Duke or Cornell?

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Discus: College Search and Selection: August 2004 Archive: Duke or Cornell?
By Leelee (Leelee) on Thursday, August 05, 2004 - 03:38 pm: Edit

I want to get a Bachelor's degree in Chemistry and I am deciding between MIT, Harvard, Duke, or Cornell. I know that I do not have a chance at MIT or Harvard so I was wondering whether Duke or Cornell is better in chemistry.

By Slipper2002 (Slipper2002) on Thursday, August 05, 2004 - 03:42 pm: Edit

Forget who is better in Chemistry. Duke is a better SCHOOL

By Tosg (Tosg) on Thursday, August 05, 2004 - 04:00 pm: Edit

I'd go with Cornell.

By Raiti (Raiti) on Thursday, August 05, 2004 - 04:24 pm: Edit


By Leelee (Leelee) on Thursday, August 05, 2004 - 04:49 pm: Edit

I can't decide between these two schools so I just want to know which one ranks higher in chemistry so that I could decide. Thanks!

By Slipper2002 (Slipper2002) on Thursday, August 05, 2004 - 04:58 pm: Edit

Just wondering: Why are you concerned with the departmental ranking. The school's overall reputation will be more important than the individual department for getting into grad school for the sciences, this is more true for sciences than engineering. If you dont want to go to grad school, than it matters more.

By Angel_Handsome (Angel_Handsome) on Thursday, August 05, 2004 - 05:28 pm: Edit

Dont listen to Slipper2002, he's a personal Cornell hater. So uhm its better that you overlook his advices.
Well it depends on many factors if you are selecting between those two. They are pretty much equal in reputation in my opinion, although peer assesment rating is a bit higher for Cornell than Duke but almost negligible. Cornell is well-known for sciences and engineering and it is very tough school to get out of with a degree, therefore it is very well respected. Duke is a very good school and everything boils down to where you'll fit in.
Duke - 25 faculty members in the major.
Cornell - 43 faculty members in the major.
I could get Grad rankings but not the undergrad.
Duke - 43rd.
Cornell - 8th.
PS(for slipper2002):- Dont you have anything better to do then give out highly biased information? Im starting to hate Dartmouth for a grad like you but i guess just because of one alum the whole school isint a s**thole.

By Madelinemay11 (Madelinemay11) on Thursday, August 05, 2004 - 05:35 pm: Edit

OP - I'd recommend getting in first and then deciding. You may get rejected from all of them, and then you won't have this problem.

By Tosg (Tosg) on Thursday, August 05, 2004 - 05:47 pm: Edit

Madelinemay: That comment is as unnecessary as it is obvious. The original poster was looking for advice on which schools to apply to, not counting on or predicting admission to either.

Back on topic, I think that Cornell has a better reputation in chemistry - and the sciences in general (besides maybe biology). But, I don't have any concrete evidence with which I can back that statement up, so take it with a grain of salt.

By Slipper2002 (Slipper2002) on Thursday, August 05, 2004 - 06:32 pm: Edit

Forgetting Angelhandsome, I agree cornell probably has a better sciences rep, although Duke arguably has a better overall rep. The point is that the differences are too small to make a decision based on "the chem department" as opposed to how you fit into the overall school.

By Madelinemay11 (Madelinemay11) on Thursday, August 05, 2004 - 09:34 pm: Edit

"The original poster was looking for advice on which schools to apply to, not counting on or predicting admission to either."

That's my point.....s/he will have to apply to a variety of schools to gain admission, so why be so hesitant about filing an application? They might as well apply to all of them, and then wait for the responses. If lucky, he'll have 4 great schools to choose from, but the first step is filling out applications to all of them.

I don't think anyone should agonize about which school is better in a certain subject just so that they can decide whether or not to even apply for that school.

By Angel_Handsome (Angel_Handsome) on Friday, August 06, 2004 - 12:19 am: Edit

".... although Duke arguably has a better overall rep" ~ Slipper2002
Maybe for you.
Dont give stupid comments when you cant even back them up. Overall rep can only be determined by peer assesment score and Cornell has higher.

By Alexandre (Alexandre) on Friday, August 06, 2004 - 02:21 am: Edit

Go for personal style. Cornell is slightly more prestigious, but Duke holds its own. Cornell is far better in Chemistry...it is not even close. Cornell is ranked #8 in Chemistry whereas Duke is not even in the top 40 in Chemistry, but at the undergraduate level, you won't feel too much of a difference. In short, go for the school that you feel would be a better fit.

By Brzrk (Brzrk) on Friday, August 06, 2004 - 03:43 am: Edit

Are you liberal or conservative? Or do you not care?

Cornell is quite liberal, Duke is quite conservative. Just in case that matters to you.

By Slipper2002 (Slipper2002) on Friday, August 06, 2004 - 09:57 am: Edit

Angelhandsome said -
So uhm its better that you overlook his advices.

The word is "advice."

Okay, my issue with you Angelhandsome is you see HYPSC, and C is Cornell which I find ridiculous. Cornell is an amazing school right up there with Northwestern, JHU, and Chicago. The USNEWS academic assessment score is the only ranking in the entire world of Us rankings where cornell beets the likes of Duke, Dartmouth, and Penn for the general program (not engineering).

For example
Princeton Review

Michigan 91
Penn 99
Duke 99
Dartmouth 99
Cornell 98

Michigan 89
Penn 97
Dartmouth 98
Duke 99
Cornell 94

USNEWS, Princeton Review, wherever, Cornell is overall ranked below these schools.

By Angel_Handsome (Angel_Handsome) on Friday, August 06, 2004 - 10:33 am: Edit

Oh wait now how does Penn and Dartmouth come into discussion here? Are you trying to throw Penn and Dartmouth fans on me? Leave those school out they are clearly not the topic here.
"Okay, my issue with you Angelhandsome is you see HYPSC, and C is Cornell which I find ridiculous."
Uhm stop imagining things. I never said this or tried to imply it. I posted against you everytime you bashed a school for no reason at all, without any facts but solely on personal opinion.
" The USNEWS academic assessment score is the only ranking in the entire world of Us rankings where cornell beets the likes of Duke, Dartmouth, and Penn for the general program (not engineering). "
In the world huh? You clearly didnt do your homework. Uhm.. bite your tongue dude. Check out this


Well we do not have any rankings except engineering and business in the undergraduate area(US News) so that can be the only area which can be scrutinized. If you are talking about humanities and social sciences we have the Grad rankings and Cornell has higher ranking in "every" area except Political Science where Upenn is the winner. Prove me wrong if you can.
I am not trying to bash Duke by making look Duke better by bashing other school, that is just what a retard would do. You started the prestige whoring and everybody is already fed up by people like you.
I am sure there are many Duke fans who have the "real" reason why Duke is special and i am looking forward to it because that will be a nice discussion.

By Angel_Handsome (Angel_Handsome) on Friday, August 06, 2004 - 10:35 am: Edit

...and about those stupid Princeton Review rankings you cropped up ...everybody knows they are highly biased. Look for previous threads if I am Wrong.

By Slipper2002 (Slipper2002) on Friday, August 06, 2004 - 10:42 am: Edit

Okay, sorry for not finding some random Asian college's rankings of UNIVERSITIES. Those rankings have also been called out for being completely worthless on previous threads. Anyway, you are right, the prestige whoring is stupid. Go where you like the overall experience, all of these schools are good.

By Angel_Handsome (Angel_Handsome) on Friday, August 06, 2004 - 10:45 am: Edit

Didnt you read my post correctly?? You said "anywhere in the world" and i showed you that your statement was wrong. Did i ever say the rankings that i gave you were right from the chinese website?

By Slipper2002 (Slipper2002) on Friday, August 06, 2004 - 10:51 am: Edit

I was referring to undergrad rankings. You gave me grad-university rankings which are completely irrelevant. Cornell has a number of great grad schools and is a fine university. It is an undergrad college that has historically been out of the top ten in USNEWS, and has never been ranked higher than Duke for academics or selectivity in the history of the Princeton Review guide.

By Angel_Handsome (Angel_Handsome) on Friday, August 06, 2004 - 10:57 am: Edit

"It is an undergrad college that has historically been out of the top ten in USNEWS"
Wrong again!!! Try yourself to find out why.

By Slipper2002 (Slipper2002) on Friday, August 06, 2004 - 11:11 am: Edit

WOW you are dillusional and you substantiate your claims with irrelevant data. Here you go:


Cornell has been ranked in the top 10 THREE times in since 1991, in FOURTEEN years of ranking. On average its about 12-13.

Duke has been ranked in the top ten EVERY SINGLE year since 1991. Case closed.

By Angel_Handsome (Angel_Handsome) on Friday, August 06, 2004 - 11:19 am: Edit

Now you make different statement. Before you said it has been historically out. You were wrong! aceept it. You are not standing firm on your comments and telling me that im dillusional and substantiate my claim with irrelavant data? Buddy thats you! Anybody on this board will tell you that.
By the way i have that list too. when i said try finding out yourself i meant this list which is from one of the other threads.
And when did i say Duke wasnt in top ten?? Werent we arguing about Cornell not being in the top ten?

By Slipper2002 (Slipper2002) on Friday, August 06, 2004 - 11:27 am: Edit

"Historically" means overall, in general, a trend. Outliers exist, yes. I will keep my english simpler.

We are arguing because you continually insist that cornell is a school comparable or better than penn, dartmouth, and duke. Its almost always ranked lower than those schools in both princeton review and USNEWS. It has NEVER been ranked higher than those in selectivity in either guide. Unfortunately, those are the only two major rankings we have.

By Slipper2002 (Slipper2002) on Friday, August 06, 2004 - 11:35 am: Edit

Cornell: Considered Ivy League safety school, made fun of in harvard crimson as 7 Ivy League schools and Cornell, highest suicide rate, known as "easiest ivy to get into, and hardest to stay in, lower placement in top law, business schools by PERCENTAGE (student body size) than duke (look it up yourself), biggest Ivy, state school relationship

Duke: ALWAYS in top ten, smaller school, more selective than Cornell (higher SAT avg, gpa, etc), higher graduation rate, higher quality of life according to Princeton Review and FISKE(I am sorry, these are the only guides that rank this category), no suicides, in the middle of the research triange.

There you go.

Cornell is the worst Ivy league school.

By Angel_Handsome (Angel_Handsome) on Friday, August 06, 2004 - 11:40 am: Edit

Penn again...! Keep that school out of this.
Cornell is comparable by all means and so is every other school who is in top 15 or 20(except HYPSMC), you keep blurting out selectivity as means of academic quality which is totally wrong! If you really think that it is right then you have to accept that WUSTL is comparable to Dartmouth. Seeing those ranking, Dukies would argue that their alma mater is far better than Dartmouth. do you wanna back off from your comment now? No, i dont think so you're really stubborn.
I am just wondering why everyone else is quiet seeing your stupid comments.

By Slipper2002 (Slipper2002) on Friday, August 06, 2004 - 11:44 am: Edit

You are deviating from this thread. Like a bad lawyer. My original comment was that Duke is better. I have proven my point.

By Slipper2002 (Slipper2002) on Friday, August 06, 2004 - 11:44 am: Edit

Do you see PENN in my last three posts????

By Alexandre (Alexandre) on Friday, August 06, 2004 - 11:45 am: Edit

Actually Slipper, the Princeton Review does not rank, it rates, and it is a completely inaccurate rating. I have no reason to dislike the Princeton Review since it rates my Michigan #3 in the nation at the graduate level, but the fact is, it is completely inaccurate and based entirely on student opinion. Besdies, it is way to formulaic. I find the Princeton Review to be no more accurate than the Zaggat collection.

As for the comparison of Duke Cornell, Dartmouth and Penn, it is impossible to determine which one is the best since none of them are top 5 universities but all are among the top 15 or top 20. You seem to think there is a distinction in the 10 or so schools ranked right below the big 6 (H,P,Y,S,M and Cal-Berleley). But there isn't that much of a destinction.

By Slipper2002 (Slipper2002) on Friday, August 06, 2004 - 11:50 am: Edit

Are you kidding?????????? WUSTL is NEVER in the top ten, and lower ranked than Dartmouth in selectivity every year except this one, where I believe its tied. Its ALWAYS lower in Princeton Review Academic/ Selectivity, lower academic rating, etc. WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT.

Duke is arguably better according to historical rankings, and similar on selectivity. Quality of life rankings are historically lower than Darmouth in the two guides that rate, academic rankings flip flop between the two. I would say it is in a similar league.

By Sokkermom (Sokkermom) on Friday, August 06, 2004 - 11:51 am: Edit


Which "ranking" are you using to determine what the top 5 universities are? Your unbiased opinion?

By Slipper2002 (Slipper2002) on Friday, August 06, 2004 - 11:51 am: Edit

Oh sorry, not at you alexandre. that was for Angelhandsome

By Sokkermom (Sokkermom) on Friday, August 06, 2004 - 12:00 pm: Edit

I never heard of "the big 6". What does M stand for?

By Collegeparent (Collegeparent) on Friday, August 06, 2004 - 12:08 pm: Edit

MIT -- and it's the Top 5 as opposed to Big 6: Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Stanford & MIT. I have no idea why Cal-Berkeley would be mentioned with these other schools.

Cal-Berkeley is among the Top 5 Public U.S. Universities; the other four: Virginia, Michigan, Wisconsin and William & Mary (although others might argue for UNC-Chapel Hill or UCLA).

By Sokkermom (Sokkermom) on Friday, August 06, 2004 - 12:14 pm: Edit

Thanks Collegeparent. I am still not clear where the term "Top 5" comes from either. Is it an unpublished ranking? I think USNews has a few schools tied for 5th place.

By Slipper2002 (Slipper2002) on Friday, August 06, 2004 - 12:15 pm: Edit

Michigan. Michigan has never been ranked in the top ten USNEWS once. Man, no one on this website is unbiased.

The point of this thread was Duke or Cornell, and I think I pretty much showed Duke is better for anyone unbiased. There IS a difference. Duke is in many peoples top 6. Cornell isn't close to that.

By Slipper2002 (Slipper2002) on Friday, August 06, 2004 - 12:16 pm: Edit

haha, okay. touche Alexandre. MC is confusing, could be michigan and cal or MIT/ CALTECH.

By Angel_Handsome (Angel_Handsome) on Friday, August 06, 2004 - 12:23 pm: Edit

No you havent proved your point!!
I think you had an arguement with Alexandre about the Cornell Law school and lower placement in Law school and you were at the loosing end. I dont want to go over all of that again. Alexandre i think you did not explain him the concept yet or i guess he's just very stupid not to understand it.
Highest suicide rate!! I really want to laugh at you, the suicide thing is a myth. You cant even prove that. "7 ivy league and Cornell" give me the link i'll believe you. If you dont know anything try to find out about the particular HYP title within the ivy league that they have(unofficially). "Easiest to get into, Harder to stay in", such a misleading comment! Its actually "Easiest to get into and hardest to come out" meaning that the academics are really tough and there is no grade inflation like other ivies. Biggest ivy ....dont see anything wrong with that, its a big research university and not an LAC. Student body is highly diverse and not everyone over there gears up for business school which you clearly dont understand. state school relationship ..so?? in that case its unique.
I can show you many differences between ivies and Dartmouth but i wont go to your low level and do that.
"Cornell is the worst ivy". There's your immaturity again. I knew you would come down to your mediocracy. Cornell has high rate of Noble prizes, billion dollar endowment, wins many world design competitions, faculty are well-renownned in their field. Even with your so called mediocre SAT and GPA or whatever Cornell has a huge list of well accomplished alumni. Go check wikipedia.com, there you will see a list of famous alumni and then check out Dartmouth's alumni.
A university is rated excellent only when it produces quality Grads and alumni. A university is useless if it accepts many high SAT and GPA students but then not turning that student into an accomplished person. Cornell accepts student with somewhat low scores but they turn out to be well accomplished. Even with your so-called mediocre students Cornell beats out many universities inculding Dartmouth in its accomplished alumni.
I think all Dartmouth is able to produce is a grad who bashes other school to bolster their self-esteem....atleast you give me this idea.

By Alexandre (Alexandre) on Friday, August 06, 2004 - 12:37 pm: Edit

First, to all people who wonder what M and C stand for in the H,P,Y,S, M and C...MIT and Cal-Berkeley.

SLIPPER, in the first 3 or 4 USNWRs (in the late 80s), Michigan and Cal were both ranked in the top 10 overall. But then, they started adding useless variables into the ranking system to knock out state schools. But the academic ranking of the two schools has never changed. They have both remained top 10 universities.

SOKKERMOM, the rating of the Big 6 is not my own. It is generally acknowledged that those 6 are the best research universities at the undergraduate level. Many others are just as good, but not reputationally.

By Angel_Handsome (Angel_Handsome) on Friday, August 06, 2004 - 12:52 pm: Edit

HYPSMC - Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Stanford, MIT and Caltech. They are in their own league.
Then there is not much difference between the other top 20 schools.
Berkeley, UMich and UVA are probably in a distinct league. These are the state schools which are "extremely" reputable.

By Angel_Handsome (Angel_Handsome) on Friday, August 06, 2004 - 01:02 pm: Edit

WUSTL beats Dartmouth in faculty/student ratio, classes under 20 (meaning small classes), classes over 50( WUSTL has low % of classes over 50), top 10% in their high school, faculty resource rank and financial resource rank.
What was that about small liberal arts college which is Dartmouth???
Now how is WUSTL is mediocre than Dartmouth?? Dont tell me your gonna use the brand name of an ivy league school to convince me or princeton review's highly biased rating, which is not even a ranking, i think alexandre explained you that.

By Angel_Handsome (Angel_Handsome) on Friday, August 06, 2004 - 01:05 pm: Edit

Oh WUSTL also beats Dartmouth in % of full time faculty.
I gave you all of that information just because you were so hooked over number and stuff.

By Mysticwistful (Mysticwistful) on Friday, August 06, 2004 - 01:08 pm: Edit

Harvard, Yale, Princeton, and Stanford---This is the real league

MIT and Caltech--too specialized and too crappy at liberal arts to be included

Cal-Berkeley--LOL....need I say anything about this school being included? It's absurd.

By Angel_Handsome (Angel_Handsome) on Friday, August 06, 2004 - 01:13 pm: Edit

uh mysticwistful.....i guess ur right about MIT and Caltech regarding liberal arts.

By Slipper2002 (Slipper2002) on Friday, August 06, 2004 - 01:17 pm: Edit

Why do you keep bringing up Dartmouth? what does WUSTL and Dartmouth have to do with Cornell and Duke. Once again you deviate off topic. But I will answer back. Then lets stay on topic here.

WUSTL has a HUGE endowment, and all those items are due to this. That is why they jumped so high in the rankings, and why Brown, for example, is so low. But a big endowment cannot buy years of reputation and a strong network of top notch alumni (you cornell guys like to think alumni giving is irrelevant, not realizing how important those connections are to finding jobs, networking, etc). Nevertheless, WUSTL is a great up and coming school and it has used its endowment well. Its public perception and historical rankings are lower than the Ivies, but this might change over time and objectively it is up there.

About Cornell. This thread was to decide whether to go to Duke or Cornell, and all my original thread said was duke was a better school. I have shown why it is.

According to:
Qualtity of life (Princeton Review, Fiske, myths)
Academic Reputation (USNEWS, PR)
Selectivity (USNEWS, PR, Everywhere)

Regardless of whether or not those quality of life arguments are myths, the fact that that is the perception. Also, why would you want to go to a school that is easy to get into yet has "no grade inflation", making it much harder to get into grad school. Lower GPA from a worse school, seems like a raw deal to me.

Duke is ALWAYS higher ranked in nearly every category. A better school.

By Angel_Handsome (Angel_Handsome) on Friday, August 06, 2004 - 01:26 pm: Edit

"Lower GPA from a worse school". You are really laughable.
Dude i quit, i can still see flaws in your stupid statements but i just dont have enough energy to waste it on a person like you. You are the kind of person which reminds us that there are still elitist in ivy league who make baseless comments.
Dont expect any replies from my part but i just pity those who take your personal and highly STUPID advice. Alexandre or whoever reading this am i wrong?

By Slipper2002 (Slipper2002) on Friday, August 06, 2004 - 01:28 pm: Edit

Prove to me why Cornell is better than duke. I have shown you why Duke is better than cornell.

By Slipper2002 (Slipper2002) on Friday, August 06, 2004 - 01:42 pm: Edit

What is personal about reading guidebooks, objectively looking at rankings (where cornell has NEVER been higher than duke ever, ANYWHERE (except random asian ranking that puts UCSD ahead of Penn), looking at selecitivity, looking at quality of life (PR, FISKE).

You have not shown why Cornell is better than Duke at all, and instead brought some random WUSTL/ Dartmouth argument.

My arguments are flawed?

By Alexandre (Alexandre) on Friday, August 06, 2004 - 03:54 pm: Edit

Slipper, Cornell is not better than Duke, nor is Duke better than Cornell. Cornell is slightly more reputable, but that's about it. But you cannot have "proof". Using the completely subjective Princeton Review ratings is not proof. If they are proof, than Michigan is the #3 university in America, and we both know that is not the case.

The problem here is that too many people try to measure the immeasurable. You cannot measure the "quality" of an education at the institutional level. That can only be measured at the individual level. All you can look at is the measurable aspects of the equation...the quality of departments, faculty research and awards, etc...

In that regard, Cornell has a small edge over Duke.

They are pretty even in the professional educations. Cornell has a slight advantage, but not worth noting.

Cornell and Duke are about even in Law and Business/

Duke is better than Cornell in Medicine.

Cornell is better than Duke in Engineering, Education and Public Affairs.

In the disciplines, Cornell simply outdoes Duke BIGTIME:

Duke #12
Cornell #14

Cornell #8
Duke #43

Computer Science:
Cornell #6
Duke #20

Cornell #11
Duke unranked

Applied Mathematics:
Cornell #10
Duke #27

Cornell #10
Duke #25

Cornell #7
Duke #32

Cornell #17
Duke #21

Cornell #6
Duke #15

Cornell #10
Duke #15

Political Science:
Duke #8
Cornell #20

Cornell #15
Duke #24

Cornell #14
Duke #16

But like I said, they are about the even as academic institutions.

By Slipper2002 (Slipper2002) on Friday, August 06, 2004 - 03:59 pm: Edit

I completely agree with you Alexandre. In fact, I previously noted how Cornell was a very strong University. But the discussion is centered around the undergrad institution, and the rankings show that Duke has the edge in selectivity, academics, quality of life, etc.

By Madelinemay11 (Madelinemay11) on Friday, August 06, 2004 - 04:33 pm: Edit

I think the main difference between Duke and Cornell is name recognition. Duke is a well known school in the south, but less so in California and internationally (much the same as Columbia).

Internationally, I would think Cornell has a bigger name than Duke. Many of my international friends had never heard of Duke or Rice, primarily because nobody wants to move to the south.

I myself don't care for Duke because

1) It is a religious school
2) I don't like the semi-rascist attitudes at Duke
3) Duke is known primarily for sports in California..not many people know of its academics
4) Most people would rather go to Berkeley/UCLA than pay the extra dollars for Duke. Berkeley has better academics, and UCLA has better sports than Duke. They both have a bigger name than Duke does.
It's simply not worth moving for.

By Fuzzzylogicc (Fuzzzylogicc) on Friday, August 06, 2004 - 04:35 pm: Edit

"A university is rated excellent only when it produces quality Grads and alumni. A university is useless if it accepts many high SAT and GPA students but then not turning that student into an accomplished person."

Top Scholarships 1986 - 2003

Duke: 17
Cornell: 7

Duke: 28
Cornell: 10

Duke: 6
Cornell: 10

Duke: 48
Cornell: 39

WSJ Ranking of TOP FEEDERS to Best Law, Business, Med schools:

Duke #6
Cornell #25

By Alexandre (Alexandre) on Friday, August 06, 2004 - 04:44 pm: Edit

Slipper, selectivity and academic excellence are not related. Chicago is less selective than Cornell or Duke and it blows them both out of the water academically. Cooper Union is more selective than both Duke and Cornell and it is not nearly as good as either. But even if selectivity meant anything, let us look at the facts shall we:

Duke 25%
Cornell 29%

Mean SAT:
Duke 1415
Cornell 1380

Freshmen in top 10% of HS class:
Duke 89%
Cornell 83%

Slipper, those are insignificant differences. Once can attribut them to Cornell having Agriculture and Hotel schools.

Finally, measuring the quality of undergraduate education is futile. It cannot be done. If 100 people were to give you their own rankings, they would all be different. Undergraduate education is entirely up to the individual. A school can provide the resources, but it is up to the student to make the most of it. Cornell and Duke offer unlimited resources.

By Raiti (Raiti) on Friday, August 06, 2004 - 11:08 pm: Edit

Madeline, you are right about Cornell being way better known internationally than Duke. However, in the U.S. Duke is more well known by your average Joe because of their basketball team. They are both very respected by people who know about colleges. The original poster wanted to know which was better in chemistry, and that would be Cornell.

By Angel_Handsome (Angel_Handsome) on Friday, August 06, 2004 - 11:30 pm: Edit

Thanx people! i just didnt want to reply to any of the comments slipper made and i never will in the future.
Fuzzylogic i wasnt comparing Cornell to Duke in that post. All i was saying was that Cornell has its share of accomplished alumni than any other ivies or prestigious institution except for the big four(HYPS).
By the way Rhodes, Marshal and goldwater just look at academic record, extracurricular activities and community work just like any admission committe of prestigious institution trying to admit an applicant. The only difference is that the applicant pool is extremely competitve. what i really meant by the statement you quoted is that the alums who get "famous" and respected in their particular field. Universities dont include the names of rhodes scholar or Marshal scholar in their "notable alumni" section but just the number. they will include names like Richard Nixon(Duke Law) or Bill Maher(Cornell).
Winning those competition is an accomplishment in itself but not the sole indicator.

By Angel_Handsome (Angel_Handsome) on Friday, August 06, 2004 - 11:36 pm: Edit

Even in India the name Cornell is almost known. One of the recent indian blockbuster movie mentioned Cornell and even in the hollywood movie Harold and Kumar go to White Castle along with princeton. The most well-known industrialist in India 'Ratan Tata' went to Cornell and whenever he is mentioned the term "a Cornell Grad" is mentioned too. One of the richest man in India and the owner of the first Indian company to have its name in NYSE is a Cornell trustee and his son goes there too.

By Benndamann33 (Benndamann33) on Friday, August 06, 2004 - 11:42 pm: Edit

Guys, especially slipper, stop using PR to state selectivity ratings. CMU has a 92 and University of Delaware has a 95...that may be the stupidest thing I've heard. Syracuse has a 96. A 98 to a 99 doesn't reflect anything. Someone though 98 sounded catchier.

By Angel_Handsome (Angel_Handsome) on Friday, August 06, 2004 - 11:44 pm: Edit

Everybody has already accepted that PR ratings (all fields) are highly flawed.

By Par72 (Par72) on Saturday, August 07, 2004 - 01:14 am: Edit

Duke is much better than Cornell.

By Scubasteve (Scubasteve) on Saturday, August 07, 2004 - 03:02 am: Edit

"Berkeley has better academics, and UCLA has better sports than Duke"

I'm going to have to cut in right there.. first off.. Berkeley vs. Duke is a whole other debate.. and the result would be just as undetermined as this one

but secondly... UCLA has better sports than Duke??? WHHHHATTT

name one sport UCLA is even good at... nothing (they were half decent in basketball in the early 1990s but that is about it... i won't let womans soccer count)

The only good sports school in California is USC.

That's all.

By Alexandre (Alexandre) on Saturday, August 07, 2004 - 03:21 am: Edit

Scubasteve, UCLA is much better than Duke in sports. So is Stanford.

Your claim that the only good sports school in Calironia is USC is way off.

The Sears Director's cup is the authoritative annual ranking of athletic departments around the nation. It looks at the final rankings of each university in every sport and it comes up with a final compehensive ranking.

Stanford is always #1 in the final Sears Director's Cup Standings. They have been for over a decade. UCLA finished #3 in the Director's Cup this year and always finishes in the top 10. Cal-Berkeley also usually finishes in the top 10 of the Director's Cup.

Duke never finishes in the top 10. If you have ADOBE, you can chek it out below.


I realize that Duke is awesome in Basketball, but let us not forget which program has the most National Championships in Basketball. UCLA has 12, nobody else has more than 7 (Kentucky).

By Madelinemay11 (Madelinemay11) on Saturday, August 07, 2004 - 05:07 am: Edit

" India 'Ratan Tata' went to Cornell and whenever he is mentioned the term "a Cornell Grad" is mentioned too."

Yes...the Tata group is supposed to be humongous in India...like the Carnegies used to be in the US. They basically held 2% of the national GDP in their banks when they were at their peak, which is much larger than Microsoft today.

It's funny how nobody argued against my point about the semi-racist attitudes at Duke...that's probably the worst thing I could mention, but people seemed more offended that I said UCLA was better at sports than Duke.

By Bellevueteen (Bellevueteen) on Saturday, August 07, 2004 - 06:23 am: Edit


I found this interesting...Duke is ranked number one for integrating African Americans, although it does still say there is some racial tension there.

By Scubasteve (Scubasteve) on Saturday, August 07, 2004 - 04:04 pm: Edit

Alex, maybe i'm wrong, but can you name one mainstream sport that UCLA is better than Duke at? Or even good at for that matter? (Basketball doesn't count they have sucked the last 4 years)

I'm not trying to incite an argument, it's just that I truthfully cannot think of a sport...prove me wrong by all means

By Alexandre (Alexandre) on Saturday, August 07, 2004 - 04:26 pm: Edit

Scubasteve, UCLA is much better than Duke in Football. Duke has not won more than 4 games in the last decade. UCLA has won at least 5 games each of the last 10 seasons. UCLA had a couple of 10-2 seasons and a couple of 9 and 8 win seasons in the last decade.

Furthermore, UCLA may have sucked in basketball the last 3 or 4 years, but they won a NC in 1995 I think. And they were competitive in the last 90s.

Obviously, Duke Basketball is awesome. Nobody will deny that. But UCLA has just as renowned an athletic program...and they have won more NCs in Basektball (and in all sports combined) than any other university. That counts for something.

By Fuzzzylogicc (Fuzzzylogicc) on Saturday, August 07, 2004 - 05:25 pm: Edit

"I myself don't care for Duke because

1) It is a religious school
2) I don't like the semi-rascist attitudes at Duke"

1) Wrong. Duke's affiliation with the Methodists is no more relevant today than its historic affiliation with tobacco. I don't have the link handy, but there's an official statement at the Duke site acknowledging the school's Methodist heritage but stating the university is officially non-denominational.

2) It's hard to argue against your "point", as you quite generously call it, since I don't know what "semi-racist" attitudes means or how you came to believe they are endemic to Duke. I can tell you that racial issues at Duke like self-segregation are concerns at many schools (see Stanford) and any kneejerk assumption that Duke must be more racist than most simply because it's in North Carolina is ignorant and unfair.

By Slipper2002 (Slipper2002) on Sunday, August 08, 2004 - 03:22 am: Edit

The posters in favor of Cornell are international and have not idea what they are talking about

By Alexandre (Alexandre) on Sunday, August 08, 2004 - 04:23 am: Edit

Listen to yourself Slipper. You have done nothing but criticize Cornell on this forum. All the facts point to Cornell being at least as good as Duke or any university in the nation other than the top 5 or 6 universities. And accursing internationals of "having no idea what they are talking about"? says a lot about the type of person you are.

Leelee, go with your gut, you cannot go wrong with those two schools from an academic point of view. If you are very serious about Chemistry, Cornell will offer you much more. If you want a great education all around, both are about the same.

By Alexandre (Alexandre) on Sunday, August 08, 2004 - 08:47 am: Edit

Slipper, I read one of your posts above where you claim that the USNWR gives Duke a higher ranking than Cornell for academic reputation. That is in fact untrue. Cornell, along with Columbia, Johns Hopkins and Michigan-Ann Arbor all have a higher academic reputation than Duke according to the USNWR. It has been the case for over a decade. It certainly was the case when I was considering four of those 5 schools over 12 years ago.

As for measuring quality of life, the Princeton Review is about as accurate as it is at measuring selectivity and quality of education...in other words, not at all accurate. The Princeton Review is a joke. Any ranking that depends so much on student opinion is not going to be accurate.

Fiske is quite good at measuring quality of education, but not quality of life. The fact is, for quality of life, each individual will have a different take. Some people would love the atmosphere at Cornell or Dartmouth, others, like me, would hate it. Some people would love the atmosphere at Columbia or Chicago, and others would hate it. I think we should leave all debate regarding quality of life out of the equation, since we each have a different opinion of what makes good quality of life.

Your charge that internationals don't know what they are talking about is obviously yours to cherish, but some people do want to know if their degree will be respected in Europe, Australia and Asia, since over 80% of the world's GDP, job opportunities and land area comes from those areas. Duke, like most universities in the world, does not have a global name. Cornell, although not as global as other schools, does have a global reputation.

By Angel_Handsome (Angel_Handsome) on Sunday, August 08, 2004 - 10:44 am: Edit

International?? Who me?? are you crazy?
Alexandre seriously there is no point in arguing with slipper2002. The personal attacks he makes and stupid advices he gives are all baseless. Everybody on the board knows that you are one of the best advisors on this board and slipper just the opposite. You talk a lot about Michigan and Cornell because you have been there and know a lot about it and there is nothing wrong in that. If you talk bad or bash Cornell then its certainly acceptable because you really have been there!!

By Alexandre (Alexandre) on Sunday, August 08, 2004 - 10:59 am: Edit

Actually Angel, I recommend Michigan a lot for four reasons:

1) It is not impossible to get into so many of the students on this forum have a realistic chance of getting in. Students with 3.8 GPAs and 1350+ on their SATs can view Michigan as a match. Students with 3.9 GPAs and 1450+ on their SATs can apply to Michigan as a safety.

2) Michigan is one of the top 10 or top 15 research university at the undergraduate level. Furthermore, it is highly respected by graduate school admissions committees and by corporate recruiters.

3) Michigan happens to be ranked in the top 10 in almost every major, so they cannot go wrong no matter what the student wishes to focus on, from Engineering to Anthropology, Creative Writing to Business and Biophysics to Economics.

4) Ann Arbor is a perfect college town. It is cosmopolitan, intellectual, safe, clean and the university and the community get allong famously. The campus itself is impressive and alumnus loyalty and school spirit are unrivaled.

On the other hand, I do not recommend Cornell as much because I actually would not recommend it highly to undergraduate students. Cornell is academiclly excellent, and very highly respected, but small towns in secluded areas make for extremely unbalanced college experiences. Most students at Cornell can do just one thing in their spare time...get together and get drunk! That may sound cool to a 16 or 17 year old juvenile deliquant, but to most mature college students, it sounds seriously limited.

This said, I would never claim that any school is clearly better than Cornell. As it is, only Harvard, Princeton, Stanford, Yale, MIT, Cal-Berkeley and maybe Chicago are considered better...and even then only slightly so.

By Rtkysg (Rtkysg) on Sunday, August 08, 2004 - 11:38 am: Edit

You forget one thing, 'Prestige', which Michigan does not possess unfortunately. It's well known for its easy admission. Movies such as 'American Pie' makes Michigan looks bad.

By Alexandre (Alexandre) on Sunday, August 08, 2004 - 11:51 am: Edit

I was not claiming that Michigan is prestigious. If a students wants to impress people with name-dropping her/his university, Michigan may not be the best university to go to. But, when it comes to opinions on education, I usually don't care much about what young and innexperiened people think, nor do I care about what uneducated or lesser educated people think. When it comes to education, the opinions I actually care about are those of people who truly know universities. I guess I come from a highly educated family where college names do not impress. My father has a PhD fropm Georgetown, my mothers an MBA from Columbia, my uncle an MBA from Wharton and another unle a PhD from MIT. My sisters have degrees from Georgetown, Cornell and McGill.

So you are absolutely right when you say that Michigan is not prestigious. But Ttkysg, who should I be trying to impress? Did I pay $150,000 to impress uneducated or lesser educated people? Among respected academics and researchers, as well as high-level professionals, Michigan is extremely prestigious...as prestigious as Cornell or Columbia at the undergraduate level and possibly more prestigious at the graduate level.

At any rate, Michigan is not the point of this thread. Cornell and Duke are. I personally think that they are pretty even.

By Rtkysg (Rtkysg) on Sunday, August 08, 2004 - 12:12 pm: Edit

I'm just trying to propose that many students are too much attracted by the prestige rather than the good undergrad education itself. I agree totally that for graduate schools Michigan is much more prestigious than its undergrad and comparable to Cornell/Columbia. I think those bunch of kids in "American Wedding" smear Michigan reps terribly, you must sue the producer

Cornell and Duke are pretty much the same for reputation. Duke has an edge in terms of selectivity prestige, Cornell on the other hand in terms of faculty & workload prestige.

By Alexandre (Alexandre) on Sunday, August 08, 2004 - 12:29 pm: Edit

The producer is a Michigan alum! LOL I actually know him well.

And Rtkysg, it is Michigan's undergraduate education that is as prestigious as Cornell and Columbia, but I stress that this is only in academic and professional circles. When asked to rate the undergraduate academic reputations (which to me means prestige), university deans, provosts and professors rate Michigan as highly as Cornell, Columbia and Johns Hopkins. All four get the same academic reputation score (4.6/5.0). At the graduate level, Michigan is arguably even more prestious. It is the only university that is ranked in the top 10 in all six (Business, Engineering, Education, Public Affairs, Law and Medicine) professional disciplines and one of just 6 universities ranked in the top 20 in all 12 academic disciplines.

Another thing, I don't get this whole selectivity prestige? Who the hell cares about selectivity? Emory and Washington University are more selective than Michigan, Chicago and Johns Hopkins (all three of which are about equally selective). Are you telling me that Washington University and Emory are more prestigious than Michigan, Chicago and johns Hopkins? The US academies and Cooper Union are more selective than MIT. Does that make them more prestigious?

By Rtkysg (Rtkysg) on Sunday, August 08, 2004 - 02:55 pm: Edit

Alexandre, you seem to take the overall bigger picture superficially. I believe you used the USNEWS peer assesment score to give the rank as above. Now as you and I have both gone through undergraduate and graduate study, I'm certain you notice that the way deans, provosts and professors rank a school is by far assessing its faculty. In regard to this, they in fact look at the profile of the faculty (which many are acquintances) and try to judge the reputation with respect to their researches. Michigan is no doubt is an excellent research powerhouse and this fact raises its peer assessment score consequentially. This is also the very reason why you would find peer assessment score ranking does not vary significantly between undergraduate and graduate USNEWS rankings.

For undergraduate, prestige has a high correlation with selectivity, with regard to 'normal' academic factor, and hence we shall eliminate US academies from our argument. Nevertheless, selectivity by few narrow-definition does not fit as a good measure of such correlation. Thus we often norm some gauges such as, the percentage of admitted students, the percentage of national merit students and the profile of student body I deem as three of most often quoted scales among other things. Also often to make perfection of the definition of prestige, we call on faculty profile and the breadth/depth heavy/rigorous workload.

By my definition above, your trifling comparisons result in exactly the opposite view of your rethorical questions if filtered by some scale I mentioned above. Thus, for UNDERGRADUATE Emory will not be more prestigious than Chicago which has high profile student body, tons of nobel laureate and heavy workload (although faculty profile does not correspond immediately to undergrad education). Cooper Union will not be as selective as MIT which has high percentage of national merit finalist. Columbia will not be as selective as Caltech which has a bunch of olympiad kids and so on.

To your air, Emory is not as prestigious as Michigan which has an excellent faculty and research sources

By Alexandre (Alexandre) on Sunday, August 08, 2004 - 03:12 pm: Edit

Rtkysg, my point is that, when it comes to education, I only care about what top faculty and admissions committees at top universities, corporate recruiters and leaders at top companies and highly educated and cultured people think. To those people, Michigan is extremely prestigious. Not quite as prestigious as H,P,Y,S, MIT and maybe Cal-Berkeley, but no less prestigious than Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Johns Hopkins, Duke etc...

I for one have never been impressed by the concept of selectivity. Selectivity is a shallow and superficial concept. It is like being impressed by a person because they have money or good looks. Those mean nothing to me. My SAT score was 1540 in 1992. At that time, the mean SAT score at Harvard was 1360. Chicago, Johns Hopkins and Michigan are not that selective, but they carry more weight in academe and the real world that do most universities out there. That is prestige. That is power. That is the only respect I seek.

Then again, you are talking to somebody who would pick a Mercedes over a Rolls Royce, a person who prefers Chicago to New York and a person who would rather dine at Daniel rather than at Alain Ducasse.

By Rtkysg (Rtkysg) on Sunday, August 08, 2004 - 03:25 pm: Edit

You are terribly wrong in your implied assumption of what the authority (top faculty & corporate recruiters) assess as the prestige of the school. There're two types of such assessments: 1. The graduates/students whom they will recruit and 2. The universities/faculty they will make partnership with.

When we are talking about the second type of assessment, all the top universities like HYPSMC, Berkeley, Cornell, Michigan, Brown, etc carry similar weights, depending on the specific fields most likely. HOWEVER, when we refer to the first type of the assessment (for undergraduate), normally HYPSMC will take the crown, followed by lesser Ivies, Berkeley, Chicago, etc. The reason is obvious, the proof is ample. For example, take a look on starting salary, job employment, and graduate school admission statistic between Caltech and Berkeley graduates, you must be blind if you can't tell the difference. Now that's the fruit of prestige, accordingly you should be able to find what prestige is, shouldn't you?

BTW, you can't bail out the choice you made in the past by twisting the image, I guess, it's often practically hard to empathize people's choice :)

By Angel_Handsome (Angel_Handsome) on Sunday, August 08, 2004 - 05:13 pm: Edit

Uh lets not get too deep into the prestige thing...let this thread die coz the initial poster is not interested at all.
So lets see each other in some other thread..:)

By Fuzzzylogicc (Fuzzzylogicc) on Sunday, August 08, 2004 - 05:37 pm: Edit

"Cornell, along with Columbia, Johns Hopkins and Michigan-Ann Arbor all have a higher academic reputation than Duke according to the USNWR. It has been the case for over a decade."

I think US News dropped Duke from a 4.6 to a 4.5 just two or three years ago. My brother went to Michigan and I remember UMich and Duke having the same academic rep. Can anybody confirm?

By Alexandre (Alexandre) on Monday, August 09, 2004 - 02:11 am: Edit

Rtkysg, I agree that H,P,S,Y,M are more prestigious. I have said that all along. I don't think Caltech is considered to be in that same league. I would say Caltech is in the same league as Cornell, Chicago, Columbia and the others. But I could be wrong. Caltech, Cal-Berkeley and Chicago are the closest thing to the H,P,Y,S and M quintet as far as prestige and reputation go. I am not sure about Caltech starting salaries, maybe you can share a link with us. But your statement regarding Michigan salaries compared to MIT salaries is not entirely accurate:






As you can see, the average starting salary for MIT undergraduates is between $50,000 and $60,000 and for Michigan undergraduates, it is between $45,000 and $55,000. As it is, there is a difference, but it is not noteworthy. It becomes even less noteworthy when you consider the geography. Most of the difference in salary is due to cost of living difference between where most Michigan graduates end up living and where most MIT graduates end up living. It is much cheaper to live in the Midwest, where most (close to 70%) Michigan graduates chose to work, than it is to live in the East coast, where most (70%) MIT graduates chose to work.

By the way, there is nothing wrong with MIT. You are not overrating MIT in any way. But you seem to have a problem with Michigan. To you, Michigan is just another big state school with an average student body, receiving a typical state funded education. I will be the first to admit that MIT is more prestigious than Michigan, but so are most other top 20 universities. My issue with you is that you believe that Michigan is not even close. That it trails other elite universities. That is not true. Michigan graduates, even from its undergraduate programs, are as heavily sought after as the undergraduates from Cornell or any other top undergraduate institution.

You are dancing around the main issue and that is the question of reputation. H,P,S,M and P have a special reputation. Nobody denies that. But to differentiate between a school like Michigan and Cornell or Cal and Columbia is pure ignorance. Plain and simple. Many of you on this forum are doing the students a disfavor, spreading misinformation, whether deliberately or not, about Michigan and other top universities.

By Alexandre (Alexandre) on Monday, August 09, 2004 - 02:46 am: Edit

Fuzzylogic, Michigan, Duke, Chicago, Penn, Johns Hopkins, Columbia and Cornell all have similar academic reputations year-in, year-out. They are, for all intensive purposes, academic equals, both int erms of quality and in terms of reputation. It so happens that the last couple of years, Michigan was slightly ahead of Duke. Some years, Duke was tied with Michigan and I am sure some years, Duke was rated slightly higher than Michigan. The year I was chosing, Michigan was slightly ahead of Duke and Penn but slightly below Cal and Chicago. It didn't matter in the end. I chose Michigan over all 4. At that level, the difference in reputation and prestige...and in actually quality, is completely insignificant and cannot be measured. As such, it should not play a part in the decision making process. The most important bit in the decision making process should be fit, assuming all other factors are equal.

I have said it a hundred times and people always seem to want to segregate. There are only a couple of levels when it comes to the top universities and colleges. When it comes to reputation (forget quality of education, that cannot be measured at an institutional level), you have:


For some reason, people want to add Caltech, Dartmouth, Duke or whatever other college to that group. It does not work that way. The big 5 are pretty much in a league of their own where reputation and prestige go. Cal-Berkeley sometimes breaches that quintet in some circles, but even it does not belong in that group.


The top 20 or so LACs, including
Bryn Mawr

The next 15 or so research universities, including:
Johns Hopkins
Michigan-Ann Arbor

The differences in quality and prestige between those schools is insignificant.

By Rtkysg (Rtkysg) on Monday, August 09, 2004 - 04:32 am: Edit

First of all, if you assume that I mispread wrong information, I can assume the reverse to be true as well. Such statement can not be justified and hence should not be put in your argument.

You have made a few mistake in your argument. First, I understand that many people try to underrate Caltech to reduce the number of universities deemed to be higher than his/her own. Caltech is definitely in the same league as HYPSM, why? they have the same applicant pool, the similar percentage of national merit students, the same strength in faculty, and the same strength in resources. The only difference is that Caltech is small, but it does not correlate with PRESTIGE. Most Caltech students are normally admitted into Stanford and vice versa. That's why they are on the same league !!!
You cannot say the same for Chicago or Columbia for example. Try to get people who say that John Hopkins student body is just as strong as Caltech, and you'll find no one. Now do you understand the inherent implication of same PRESTIGE ??The students' quality should be the same. I also notice you try to change people image about HYPSMC(=Caltech), with HYPSMC(=Cal-Berkeley) which is quite inane since when people on this forum try to put in Berkeley into the array they use capital 'B' for Berkeley. HYPSMC with C is for Caltech in this forum or others.

Michigan, unfortunately, has a much much less strong student body, average Michigan student again unfortunately is just an average party goer. How do you think prestige can be derived from such student? Michigan (undergraduate) is no way carrying the the prestige of Berkeley, John hopkins, Northwestern, and so on. Its league includes UT-Austin, UVA, UCLA and Purdue/Gatech at best.

Finally, again, I will say that you look too superficially on a bigger picture. You simply quote the salary without giving any regard to the percentage of employment or how long before a student is employed after graduation. Also what's their chance to get interview opportunity.

You should not only look at your experience and occupation to determine prestige significance. Are you trying to say that your experience and job is the ideal projection of prestige ? Have you ever worked in Silicon Valley? Why do you think the companies inside Valley always give an edge to MIT/Stanford/Caltech graduates ???

By Alexandre (Alexandre) on Monday, August 09, 2004 - 07:11 am: Edit

You are wrong on this one. You really know very little about colleges huh? Michigan's selectivity rank (as it is measured by USNWR and taking into consideration GPA, SAT/ACT, % accepted and class rank) is 24th in the US. Just so that you understand, Chicago is #21 and Johns Hopkins is #26. I am not making this up. Those numbers come straight from the magazine. You can look them up yourself. So your assertion that Michigan students are "much much less strong" than students at Johns Hopkins, Cornell and Chicago and that they are merely party-goers is again either a lie or complete ignorance on your part. For students entering the colleges of Engineering, Arts and Sciences, Business and Pharmacy (80% of Michigan's student body), the mean unweighed GPA of the entering student at Michigan is 3.9, the mean SAT is 1350 and 90% graduated at the top 10% of their High School class. And Virginia is as selective as Michigan, Johns Hopkins and Chicago. Your lumping Michigan, UCLA and UVA with Purdue and Texas shows how little you know about universities. I am disapointed in you for making such a statement. I chose Michigan over Brown, Northwestern, Columbia and Cornell. Every student from my high school who went to Michigan chose it over the likes of Johns Hopkins and Cornell. I have seldom met a student at Michigan who did not have the option of going to another elite university. Those that only had Michigan generally did not apply anywhere else since they got their acceptance in November and opted not to bother applying anywhere else. We didn't simply go there because we are "much much less strong"!

Every company I worked for, without fail, had Michigan in its short, short list of "strategic campuses". That list seldom had more thna 25 universities. I worked for Lehman Brothers, Goldman Sachs, Charles Schwab, Ford Motor Company and Eaton Corporation. All of those are employers of choice. I, along with many fellow Michigan students, was heavily recruited by Procter and Gmable, HP and cisco back in 1996, so I can only assume that Michigan is high on their list too. By the way, I was a 3.4 student, so its not like I was something special. The 25% of the students ranked above me probably had more offers and more clout.

Thirdly, Caltech does NOT, I repeat, DOES NOT, have the same applicant pool as H,P,S,Y. Most students who apply to Caltech apply to Harvey Mudd, MIT and other highly technical schools. Most kids who apply to H,P,Y and S apply from the nation's elite High Sschools, few of which send their kids to Caltech.





That's just 4 high schools, but I can assure you, and you can ask others in the know, most students who apply to H, P, Y and S do not apply to Caltech. I wouldn't feel too bad, Cal-Berkeley, Michigan, Northwestern and many other elite universities do not figure into that equation either.

As for employment figures, the actual site give details about precentages and how long after graduation. In the case of Engineering, it tells you the number of students who declared their salaries. In the case of the Business School, it gives you even more details. Do not feign ignorance.

And no, I never worked in "the Valley". As an undergraduate, I had offers from Cisco and HP, but I wanted to work in Investment Banking and I prefared living in Europe. So I chose Lehman Brothers. Out of Cornell, I had offers from Sun Microsystems (Menlo Park) and Amgen (Thousand Oaks) in late 2000, but I picked Ford Motor company because they paid better, I prefer living in Ann Arbor to living in LA or San Francisco and I was not very confident about the future of the Valley. As an economist with a keen analytical eye, I knew the bubble was not going to hold up forever. The promise of stock options vesting after 5 years at a price over $70/unit simply did not seem promissing. It turns out I was right. Sun, along with almost every major Valley company tanked. If your entire perception of prestige is selectivity and professional opinion in Silicon Valley, you can have it. I tend to have a more global outlook. But to answer you question on why the "Valley" prefers Caltech, Cal-Berkeley and Stanford graduates? Gee, I wonder, maybe because they are in their backyard?

Finally, you so easily dismissed the Peer assessment rating of the USNWR. I wonder why. According to the USNWR:

"The US News ranking forumal gives greatest weight to the opinions of those in a position to judge a school's academic excellence. The peer assessment survey allows the top academics we contact-presidents, provosts, and deans of admission- to account for intengibles such as faculty dedication to teaching."

Sounds like they are measuring quality of education and reputation to me.

You accuse too much and that is not a good quality. You accuse me of being superficial and not having much vision. I realize that I may not share your thoughts, but I am quite capable of seeing clearly.

By Rtkysg (Rtkysg) on Monday, August 09, 2004 - 08:12 am: Edit

Alexandre, I would rather use USNWR as a rough estimation rather than specifically quote the scale rating for the listed universities. USNWR when used faithfully may not give an accurate perception such that Stanford's president would rather abolish it than use it (including its peer assessment score). For your information, my claim for Michigan admission being easier than Northwestern/Chicago is based on Princeton Review and also the fact that many people put Michigan as safety and not Northwestern or Chicago. How about you create a poll of safety choices among Michigan, Chicago, Cornell, Northwestern in this forum on a new thread??

When I said Caltech shares the same applicant pool as HYPSM, I refer to students applying for MATH, SCIENCE and ENGRG program. Are you saying that people will go to Caltech for Business, Psychology, or History ?? Heck NO. What I'm implying here is that Caltech student body comprises of the very first elite tech, science, math students (along with MIT). To say the applicant pool of Yale or Princeton is stronger or more elite than applicant pool of Caltech is downright ridiculous (Caltech admit SAT avg is 1535). In comparison, Cornell applicant pool is stronger than that of Michigan; if you want to debate on this, I would suggest you create a thread on student body quality between Cornell and Michigan.

I would beg you to highlight the comparison of the percentage of graduate being employed in the first month between MIT and Michigan, i'm pretty lazy to search throughout the links. But I'm pretty happy to look forward to the MIT PhD pay yay !!
BTW this is the link for Caltech salary report http://www.career.caltech.edu/general/annual/2004/Preliminary%202004.pdf

You may not be aware of the pattern and the highly esteemed schools in the tech sector, and the reason why Valley companies give MIT/Caltech/Stanford the edge is not because of the proximity factor (don't you notice MIT is there), but the prestige and marketing value their graduates have. Normally the list will continue with Berkeley and Cornell for your information.

By Alexandre (Alexandre) on Monday, August 09, 2004 - 09:01 am: Edit

Forget about it. You have been proven wrong at every level and you keep throwing excrement on the table. And now you want a poll of High School students to determine the most selective schools? Great idea! LOL By the way, now you are resorting back to general opinion. I told you before, the opinion of the average Joe does not concern me. I only care about what people who actually know universities think.

First, you separate undergraduate from graduate reputation, which cannot be done when a school ranks in the top 10 in every single field of study like Michigan does. Then you claim that Michigan is a party school for weak students. Finally, you think there is a difference between Michigan and Cornell as if you knew either one of those schools. Tell me, did you ever attend either one of those schools? Did you recruit at either one of those schools? I attended those two schools. I spent a combined 6 years and took over 70 classes at those two universities. I know them both much better than you do. They are identical. In fact, in the eyes of large companies, I give the edge to Michigan. Michigan simply produces better performers and finishers than Cornell. And your claim that Cornell carries more weight in the Valley does not shock me. Cornell, Stanford, Cal-Berkeley, MIT and CMU are top 5 in Computer Science. Michigan is not. But one of my good friends, a Stanford alum and Director of Engineering at Cisco, tells me that Michigan is one of their target schools...and Cornell is not. At any rate, I would like to see how those universities would fare against Michigan in the Pharmaceutical or Auto sectors. But again, you tend to think only of California. What about NY? What about Western Europe? In Germany, MIT, Stanford and Michigan have no peers.

And now you throw in the Princeton Review for selectivity. Actually, according to the Princeton Review, Michigan gets a selectivity score of 98. Michigan is tied with Chicago and Cornell and ahead of Cal-Berkeley.





But the Princeton review is a joke anyway. It is completely innacurate. It is like using Zaggat for restaurants! To those who don't know better, Zaggat's is great. To those who really know their restaurants, Zaggat's a joke.

Anyway, I am in a position to know what industry thinks of universities. I have attended dozens of industry standards conferences on the subject of recruiting and I have been part of college recruiting strategies for some of the world's most exclusive employers. Michigan has always been one of the core campuses. Only top universities achieve that status. Your prejudice against Michigan is completely baseless. You only throw claims. I support all my points with facts.

By Rtkysg (Rtkysg) on Monday, August 09, 2004 - 11:53 am: Edit

Alexandre, prejudice or not is the fruit of your and my thought. However I shall deny of being baseless. I did not use Princeton Review for its rating for selectivity, obviously not, but as a measure of SAT range. Did you see not that Michigan has a lower SAT range than all but Berkeley, however as you may not notice Berkeley has a number of extremely prestigious department such as EECS to somehow alleviate its prestige, also for out-stater Berkeley is very difficult to gain entry.

You are also very wrong if you think this forum comprises of average joe. The fact that they are contemplating their chances and aiming at the top universities distinguish them from average drunken Joe on the street. In fact top students & high profile employers knows that Caltech is in the same league as HYPSM for prestige, shall I deem you an average joe or average employee? Of course I would not, hence you also should not simply dismiss people on this forum.

Your experience in working in the industry does not make your projection looked ideal. You may think that other people having working experience must share the same conviction, but this is not correct since my working experience shows the other side of your current perception. I admit that I never join a recruiter team, however, discussion among colleague and peers can tell so much.

Let me repeat my inclination of thought, Michigan is definitely an excellent research institution and its faculty is undoubtedly strong, however, its undergraduate students' reputation is obviously not up to its graduate school. And you certainly can separate the prestige of undergraduate from graduate school. Consider Berkeley, its undergraduate is often quoted less prestigious than HYPSMC+lowerIvies (except Berkeley EECS), however for graduate school Berkeley's prestige is no single step less than any other school in US. I've been to Cornell, spending a summer holiday, attending some courses and I can argue that Cornell's Engineering is harder than Michigan Engineering by looking at their both curricula.

I throw claims, so do you; you think I exaggerate MIT/Caltech and underrate Michigan, well, I'm about the reverse; You support your points with facts, yet I dispute your intepretation of those figures/facts and you can't give a convincing explanation. You are trying to impress me by your working experience. But I'm a graduate student and have my own working experience. There's no stronger reason for me to buy out your story don't you understand?

By Madelinemay11 (Madelinemay11) on Monday, August 09, 2004 - 12:07 pm: Edit

I think strictly on prestige (something I hate to consider), Cornell is an Ivy League university and Duke is not. This would settle the debate on many fronts for many people.

Duke is a good school, and everything is good, but the Duke name doesn't have the punch that it should for some reason....my guess is that the southern schools take it on the chin in terms of desirability, particularly against Ivy-caliber universities.

By Alexandre (Alexandre) on Monday, August 09, 2004 - 01:03 pm: Edit

You seem to have formed an faulty opinion of Michigan without ever having gone there. Maybe you met a couple of idiots who attended Michigan and that completely and irrevocably altered your preception of the university. I know my respect for Yale and Stanford took a nose-dive after I realized that Bush and Rice had studied there! Not really, I usually don't jusdge a school by its bad apples.

You are the first person I ever met that seems to think Michigan is not a legitimately good Engineering program at the undergraduate level. Most people I know in Engineering circles, including people who actually attended MIT, Stanford and Cal-Berkeley seem to think of Michigan as one of the top schools for both undergraduate and graduate Engineering. I was always under the impression that Michigan's school of Engineering was ranked among the top 6 or 7 in the nation at the undergraduate and graduate levels.

At any rate Rtkysg, let us get back to doing what this forum asks us to do...help the students. We are not going to agree on this point.

By Slipper2002 (Slipper2002) on Monday, August 09, 2004 - 02:12 pm: Edit

yeah, but stanford/ Amherst/ and MIT aren't Ivy league, and they are all much more prestigious then cornell

By Alexandre (Alexandre) on Monday, August 09, 2004 - 02:15 pm: Edit

"Amherst is much more pretigious then Cornell". Great observation! How do you figure? I mean, I can see how someone can make that claim of Stanford and MIT. But even that would be questionable. I dont know if any school on Earth can claim to be "much more prestigious" than Cornell.

By Tinwhisker (Tinwhisker) on Monday, August 09, 2004 - 02:44 pm: Edit

Ha, you gotta love the trolls and bashers on a college discussion board. Makes for entertaining reading. Seriously though, Slipper and May obviously go too far in their pros and cons of Cornell.

These are clearly peer schools, the difference in prestige is so negligible, it doesn't matter. Choose whatever school you like better/is a better fit (fyi I love Cornell and ithaca, but I'm trying not to be biased). Do well in either school, and your life isn't set, but you're off in a good start.

By Angel_Handsome (Angel_Handsome) on Monday, August 09, 2004 - 02:48 pm: Edit

Alexandre just ignore him(slipper) man!!! He is living in his own ignorant world.

By Angel_Handsome (Angel_Handsome) on Monday, August 09, 2004 - 02:52 pm: Edit

Alexandre and Rtkysg, you both are really very good advice giving members of this board, just abandon this discussion coz u both are running in circles.

By Madelinemay11 (Madelinemay11) on Monday, August 09, 2004 - 05:58 pm: Edit

"yeah, but stanford/ Amherst/ and MIT aren't Ivy league, and they are all much more prestigious then cornell "

Stanford and MIT are Ivy-caliber schools (i.e. are as famous as Ivy schools). I don't know anybody that thinks Amherst/Duke/USC are Ivies, except maybe you. One of them is a college, and not even a university in case you weren't aware.

Oh well, I've already mentioned that I disliked Duke for various reasons, and that I don't think it has any international name whatsoever. Readers can take from that what they will...better yet, they do their own research to see if the word Duke carries weight outside of the southern US.

By Slipper2002 (Slipper2002) on Monday, August 09, 2004 - 06:06 pm: Edit

where did you get USC anyway? USC isn't close to Duke/ Amherst. Trust me, the name Duke carries across the US. You dislike duke because it is 'racist', which is WRONG. And claiming it has no name is ridiculous.

By Slipper2002 (Slipper2002) on Monday, August 09, 2004 - 06:07 pm: Edit

You dont think that Amherst is Ivy Caliber?

By Alexandre (Alexandre) on Monday, August 09, 2004 - 06:31 pm: Edit

Even if Amherst is Ivy Caliber (which Amherst isn't because it has no desire to be compared to an Ivy), the point is Cornell IS an Ivy. How can Amherst be "much more prestigious" than Cornell?

By Angel_Handsome (Angel_Handsome) on Monday, August 09, 2004 - 07:36 pm: Edit

Let me elaborate a little on ivy league name. All of the ivy league schools are not more than 5-6 hours away from each other. It started out with Yale-Harvard rivalry when Yale started challenging Harvard around mid 1800s. Then came Brown to compete with them along with Princeton. In late 1800s to early 1900s all other started to compete, including other ivies, army, navy and sometimes Williams and Lehigh. Different competitions started to crop up during that time and even MIT competed in boxing. In 1916 the Big Three(HYP) signed a contract regarding the conference and rules. Most of the time the Big three played with private, wealthy and prestigious universities. Cornell was invited in most of the games during early 1900s because around 1900 Cornell was the third most wealthiest university in the country after Harvard and Columbia and also was one of the rising institutions.
The sports conference was getting very professional since many universities started "buying" (free ride) professional student athletes and a 'common' student couldnt get into the sports program.
Therefore the presidents of the big eight universities signed a contract regarding similar admission policies, no athletic scholarship and academic interests. Also, a schedule was determined which has been altered many times over now. Since there is no athletic scholarship, ivy league teams are considered a bit crappy against Stanford, Duke, USC, UCLA, Michigan, etc.
Many schools due to their personal preference like stanford and duke would not want to join since their outstanding sports program give them name recognition(actually boosts it). Besides it would be a pain for many west coast schools to travel all year round to east coast to compete and vice versa.
Amherst, Williams, MIT, Tufts and Lehigh certainly played with the big eight universities but were never asked to join the ivy league since their charter were quite different from what the Big Three had. Here are the similarities between the ivies -
1.Harvard - N/A....The Big Three pretty much started the league by the pact of "The Big Three" in 1916.
2.Yale - N/A
3.Princeton - N/A
4.Columbia - Extremely wealthy, had a good grad school and very well-rounded just like the above three.
5.Brown - Very prestigious at that time and quite wealthy (at that time) and was one of the first non Big Three college to enter the league. Again, very well-rounded with one of the oldest medical school.
6.Cornell - Extremly wealthy and was also one of the first universities to enter the league. Extremely good Grad, Law and engineering school. Vast areas of studies and courses, "Any person, any study".
7.Dartmouth - Extremely good liberal arts education and yet not a LAC. Oldest B-school and was pretty famous and respected at that time.
8.UPenn - Very well-rounded and prestigious due to long history and Harvard-Penn basketball rivalry.
1.Amherst - was a small elite liberal arts college and did not compete in most of the sports.
2.Williams - same as Amherst. Actually was in a little bit in financial trouble during 1800s.
3.MIT - too techinical seems like it never wanted to join and its philosophy of education was quite different.
NOTE - The grad school only gave the name recognition and prestige.

By Benjamin (Benjamin) on Monday, August 09, 2004 - 08:26 pm: Edit

Alexandre, I value your opinion (even with your passionate hatred for my school), but I don't see how anyone as educated as you can say that just because a school is an Ivy, it is more prestigious than another school.

For instance, I live in the south, and wherever I went while I was considering colleges (Atlanta, Miami, New Orleans, Charlotte, Birmingham, Mempis, Nasvhille) and even when I visit my family in Chicago and St. Louis, people would ask me where I was thinking about going to school...I would tell them "Nothwestern, Emory, Vanderbilt, Duke, Chicago, and Cornell," and, with little exception, they'd say "wow, those are really good schools....except, I haven't ever really heard much about Cornell, what kinda school is it?" Keep in mind, these people are usually educated.

I'm sure your experiences might say otherwise, but that is just what I've observed. I've said all this not in any way to insult Cornell, because it is one of my favorite schools, and wouldn't mind going to grad school there, but instead to say that prestige is relative, especially depending on where you are.

By Shyboy13 (Shyboy13) on Tuesday, August 10, 2004 - 12:33 pm: Edit

I think Benjamin is totally correct. Prestige is without a doubt relative. This is especially true when one considers that even the educated are not going to be as obsessed with different universities as some people on this site. I donít consider myself the absolute most knowledgeable person on the subject but I probably know more than most. Many people talk to me about education and see me as somewhat of an authority. Again, I must say that I am hardly an expert. The majority of the people, even the educated, just donít care that much. Now, I have been on this site for a few months now and I must say that even people who claim to know universities are more often than not bias anyways. There are only a few intelligent people on this site that donít display this trait. Although the last two sentences may seem irrelevant, they are nonetheless related to prestige. For example, Cal is without a doubt one of the best all around universities in the nation yet most donít see that. If some people donít respect Berkeley, whether educated or not, what good is a Berkeley degree if the person hiring you, or having a conversation with you, doesnít know Calís true prestige or has been taught that public schools are inferior just because they are public?

By Ay_Caramba (Ay_Caramba) on Tuesday, August 10, 2004 - 04:55 pm: Edit

Yes, every school has a slightly differing reputation in different parts of the country (save only Harvard) and everybody seems to think that their way is the same as everyone in the whole country. I live in a suburb of Boston. Around here, pretty much all good schools are just lumped together into the "Ivy League" (among the common people that don't obsess over colleges and "tiers"). If you mention Stanford, MIT, and yes, even Duke, people will say "Hey, that's in the Ivy League, right?" And yet if you asked them to list schools in the real Ivy League, they will invariably miss Cornell and Penn. They even made up "Baby Ivies" to describe schools like Amherst and WIlliams. On the other hand, schools like Stanford that are so very big in the west don't really get that much of a reaction over here. BC is bigger, at least in my area.

When it comes down to it, every person has their own "Ivy League" in their head that is influenced by where they live, where they go to school, who they know, etc., even if they know the "real" Ivies.

In the real world, "common people," (or like 85% of the population) will be impressed if you even graduate from college; the "Wow!" that comes with going to like Harvard only lasts like a minute. The subtle nuances in college reputation regionally are not worth worrying about. People that judge you solely on where you go are pretty shallow anyways.

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