The Harvards of the South

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Discus: Parents Forum: 2004 Archive - Part 2: The Harvards of the South
By Jens (Jens) on Monday, August 16, 2004 - 08:08 pm: Edit

Parents I would like your input on Rice and Duke. Here's the deal- I've already sent in part I app to Rice checking that I wanted to do ED, but now Im not so sure that I like the whole binding thing. Can I changed ED to ID? Is that legal and also what are your thoughts/experiences on Rice and Duke? Unfortunately I have not been able to visit the schools, so I would like to hear some input on the two schools academics, social life, student body, etc. Help is much appreciated!!!

By Carolyn (Carolyn) on Monday, August 16, 2004 - 09:11 pm: Edit

The best thing to do in this case is either call or email the Rice admissions office and ask them directly. I predict it won't be a problem at this early date to make the change. If you have ANY doubts about committing to Rice, don't apply ED - especially if you haven't visited. Good luck!

By Backhandgrip (Backhandgrip) on Monday, August 16, 2004 - 09:32 pm: Edit

Jens, also check under Individual Schools section. tons of info. there.

By Wobudong (Wobudong) on Monday, August 16, 2004 - 10:06 pm: Edit

Daughter went to Duke. Two younger sons offered admission to Duke but decided to go elsewhere. The youngest chose Rice (also over Yale). He is very pleased with his choice.

Comparisons: Both campuses are beautiful. Duke's is magnificent, perhaps without peer, but it is approximately three times the size of Rice. Based on our personal experiences, I would give the edge to Rice on quality of undergraduate teaching and level of personal attention from the faculty, particularly in the sciences and engineering. The student bodies have equal ability, although Rice has a superior music conservatory and school of architecture. Serious studying also seems to be slightly more central to the culture at Rice. Everyone does it most of the time.

I am not a big fan of the Greek social scene, so I also prefer the residential college system at Rice, which is most akin to Yale and Oxford. Elitism does not exist at Rice.

Athletics and athletic facilities at Duke are superior. Duke also has an 8000 acre forest.

Both schools have huge endowments, so quality will remain near the top. Among research colleges with undergrad programs, Rice's endowment per student ranks 4th behind HYP. Rice, more than any top university, uses endowment income to reduce tuition.

I suspect that with only part 1 submitted, Rice would allow you to switch to ID. Be aware, however, that ID admission at Rice is on the HYP level of competition.

By Cangel (Cangel) on Monday, August 16, 2004 - 10:24 pm: Edit

Duke is close to a great college town (Chapel Hill, only 9 miles away). Rice is in a large sprawling vibrant city, although the campus itself is an enclave that seems isolated, Houston is amazingly close to the beach (many non-Southerners/non-Texans don't realize that), it's also a not too far drive to N'awlins, certainly a weekend trip, and San Antonio, another fun Southwestern city. Many would say that the climate in Houston aahhh - sucks, but there are at least 6 glorious months of weather, most of which occur during the school year. Duke has much more of a 4 season climate.
Rice is an almost Ivy for top students at our school, Duke is an Ivy. Rice is less expensive.
When my daughter and I visited Duke, we both really liked it (our first college visit), but in retrospect, it bothers me a little that the tour guide said there was friction in the university over ?moving Greeks out of traditional housing?, it was just odd, most of our tour guides have been total "rah rah" salespeople for their school, this seemed like an honest answer, warts and all.

By Par72 (Par72) on Monday, August 16, 2004 - 11:21 pm: Edit

Duke offers a lot more than Rice.

By Jens (Jens) on Monday, August 16, 2004 - 11:31 pm: Edit

Thanks for the responses so far. My mom is strongly urging me to not switch from ED to ID b/c according to her it would show the admissions officers that I do not want to committ to their school and thus decrease my chances significantly- I don't believe this but there is that nagging doubt. As of right now Im in total indecision! There is no way for me to visit the schools as I cannot take time away from my school work and the ED deadline is coming up! I have done extensive research on both schools, but for me it really comes down to where I'll be the most happiest.
I live in Texas and I used to live in Houston so I'm familiar with the humidity and mosquitos of Houston, but I have seen the Rice campus (never gone in) and it seems nice from what I can tell. Another plus is the lack of sororities/frats as Wobudung mentioned, but at the same time I also want to experience the whole classic American college complete with the Greek scene. I also think it might be a good experience to move out of Texas and I heard that it snows in Durham which is a plus because I love snow!
As you can see, Im in a state of contradiction and indecision between my two options:
Stay ED Rice, do RD Duke or----
Switch to ID Rice, do ED Duke.

By Nagromis (Nagromis) on Tuesday, August 17, 2004 - 03:06 am: Edit

Hi Cangel,
Just a point of clarification, Duke is not in the Ivy League. The schools in the Ivy League are Harvard, Princeton, Yale, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Brown and Penn. The Ivy League is merely an athletic conference, and just because Duke is not in the Ivy League doesn't mean that it is not as great as the schools in the Ivy Leage. Some would argue that it is better than many of the ivies.

By Simba (Simba) on Tuesday, August 17, 2004 - 08:01 am: Edit

Jens: Think carefully about your decision. I personally know a kid who did ED and then switched to RD at Rice (I am not sure if he switched after Part II or not). He was rejected by Rice (but was admitted to Duke, Harvard, Hopkins and Northwestern).

By Cangel (Cangel) on Tuesday, August 17, 2004 - 08:35 am: Edit

Yes, I know it's not in the Ivy League - what I meant was "for top students in a Southern high school, it is considered equal to the Ivy League"

They really do say "Harvard is the Duke of the North" - although its actually a combination of Harvard and Stanford with Yale's architecture.

By Nagromis (Nagromis) on Tuesday, August 17, 2004 - 09:05 am: Edit

That's a funny comment, Cangel (Harvard of the North). In our southern tour, we've heard tour guides call Duke, Rice, Vanderbilt, UVA and Emory "Ivies of the South".

By Sdrew (Sdrew) on Tuesday, August 17, 2004 - 09:23 am: Edit

We just took our s to Rice for O-week. The college system, IMO, far outweighs, the Greek system. You cannot imagine the friendliness, instant friends, acceptance that was evident. From the minute we drove through the entrance, they were cheering for our s, unloading our car, carrying his belongings up two flights of steps, ...I hope you can find some time to visit - on a weekend or fall break. It would be hard to decide without visiting.

By Soozievt (Soozievt) on Tuesday, August 17, 2004 - 09:29 am: Edit

I'm not certain what to advise you. If I could turn back the clock, I would have said do not apply anywhere ED until you have visited to make sure. But it is too late for that. You asked if you can change ED to RD at this point after filing part one and I feel pretty sure the answer is YES. I know a friend of my D who applied ED to Vassar. She went to visit for an overnight and did not like it that much and switched to RD. She was not admitted RD. So, it can be done. I have a little bit of agreement with your mom about the message it might send to Rice to switch ED to RD. I think you still could get in RD (harder odds) but it does leave me this teensy feeling of doubt how they would view the switch of originally committing and then saying you were not sure. That is unlike kids who apply RD who never have committed so obviously are not positive either but you are someone who once was supposedly positive so it is slightly different. I am not sure that would have an effect but it might. One parent here gave an example of a kid who switched and did not get in RD and I just did too, not that we have any idea if the switch from ED to RD made ANY difference/influence in the admissions outcome.

My feeling is in YOUR case....normally I might say if you are NOT certain of your ED school, don't apply ED or in your case, perhaps switch now to RD. BUT...(isn't there always a but???) you really do seem to like both Duke and Rice. Just like with all kids, or I will talk of my own daughter, she truly liked several schools and knew she could be happy at each of them. Each has its pros, and those pros differed. I have read you articulate the pros of each school and of course they differ. But I also hear you saying you really like each school. You cannot go wrong. You have two schools you really like. ED will help your odds. Switching from ED to RD MIGHT change the odds at that school and give an inkling to Rice that you are not that committed to them and might turn into a rejection. That leaves Duke RD. I say you might want to keep things as they are UNLESS you really do not want to go to Rice, then definitely switch out of ED there.


By Dreadpirate (Dreadpirate) on Tuesday, August 17, 2004 - 09:48 pm: Edit

Duke is to Rice as Harvard is to Princeton. Although undergrad is excellent at Duke, the medical and law schools contribute greatly to its reputation and command substantial resources. Like Princeton, Rice does not have professional schools and is focused on undergrads. Rice students have at least equal access to medical and bioengineering research opportunities due to Rice's affiliation with the Texas Medical Center (Baylor College of Medicine, St. Luke's, Methodist, Texas Children's, M.D. Anderson Cancer Center), which is across the street from the Rice Campus.

I don't believe that the Greek scene is a necessary component of the "classic American college". You will not find a Greek scene at HYP. The residential college system at Rice is as close to an ideal learning environment as you will find.

By Momsdream (Momsdream) on Wednesday, August 18, 2004 - 12:20 am: Edit

I am curious about why you sent Part I in so soon. Is this something everyone is starting to do??? Heck, we haven't even cracked an application.

Though, we leave in the morning for a 7 college tour that will take us though Monday night. Let's hope son "vibes" (his word) with a few of them!

By Alongfortheride (Alongfortheride) on Wednesday, August 18, 2004 - 09:31 am: Edit

Momsdream, some colleges won't set up an interview with you until you have submitted Part I of the application. So, if students wish to interview at the time of their visit, they get at least that part in. I guess it's because interview time is limited and they don't to want waste time on students that aren't going to apply, although completion of Part I in no way means you will finish the rest.

By Jens (Jens) on Wednesday, August 18, 2004 - 05:11 pm: Edit

Well originally I was POSITIVE that I wanted to go to Rice even tho I had never actually gone inside the school- I don't know just a "feeling", but as I talked to more and more people, the whole binding situation has left me with some doubts esp concerning the question- is there something better out there? Is Duke a better fit? But I think I'm going to stick with Rice ED and Duke RD and trust that I will end up in the right place for me. :) Not saying that I will actually get admitted in either one!

Momsdream: Part I can be sent in, as the colleges themselves advise "as soon as possible" if you are pretty sure you are going to apply to that school. Earlier is better than later, even tho I should listen to my own words and get started on my ED app!

By Anxiousmom (Anxiousmom) on Wednesday, August 18, 2004 - 07:15 pm: Edit

Just FYI, DD is having a great time at Orientation week at Rice -and the more I hear the more I like it. I found the campus architecture nice but square, with everything very far apart. (I guess that helps keep the "freshman 15" from being a problem?), and she is in the UGLIEST college (dorm/living community) ever - but I know she won't even notice what it looks like. It's the people that she likes, and she's excited about her classes - and they are doing all sorts of wild and wacky activities for O-week. (Just for worried parents out there: O-week is dry. No alchohol served anywhere. Just good old fashioned fun...)

By Jens (Jens) on Wednesday, August 18, 2004 - 09:08 pm: Edit

Anxiousmom- what do you mean by saying that Rice is the "ugliest college ever"? Glad to hear shes having a blast at Owl Week!

By Wobudong (Wobudong) on Wednesday, August 18, 2004 - 09:31 pm: Edit

Rice has nine residential colleges (basically dorms with their own dining facilities). Each college has its own faculty "masters" who are permanent residents and several faculty associates who serve as advisors. Rice has no frats or sororities. Students are assigned randomly to a residential college and live in or remain affiliated with that college until they graduate. The colleges compete with each other both in intramural athletics and in academics. See, for example, the web site for Physics 125-126.

By ugliest college ever, anxious means that her daughter's dorm is rather drab in comparison to some of the others. The Rice campus itself is very attractive.

By Gtownmom (Gtownmom) on Thursday, August 19, 2004 - 11:23 am: Edit

Jens, Just a note to be careful....Many of the SCEA (Single choice early action) and ED (early decision) rules say that you can only apply RD to other schools. This, if you read carefully it sometimes actually specifically says, includes being prohibited from ID applications as well. In other words, be sure that the other school you wish to apply to would allow a Rice ID and their SCEA, ED, or EA application as well. It's very sure to follow the "letter of the law". You wouldn't want to risk an addmission due to a technicallity.

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