I'm not sure that I will stay in Engineering, I think I should pick based on my initial wants. I fear that if I pick Columbia then I might enhance the possibility of doing something other than engineering. I agree with you that its not an easy decision, but over the past couple of days I have started to lean more towards Stanford, based on my major, academics, distance from home, etc. I'm visiting this Wednesday and Thursday and will let you know how it goes.

Theblank: you said you didn't apply to Stanford becasue you knew they would reject you, but would you have gone there over Fu?

By Brownalum (Brownalum) on Monday, April 05, 2004 - 08:20 pm: Edit

Stanford is stronger in engineering.

By Theblank (Theblank) on Monday, April 05, 2004 - 08:56 pm: Edit

mmm... I'm not sure
I probably choose Columbia over Stanford.
It isn't because Columbia is better.
but I might still want to be on
east coast, be in NYC and be able to find
some places to hang out easily.
If not, I'd choose Stanford.
(I love Stanford just because
of its nice weather, beautiful campus,
and better reputation for engineering)

As the other people said, Stanford beats Columbia
in every aspect of engineering.
but, hey, as I said, being in NYC, Columbia kicks Stanford also.
one more thing, you can get a single room in your first year!!!. :D

In fact, I'm supposed to recruit students for
Columbia,aint I? haha
ok... let's come to Columbia
Eng. at Columbia is better than one at Stanford~lol

~Try before you buy~

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