Different case: stanford or columbia?

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Discus: College Search and Selection: April 2004 Archive: Different case: stanford or columbia?
By J1986 (J1986) on Friday, April 02, 2004 - 09:07 pm: Edit

I was accepted to both yesterday and although stanford was my top choice after yale rejected me EA, columbia named me a rabi scholar, among (they say) about 10 other students in my year. since i'm very involved in research, it seems like a great opportunity because it guarantees me a lab and grant money... but then i still love stanford because of the campus and just the whole environment i think would be better suited toward my personality. but then i live in new york, and california seems so far away, while nyc seems almost too close.

i do feel really lucky to get into both schools, but now i feel really torn.. i'd love to hear some opinions on what other people think. thanks!

By Sac (Sac) on Saturday, April 03, 2004 - 02:58 pm: Edit

I'd love to hear this discussion, as well, as my S has some of these same choices. (Columbia as John Jay Scholar. Stanford EA) but we live in the Bay Area. Like you in reverse -- Stanford seems too close and familiar, while NYC seems so far away and big.

Since you live in NYC, could we trade info on Stanford for your info on Columbia? Do you know anything about the John Jay Scholars program? Do you think the NYC students at Columbia tend to stick together and form cliques? How would a California guy who would go without knowing anyone fit in?

Now, as to Stanford. Although you are not going in there with the equivalent of a Rabi Scholarship, the university has tons of resources to throw at students and many undergrad research opportunities in the biological sciences. (Assuming that's what you're in). Other advantages: the weather, the beauty of the campus, a pretty relaxed atmosphere, a general feeling of tranquility and friendliness, great departments in math and sciences, much less restrictive curriculum (no core course), trimester system allows for a lot of flexibilty. They've recently raised $1 billion for undergrad education and have added many more freshman and sophomore seminar opportunities. A student there can write a proposal to go travel somewhere for a project and easily get a $3000 grant from what I've heard.

Downside: distance from home, the same relaxed atmosphere and tranquility may just be downright boring for a New Yorker, suburban location, though it has good humanities departments the student body as a whole is definitely more "techie", seems less intellectual and more pre-professional to me than Columbia, high level of sports means tons of athletes. All these downside issues might actually be pluses to you. Just depends on who you are.

Now, your turn. What do you see as the differences?

By J1986 (J1986) on Sunday, April 04, 2004 - 04:36 pm: Edit

Thanks for your really in depth answer.

I don't know much about the John Jay Scholars program although I think it's safe to assume that if your son was recognized as one among all the applicants, it must be a true honor. My problem with Columbia has always been that I felt it didn't have a real campus. "The city is the campus" is what I've always heard and I was afraid that the university wouldn't have that sense of school spirit like other more isolated colleges. I brought that up in a tour, and the tour guide assured me that there are many on-campus events that bring the student body together.

I'm actually no longer choosing between Stanford and Columbia because I miraculously was accepted to the school that I felt I had the least chance of getting into, and it's very likely I will end up there.

For your son, I think his decision lies in his personality and where he believes he will be most comfortable. I wish him the best of luck and I know he'll have a great time wherever he goes

By Sac (Sac) on Monday, April 05, 2004 - 01:24 pm: Edit

What school are you choosing over Columbia and Stanford, and why?

By J1986 (J1986) on Monday, April 05, 2004 - 02:53 pm: Edit

Princeton -- It was definitely the long shot school I applied to, and they haven't accepted anyone from my school for at least 4 years.

Princeton's location was a compromise between being too far and too close. I had talked with my family about Stanford, which I was starting to favor over Columbia, and they all expressed wishes that I stay closer to home, so it was definitely a relief for my family that I was accepted.

My decision to choose Princeton really came down to princeton being princeton. the campus, the academics, the undergrad focus, etc.

By Sac (Sac) on Monday, April 05, 2004 - 03:28 pm: Edit

Congratulations! Best of luck there. I'm sure you made a great decision.

By Pacificali04 (Pacificali04) on Tuesday, April 06, 2004 - 01:28 pm: Edit

stanford - awesome school and lots of research opportunites

By Taieef (Taieef) on Wednesday, April 07, 2004 - 10:32 am: Edit

Hi, im in a bit of the same dilemma except that i was accepted to Yale rather than Princeton..my question goes to J1986. iv been losing sleep over Stanfrod and Yale (I got deferred ED princeton!..funny how our schools just switched), and as you chose Princeton over Stanford because of its undergrad focus i thought you might be able to give me some info on Yale (as u EAd there).. from what i hear Yale is also known for its focus on undergrads (apparently princeton and yale come out top for undergrad focus among all the ivies)..since i dont live in the US and cant visit the campuses for myself, ill really give weight to what you say as you are in a better position to judge these schools than I am. How far is it true that Yale really focuses on its undergraduates? and if true, is it a lot more undergrad focused that Stanford? Yale apparently ranks as the top undergrad experience on MSN colleges. This being so, and since i am going for undergrad economics, id say the scales are tipping towards Yale. But all the same, I also love Stanford, and it is very appealing because of the warm weather, the beautiful campus and so on, but at the end of the day im going to uni to study, so if the undergrad focus in Yale is definitely better, ill opt for Yale and i can finally get some sleep lol!

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