|By Residentevil (Residentevil) on Monday, April 12, 2004 - 02:44 am: Edit|
Ok: The more I read about each, the more difficult my decision becomes.
So far, here is the list of pros and cons I have gathered from various posts and online articles:
-Depressed students and cut-throat competition
+Cambridge: Lively and vibrant place
-Too many TAs teaching class
+Frighteningly attractive lure of prestige and fame (how can one resist?)
+Undergraduate-focused place = less TAs at the board
-Princeton is a dead place (minus the eating clubs)
+Stronger school spirit = happier students
-Princeton not as effective at landing its students fellowships and spots at Graduate Schools
+Better science departments
Anyone care to add to list or make any corrections?
I hope this will be useful to everybody else making the same decision.
|By Collegeguy (Collegeguy) on Monday, April 12, 2004 - 04:12 am: Edit|
Harvard = cutthroat? Not from what I've heard, unless you're talking about premed students.
|By Aparent4 (Aparent4) on Monday, April 12, 2004 - 08:22 am: Edit|
I don't see Princeton as a dead place at all. There is excellent professional and student theater right on campus, lots of music, movies, an art museum, lecturers, etc. It is a major university! There are more than 5,000 undergrads, all looking to have fun right on campus -- not dispersing to other nearby colleges. Princeton is also a great deal safer than Cambridge, as you know if you follow the police blotter in The Crimson.
Not sure why you would say "a dead place (minus the eating clubs)." That's like saying "Manhattan is a place without theater (minus Broadway and off-Broadway)."
And Princeton is less than an hour from Manhattan, where students regularly go in groups to the theater, restaurants, bars, etc.
Strong students don't seem to have any trouble coming out of Princeton and entering top grad programs or getting fellowships. Just this week, for example, it was announced that four juniors at Harvard and four juniors at Princeton were selected as Goldwater Scholars. Remember that the undergrad population at Princeton is considerably smaller than Harvard's.
These are both schools with a great deal to offer, obviously. You will get TAs at either one, btw. The campuses feel very different when you visit; have you done that?
|By Residentevil (Residentevil) on Monday, April 12, 2004 - 11:46 am: Edit|
I will be visiting next week.
Have you visited both places, Aparent4?
If so, what were your impressions?
|By Newyorker06 (Newyorker06) on Monday, April 12, 2004 - 05:08 pm: Edit|
Harvard students are no more depressed than Princeton's. And, for better or worse, the proliferation of A-grades at both schools eliminates the cutthroat competition that some believe to exist.
|By Aparent4 (Aparent4) on Monday, April 12, 2004 - 08:09 pm: Edit|
Yes, I have visited both placesand am the parent of a Princeton student. So...I'm biased, obviously, but I know happy students at both schools. They both have a huge amount to offer to a student who can take advantages of their opportunities. You can easily see that on paper, so it really is good that you're visiting. Both have freshmen seminar programs (which Yale lacks, btw), and I am a big fan of these.
For me the atmospheres are quite different; Harvard is more urban, while Princeton feels almost like a big liberal arts college. I think the house life at Harvard does a great deal to help students feel connected in a bigger university with professional schools. Harvard's setting on the Charles is beautiful, but it has had a surprising amount of violent crime in the past couple of years, and although the university claims on the tours that it has a regular shuttle service, evidently the shuttle buses have not actually been running; I believe the students have been clamoring to have them reinstituted. Harvard Square has far more people lying around the sidewalk holding bottles in brown paper bags than does, say, Morningside Heights in Manhattan, where Columbia is; this surprised me. These aspects of life there were the biggest negatives in my book.
Princeton has some ethnic restaurants nearby, but it certainly doesn't have an urban vibe, so I would think that would be one of the main differences that would make one decide one way or the other. I find the students very happy, very friendly and courteous toward one another and toward visitors, and there is lots to do in a very safe setting. Although Princeton students are, as has been said on these boards a lot, a fairly clean-cut bunch, they have the usual collegiate battles over women's issues, politics, you name it. People love to say that Princeton students wear Polo all the time; they often do for social events, but during the day you see them going to class and to the gym in T-shirts or hoodies and shorts. Princeton students tend to connect via the activities in which they're involved -- theater, a team, dance, premed, etc. -- and I would say that developing a social fabric is valued just as highly as academic achievement on campus, which I consider very healthy. In terms of the eating clubs, not everyone spends Saturday night in the tap room. There are lawn parties and various other social events that many students enjoy.
Good luck with your visits! Whichever school you attend, you will get to know your professors if you visit them during office hours. You have a great choice. Congratulations!
|By Newyorker06 (Newyorker06) on Monday, April 12, 2004 - 08:14 pm: Edit|
Thanks Aparent for a truly unbiased review. You're right. The major, objective difference betweedn the two is Harvard's more urban setting. Aside from that, both have bright students, great professors, nearly limitless opportunities etc.
|By Hstudent (Hstudent) on Monday, April 12, 2004 - 09:13 pm: Edit|
Harvard students are NOT more depressed (that crimson article said straight out its the same as the national average - it was written to promt admin to improve mental health resources)
No Cutthroat competition (im not sure where this is coming from....)
Its a wonderful city
I dont know what the above poster is talking about - Shuttles have never stopped running, ever.
TF's do not teach any actual classes (aside from precalc and intro languages)....Im not sure why ppl hate TF's so much anyway, if they are getting a phd from harvard in a given field, i feel confident in their ability to lead a discussion on the subject!
Any other questions or to discuss further, IM me at Rourke02 or email me
|By Aparent4 (Aparent4) on Monday, April 12, 2004 - 09:37 pm: Edit|
During a tour last spring, we were assured that Harvard had a 24-hour shuttle service as well as a SafetyWalk service, giving students the freedom to travel safely from the Quad to the Yard to the River Houses to and from parties or whatever at any hour of the day or night. Not so. Article after article in The Crimson appeared this year after a student was sexually assaulted outside a dorm, calling SafetyWalk "defunct" and noting that the shuttle service is not available 24 hours (although it was briefly as an "experiment") and that most students are not aware of alternatives. Again, Columbia deals with its urban setting far more effectively than does Harvard.
I do want to say, though, that I think size as well as urban setting distinguish the two schools. Because it is smaller and has no professional schools (aside from the Woodrow Wilson), Princeton has a more close-knit feel, more like that of a liberal arts college. Different students will find one setting more compatible than the other.
|By Jab93 (Jab93) on Tuesday, April 13, 2004 - 02:03 am: Edit|
The only significant difference between Princeton and Harvard is size and location...
Do you feel a large urban campus is a better fit for YOU personally, or do you prefer a smaller, suburban campus? This is a question ONLY you can answer, and different people would choose differently based on personal preferences...
So go with your heart, go with your gut...
ignore useless statistics and silly rankings.
By the way: absolute nonsense regarding princeton placement in graduate programs... they do outstandingly well... who told you they were'nt effective? B.S.
|By Brunoniana (Brunoniana) on Tuesday, April 13, 2004 - 04:49 am: Edit|
http://www.stalcommpol.org/ is a good link on campus safety. It's a Harvard site.
|By Tunan_Fish (Tunan_Fish) on Tuesday, April 13, 2004 - 10:00 am: Edit|
Be advised that Brunoniana is Brownalum wearing a new screenname.
|By Dartmyth (Dartmyth) on Tuesday, April 13, 2004 - 01:46 pm: Edit|
Not that I'm in any way concerned with Harvard vs Princeton, but heres an article that I've read that explains some of the "cutthroatedness."
|By Residentevil (Residentevil) on Tuesday, April 13, 2004 - 01:58 pm: Edit|
Yeah, I read that article.
If Harvard students manage themselves that way, I'm disgusted.
I already have one guy at my school (who is going to Harvard) who display some of these destructively competitive characteristics.
I thought it was only him.
|By Brunoniana (Brunoniana) on Tuesday, April 13, 2004 - 02:00 pm: Edit|
Here's another poignant article on the misery of Harvard students. I went to Brown, but I know a dozen or so alumni of Harvard College, and to be honest I'd say only a few would go back to Harvard if given the chance to do it all over again. If you ask the handful of Yale alumni I know, they'll all say they would go back in a heartbeat.
"The Leverett 80’s dance is a highlight of the Harvard social calendar for students wishing to break out their legwarmers and blue eyeshadow. Yale’s annual Safety Dance, hosted by Silliman College, however, is the multi-platinum Madonna to Leverett’s Tiffany, the one-hit wonder."
|By Canadian_Idol (Canadian_Idol) on Tuesday, April 13, 2004 - 10:03 pm: Edit|
why do you do it, brownalum..? I just don't see why you would keep on trolling for Yale.
Are you getting paid by Yale admissions?
|By Blueberrypie (Blueberrypie) on Tuesday, April 13, 2004 - 10:18 pm: Edit|
What is there to do at Princeton besides theater and eating clubs? What other events are there? I hear residential colleges sponsor some events? Do students often hang out in the town?
|By Aparent4 (Aparent4) on Tuesday, April 13, 2004 - 11:00 pm: Edit|
Blueberrypie, there's the McCarter Theatre, which is a wonderful professional theater right on campus. It does high-quality plays (a recent one, "Anna in the Tropics," with Jimmy Smits is on Broadway now) and brings in all sorts of touring performers. http://www.mccarter.org/ Regular tix are expensive, but students get in for $10 or less.
The residential colleges have gyms, libraries, theaters, dance studios, etc., and they sponsor parties, talks, community service, and monthly trips to Manhattan. Those subsidized trips are $20, including a Broadway show, opera, or professional sporting event along with dinner and roundtrip coach bus. Click on their websites and you will see their various offerings. http://www.princeton.edu/Siteware/ResColleges.shtml
There are freshmen seminars in the residential colleges. http://www.princeton.edu/pr/pub/fs/03/toc.htm
The restaurants in Princeton are a little pricey. When students go out for a meal they tend to go to Panera (casual soup and sandwich place), the Annex (pub), Winberie's (pub), or one of cafes or the Greek, Indian, Italian, or Thai places along and near Nassau Street.
There are lots of shops around Nassau Street, some expensive ones for middle-aged people, others places students go -- a record exchange, bicycles, new and used books, stuff from around the world, J. Crew, etc.
There is a movie theater right on the edge of campus, on Nassau Street; it shows several films at a time. http://www.hollywood.com/showtimes/theatre_detail.asp?searchtheatre=412
Slightly old but recent movies are shown at the Frist campus center for $2; earlier this week when we were on campus they showed "Big Fish." We also noticed that there is a jazz series in one of the on-campus pubs.
I don't think football gets a lot of fans, but basketball does, and the campus went crazy this year over women's lacrosse (national champions two years in a row). Intramural sports are very popular, and there are teams representing the residential colleges, the fraternities, and the eating clubs.
Student performances are very well attended, especially those of the dance groups, which sell out their multiple performances. Many of the different groups perform together. There is a popular improv comedy troupe.
A lot of students do community service, either hosting groups of children for events on campus or going to nearby Trenton, etc.
It's not an urban campus, but there is plenty to do, and students are eager to come out and support one another's events. And, of course, there's the proximity to NYC and Philly, with the Dinky (train) stopping right on campus.
Well, that's my summary, gleaned from listening to my son for two years and to various info sessions for parents.
|By Mzhang23 (Mzhang23) on Tuesday, April 13, 2004 - 11:15 pm: Edit|
A cappella groups perform very regularly (weekly, even) during arch sings under Blair's famous arch. A ton of people stop by to listen when the weather is nice.
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