Penn vs. Harvard

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Discus: Ivy League Schools: Harvard University: 2004 Archive: Penn vs. Harvard
By Fushia183 (Fushia183) on Monday, May 03, 2004 - 03:35 pm: Edit

i'm only a junior and have plenty of time to think about where i want to apply early, but i'm struggling a bit. basically, i'm from Massachusetts (right near Harvard) and (as i'm likely to be valedictorian), my location gives me an edge on getting in to the school. the last few years, the valed. have all gone to harvard.

however, i really like Penn too. i know that their anthro department is great and i like philly, but what sets it apart from harvard.

after visiting both places, i thought that the harvard dorms were a bit bigger, but i really liked the vitality on penn's campus (perhaps though that was because i visted on a beautiful spring day). harvard is known for having a certain prestige, but i'm not really into prestige and don't want to chose my college only on that. but is this prestige actually earned by harvard- overall, would be education be any better there than at other schools? i really don't know.

to all you people (either at penn or harvard) why should i apply to penn over harvard or harvard over penn early?

if you have any great reasons, please let me know. having other students' views would be very helpful.


By Chasgoose (Chasgoose) on Monday, May 03, 2004 - 08:16 pm: Edit

I would apply to Harvard early if you can't make up your mind because they are EA which means if you are accepted you could still apply to Penn in the regular round (and if you get into Harvard, even in the early round, you should be able to get into Penn). If you apply to Penn and are accepted then you have to go there because they are ED. I also personally think that Harvard does offer a better education than Penn will.

What about Yale? It combines Harvard's prestige and Penn's vitality with a equitable anthro program (and it is a bit further from home than Harvard).

By Fushia183 (Fushia183) on Wednesday, May 05, 2004 - 03:31 pm: Edit

any other thoughts? i posted on the penn message board and got replies, but not so much here. why should i go to HARVARD over penn?

By Chasgoose (Chasgoose) on Wednesday, May 05, 2004 - 04:36 pm: Edit

Well, seeing as you haven't gotten accepted at either yet, why don't you apply to both and then worry about this in 11 months?

By Fushia183 (Fushia183) on Wednesday, May 05, 2004 - 05:18 pm: Edit

basically, i'm trying to decide where to apply early. i guess that i could apply to both (do harvard ea instead of penn ed) hence applying to penn regular and seeing about admissions. but i don't know if i want to go to harvard (other than how my parents are somewhat hung up on "harvard will open doors that penn won't"). if i turn out to prefer penn (which i almost do), i would rather apply early and get the best chance of getting in.

honestly, i think that i'd have a good chance at getting into both places (just with school/extras/tests/location/legacy, etc), but then i am afraid that if i apply early to harvard, get rejected, then apply to penn and get rejected (i would have a much better chance of getting in early) than i would be heartbroken as they are my top 2 choices.

hopefully, this WON'T happen, but one can never be too sure with college admissions. as this board has shown, there are overly qualified candidates who just don't get in and end up going to a school that they just considered a saftey and never a reality. i guess i'm just scared after seeing this with some of my senior friends this year.

if you can sort out what i just said, that's my dillema.

By Aterashva (Aterashva) on Wednesday, May 12, 2004 - 12:28 pm: Edit

Here's my advice: go to Harvard.

I think Harvard has arguably THE MOST amazing student body in America. This isn't to denigrate Princeton or Yale or Penn. But almost 80% of admitted students choose to attend. This means that the class that Harvard admissions officers "planned" out to be the perfect class is mostly there. I myself applied to Penn because I love Philly (and got in!!!). I would have attended had Harvard not come my way.

And if prestige is an issue at all (though this can be a bad thing with the overinflated egos I have heard are in abundance at Hahvahd), you know where to go.

I think you'll be happy wherever you get into.
Just don't look back (otherwise you'll regret and become bitter and then I don't want you at Harvard)

Just j/king. Cheers, and hope this helps.

By Epick (Epick) on Sunday, May 30, 2004 - 07:09 pm: Edit

I'm going to Harvard next year, but almost picked Penn. I didn't end up going there because when I was there- and I'm not even kidding- someone threw up all over me. I mean, it was when the juniors became seniors, so I suppose I should have been more wary. But still. Plus, I detested the high-rises. As a boarding school student, I can tell you that you need a dorm, not a hotel, in order to survive. Good luck.

By Ken (Ken) on Monday, May 31, 2004 - 03:54 am: Edit

Why do people insist on such threads when the answer is so obvious??

By Markudel2003 (Markudel2003) on Monday, May 31, 2004 - 05:45 pm: Edit

I think the differences are really personal. While I agree that the student body is better at Harvard, I would say that the campus vitality and cohesion at Penn is stronger. Your best choice is to visit.

It also, like you said, depends on the department. What is the anthro department like at Harvard? Do you like Philadelphia? Would it provide a needed-change from the Boston/Cambridge area? These are questions you have to answer yourself.

I'm a little different becuase I was making this decision during the graduate phase. I chose to attend Penn over Harvard (and others), mainly because of the living arrangements, finances, location, faculty-student ratio (11:1 @ Penn, 22:1 @ Harvard), and professor accessibility. These little things make a difference in the long run when you are looking at schools.

With respect to where to place an early application, clearly Harvard because Penn's is binding. You can apply EA to Harvard and then drop some applications elsewhere for the RD round to Penn, Yale and others.

I think your best bet is to visit at this point. Good luck and drop me an AIM if you need it.

AIM: Ottawa80

Mark UDel'03

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