Princeton vs. MIT

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Discus: College Search and Selection: April 2004 Archive: Princeton vs. MIT
By Brian216 (Brian216) on Saturday, April 10, 2004 - 02:49 pm: Edit

Hello, I am planning on majoring in pure mathematics, and possibly double majoring that with physics. I have been deciding between MIT and Princeton. Both have excellent reputations in these areas, but which is better for undergrad in this field. Both schools are obviously great and equally difficult to get into, I'm just wondering which would be better for my interests, and if they are the same academically for my subject then any other traits that u could tell me to help me decide would be helpful. Also, if you could recommend which to do undergrad and then maybe another to do for grad or something like that.
Brian E

By Willothewisp (Willothewisp) on Saturday, April 10, 2004 - 03:33 pm: Edit

It depends more on your preference in terms of life than anything else. Would you rather live in a big city or a town? Would you rather go to a science/technology school or an all-around good college? Would you rather go somewhere where students are egalitarian and serious about academics above all or where they are snobby and more interested in eating clubs and the like? Yes, I sound pro-MIT, but you need to decide which place is right for you. Academically, you can't lose.

By Mzhang23 (Mzhang23) on Saturday, April 10, 2004 - 05:05 pm: Edit

"or where they are snobby"

Are you talking about Princeton? Sorry, you're living 50 years in the past.

Princeton is fun. MIT, less so. Anyone will tell you that Princeton will offer a more fun undergrad experience. If you're ready to just stress out and study, go attend MIT. Some people flourish in that environment. But if you also want a good social life, go attend Princeton. The difference in academics is too small to ultimately pass up a social life.

By Brownalum (Brownalum) on Saturday, April 10, 2004 - 06:16 pm: Edit

Willothewisp, Princeton students are in general very interested in academics, too.

By Abz1986 (Abz1986) on Sunday, April 11, 2004 - 12:03 am: Edit

hmmm eating clubs aren't something to snoff at... Princeton is probably easier than MIT to get a good GPA though... MIT = no grade inflation.

By Stanfordman99 (Stanfordman99) on Sunday, April 11, 2004 - 12:26 am: Edit

If you're majoring in pure math, go for MIT. Definitely MIT.

By Brian216 (Brian216) on Sunday, April 11, 2004 - 01:59 am: Edit

hey stanfordman99, could u elaborate on why definitely MIT for pure math, thanks

By Stanfordman99 (Stanfordman99) on Sunday, April 11, 2004 - 06:42 pm: Edit

Well MIT specializes in pure math, the sciences, and engineering. All of your peers would have a passion for math, and obviously you would learn a great deal more if all your friends and buddies enjoyed math as much as you did. At Princeton, although they have good math departments, the atmosphere is more similar to a top LAC instead of a premier math/science insitution. They can offer you a great well rounded education, but they cannot stand toe to toe with MIT in the area of math/science/engineering. Prestige-wise, if you are going to enter a math/science field, MIT is way more prestigious than Princeton. Then again, if you somehow decided to major in art, history, or philosophy, Princeton would be the top choice. So it's all a matter of one's interests. Of course, if somebody majored in math at Princeton they would obviously be well-off and not short-changed in any way. But if you compare MIT and Princeton in that field, the victor is quite clear.

By Stanfordman99 (Stanfordman99) on Sunday, April 11, 2004 - 06:43 pm: Edit

P.S. I'm not sure whether you were accepted to both schools or are in the process of deciding which ones to apply to. If the latter is the case, I would strongly suggest you apply to Caltech, which surpasses even MIT in the field of math.

By Ngirur (Ngirur) on Tuesday, April 13, 2004 - 05:13 am: Edit

true...caltech=math, physics, or hard science (science researchers)
MIT=engineering(entrepeneurial air...busines..)
Princeton....umm...liberal artsy....boring...MIT throws better parties I hear...

By Bubbloy (Bubbloy) on Tuesday, April 13, 2004 - 03:59 pm: Edit

why don't you consider the field's medals too.

By Willothewisp (Willothewisp) on Tuesday, April 13, 2004 - 04:03 pm: Edit

The above was my impression visiting. I am living 5 days, not 50 years, in the past.

By Iska (Iska) on Tuesday, April 13, 2004 - 07:48 pm: Edit

Unless you're hopelessly hardcore, NEVER choose a Tech over Liberal Arts. If you change your mind about majors, Tech may not be able to accommodate your new interest. Go with Princeton over Tech every time, if there is even the faintest likelihood you might change academic directions.

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