Princeton? Yale?

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Discus: College Search and Selection: April 2004 Archive: Princeton? Yale?
By Wunderbar (Wunderbar) on Friday, April 02, 2004 - 06:26 pm: Edit

I was admitted EA to Yale, and planned to go, not expecting anything from Princeton. Today, I received an admissions package from Princeton. What are the strengths and weaknesses for each university? I really appreciate your advice, as I am completely confused between two seemingly equally wonderful schools.

By Ndbisme5 (Ndbisme5) on Friday, April 02, 2004 - 06:28 pm: Edit

You are so lucky. Go visit the college, preview the atmosphere (social and academic) and decide for yourself. Check out Ivy Leage forum, then the college.

By Bunmushroom (Bunmushroom) on Friday, April 02, 2004 - 08:24 pm: Edit

I prefer Princeton. Yale has too many large classes and is not so undergrad focused like Princeton. Princeton is also in a much nicer and safer city with easy access to NY and Phily.

By Brownalum (Brownalum) on Friday, April 02, 2004 - 08:40 pm: Edit

Bunmushroom, as someone who didn't go to either Yale or Princeton but has spent a lot of time at both, perhaps I can give you a "nonpartisan" perspective.

First of all, Yale is at least as undergrad-focused as Princeton. In fact, if you look at the most popular departments, Yale has more faculty relative to the student (grad+undergrad) population than Princeton does, and Yale ungraduates are in general slightly more successful than Princeton undergraduates at gaining prestigious fellowships and admission to the top graduate schools. Yale and Princeton are easily among the top two or three universities for undergraduate academics in the entire country.

Also, Princeton is in a quiet village that has been described by several of my friends who went there (for grad and undergrad) as "the most boring village in the United States." I tend to agree with them. By contrast, Yale is in one of the nation's best college towns -- with more theaters, bars, restaurants and nightclubs within two blocks of the campus than within two blocks of every other Ivy League campus, combined. New Haven has better access to New York City than Princeton does. Safety-wise, Yale is statistically the second-safest Ivy League school after Dartmouth (Princeton is 3rd).

You can repeat common myths about the two, but that doesn't make them true.

By Mzhang23 (Mzhang23) on Saturday, April 03, 2004 - 12:04 am: Edit

Make your own choice. Yale and Princeton are both great for undergraduate education.

However, do keep in mind that Princeton makes less use of TA's. Their precepts (basically TA's) are also taught by professors, and new rules are requiring an increasing numbers of courses to be completely taught by professors. If less TA's and grad students are what you're looking for, consider Princeton.

Please visit both Yale and Princeton. There are advantages to both schools, and the fit is only something that you can determine. Ignore all the fellowship rates, grad school feeding rates, etc and just visit and decide which one you'll like more.

By Brownalum (Brownalum) on Saturday, April 03, 2004 - 12:23 am: Edit

Mzhang23 wrote:

"If less TA's and grad students are what you're looking for, consider Princeton."

I disagree. If you're looking for more contact with professors, Yale actually has a slight edge.

"Please visit both Yale and Princeton."

I agree. Both are great and you need to see which one you like more.

By Bunmushroom (Bunmushroom) on Saturday, April 03, 2004 - 02:55 am: Edit

I personally thought New Haven was a horrible, dingy, and frightening town. As much as Brownalum spews, it does not mean she is correct. Yale has many large classes and even has a larger student:faculty ratio than a place like Stanford or Cal Tech.

By Tunan_Fish (Tunan_Fish) on Saturday, April 03, 2004 - 11:01 am: Edit

"Safety-wise, Yale is statistically the second-safest Ivy League school after Dartmouth (Princeton is 3rd)."


In 2001 -- this may have changed, but you cannot look at someone with a straight face and say New Haven is safer than Princeton -- New Haven's crime rates were off-the-chart-higher than Princeton's crime rates. Granted, New Haven is not Yale and the town of Princeton is not Princeton U, but many of your claims seriously make me question whether or not you've ever visited these places.

For 2001 data:

By Bunmushroom (Bunmushroom) on Saturday, April 03, 2004 - 01:44 pm: Edit

If anyone told me the New Haven was safer than Princeton, I would laugh in their faces before realizing that they are stupid or have an agenda (like I have noticed Brownalum having).

By Brownalum (Brownalum) on Saturday, April 03, 2004 - 03:15 pm: Edit

Tunan Fish, the downtown area of New Haven is safer than Princeton. And the crime rates in the city as a whole are down 60% from a few years ago. That's one reason why the price of an average house or apartment in New Haven is more than twice what it was a few years ago.

In addition, as I already pointed out, the Yale campus is the second-safest campus in the Ivy League after Dartmouth. Princeton is third.

Tunan Fish, you are clearly an alum or student of Princeton or Harvard and have some sort of anti-Yale agenda. Unlike you, I can give an unbiased opinion on these matters, as someone who is not affiliated with any HYP school but has visited HYP each extensively.

And Bunmushroom, you can laugh all you want, but in the end the facts are A) that in part because of Yale's location in one of the top college towns in the country, Yale received 15.5 applications per spot in the 2008 class, versus Princeton which received 11 per spot, and B) I do not have any "agenda" and I am not "stupid."

By Karen182 (Karen182) on Saturday, April 03, 2004 - 03:21 pm: Edit

It really doesn't matter what other people think. We can tell you which campus is "better", but that doesn't mean it's better FOR YOU.

Visit, pick whichever one feels "right" to you.

By Popo (Popo) on Saturday, April 03, 2004 - 05:40 pm: Edit

Hey wunderbar what was you Sat scores and what major did you apply for to yale?

By Wunderbar (Wunderbar) on Saturday, April 03, 2004 - 05:55 pm: Edit

of course, you know that scores don't really make much of a difference (unless your score is too low...maybe under 1200?). in any case, i have 1500+, and 3 800s on SAT 2s. you don't need to choose a major until 2nd or 3rd year at yale, so i haven't chosen a major yet. i want to double major in a science and a social science. i haven't thought about princeton yet, because i didn't expect an acceptance from princeton at all. good luck on your applications.

thanks for your advice. i'll visit both, then pick one based on my gut feeling.

By Lilyofthevalley (Lilyofthevalley) on Sunday, April 04, 2004 - 12:54 am: Edit

ahh! from one who wishes she could even consider applying to either school, congratulations on acceptance! and hope you are happy at whichever you end up attending. good luck!

By Wunderbar (Wunderbar) on Monday, April 05, 2004 - 06:56 pm: Edit

aww thanks :)...if you want to, you should also apply to those schools. there ARE surprises. for example, i was waitlisted by johns hopkins. you never know!!!!

By Tunan_Fish (Tunan_Fish) on Tuesday, April 06, 2004 - 12:58 pm: Edit

Visit downtown New Haven. Visit downtown Princeton. You cannot tell anyone with a straight face that the first is safer than the latter.

You have not pointed out anything. You give opinions without backing them up and when confronted with facts, try to do character assasinations. Maybe you should try to reconcile your posting past with your descriptions of yourself before you call other people biased or one-sided.

By Pacificali04 (Pacificali04) on Tuesday, April 06, 2004 - 01:24 pm: Edit

give me what you dont want. im serious!

By Brownalum (Brownalum) on Tuesday, April 06, 2004 - 01:51 pm: Edit

Actually, Tunan Fish, you can... and there are plenty of things I've pointed out. Go back and read my above posts if you missed something!

By Tunan_Fish (Tunan_Fish) on Tuesday, April 06, 2004 - 05:44 pm: Edit

I guess I will have to stop trying to convince you of anything, since you don't respond to either statistics or common sense.

Anyway, congratulations to the original poster: getting into both Y and P is quite an accomplishment. Despite the picture that Brownalum tries to paint of me, I consider it a toss-up between the two for the best undergrad school. Each has its certain pros and cons -- urban vs. suburban, bigger vs. smaller, etc -- that need to be taken into account when making such a choice.

By Cwc2799 (Cwc2799) on Saturday, April 17, 2004 - 04:56 am: Edit

Both are great, I would have been thrilled to have gotten into either but was rejected by both. Got into Dartmouth, prob will go to Williams. I say Yale hands down b/c
1)academically, they are equal.
2)Yale has a more thriving intellectual culture amg undergraduate student body; if you read recent issues of the daily princetonian, you'll find that princeton's undergraduate culture is suffering from a lack of intellectualism and a lot of drinking, something the administration percieves as a problem but which students support, stating their right to separate academics pusuits from social life.
3)Yale's residential college system provides a more nurutring and interesting environment than Princeton's snooty eating clubs. The resid coll are comprised of a diverse sampling of the student body, whereas eating clubs are much more homogenous since they are like fraterinites where you apply to get into them and thus tend to attract similar types of people.
4)Yale is know to have a much friendlier, accepting, and diverse student body; Princeton, with its selective eating clubs and largely conservative/preppy image, is known to have a much more snobby/preppy/conservative/stratified student body.
5)While you will work hard at either of them, Princeton's academic environment is know to be higher stress and more grade-conscious. The stressful/grade-obsessed nature of the academic environment will only get worse with the new grade quotas instated to stop grade inflation.
6)Quotas on number of A's given, 35%, in addition to not making sense since students are being graded against each other instead of strictly on the merits of their own work, will hurt Prin students in grad school placement.
7)I dont know abt new haven being the second safest college town in the country, but it def has a much worse rep than it deserves. It is certainly more interesting and has more cultural activities than the small, bland town of princeton.
Anyway, those are my reasons. I envy the position you're in. Good luck!
Here is something i found in a post debating the "prestige" factor:
"The reason why Yale is the most "prestigious" school academically (with the possible exception of Caltech, a tiny university where 99% of students are science majors) is because its graduates are, when all programs are averaged, more successful than those of any other college or university in the country.

The reason for this is complicated, but it doesn't have to do with "prestige." It has to do with the fact that Yale has more research per student than any other university (except MIT and Caltech), spends more per student than any other university on student services, advising, fellowships and teaching (except Caltech), has the smallest class sizes of any university in the country (except Caltech), and has more professors per student in the most popular departments than any other university in the country (again, except possibly Caltech). Because Yale has the most compact campus (all dorms across the street from each other, versus 30 minutes away from each other at say, Harvard), as well as the best-endowed residential system (the "residential colleges"), Yale also has a thriving campus life.... and the top students tend to be more attracted to schools with a vibrant campus social scene."

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