Harvard vs. Yale vs. Princeton

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Discus: What Are My Chances?: February 2003 Archive: Harvard vs. Yale vs. Princeton
By JJE on Monday, February 17, 2003 - 11:42 am: Edit

What makes one college better than another, what are the strong and weak points of all, and if accepted to one or more, list why you chose to go there. Thanks

By Thedad (Thedad) on Monday, February 17, 2003 - 12:47 pm: Edit

I believe it's very subjective and that beyond broad brushstrokes within a group of colleges, it's hard to get into absolutes; for instance, of "top" schools, there are probably 50-70 that warrant serious consideration, not just the Ivies.

Philsophically, it's simple: you want the school that will help make you the best possible "you" you can be. At some point, it's impossible to know and you have to make a guess based on various factors. (Note: when I was applying to college as an engineering student, I would have scoffed at such things as "intuition" and "gut instinct." Let's just say that I've become educated over the years.")

Some of the things to consider:

1) What are you peers like? Stimulating or boring? Hypercompetitive, inclined to party, or "just right"?

2) Are there lots of large lecture classes, some or many taught by T.A.'s, or are they more intimate lab/seminar experiences where you really get to engage with the professor and your fellow students?

3) A very simple item, the course catalog: go through course catalogs from the competing schools. Does one school have a lot more "Gee, that class sounds really interesting" classes than another?

4) Where is _your_ balance point between career preparation and life preparation? Some schools--and I think I'll keep my cards face down--prepare you more for one than the other and BOTH are valid approaches, depending on just who you are.

5) Is there a locale that appeals or doesn't appeal more than another? Are you a hard-wired city kid that will get bored stiff in a rural setting where there's little in the way of recreational outlets besides drinking, sex, and watching puddles dry up? Are you a small town kid who finds the experience of a big city to be overwhelming? (my personal prejudices say to go for it and try to get used to it) Are there specific locales that offer you specifics that you really enjoy, like the political life of Washington, D.C., or the cultural life of a NYC, Boston, Chicago, or Los Angeles? Can you hack the weather? (Again, my personal prejudice is to go for it and learn to adapt)

6) Do you want the intimacy of a fairly small school where everyone knows everyone or do you like to submerge yourself into a large school and carve out a niche of your choosing?

7) Do you want to have a structured exposure to core/breadth requirements or do you want the freedom of designing your own schedule?

8) How relatively strong is/are the key department(s) that will host your major(s)?

In some order, those are some of the key questions off the top of my head.

Looking at them makes it laughable to me that some kids are applying to 6-8 Ivies...there's no way that that many would be a good fit for you if you have even a moderate clue as to what it is you're looking for in a college experience.

Good luck.

By : on Monday, February 17, 2003 - 01:28 pm: Edit

ok, im curious so im asking, and i nko its too late, but anyway, if anyone has any suggestions, id like to kno.
here are my priorities
Small classes, personal attention

Good professors: Duh!

no cut-throatness, but competition is good

strong in engineering/science

smallish school i guess, tho its not a must

The less the Ta's the better

flexible curriculum, possiblility of double major, and i dont want to declare my major right away
any suggestions?? im really really curious

By p on Monday, February 17, 2003 - 01:41 pm: Edit

Of those three, Princeton would be best for you.

By : on Monday, February 17, 2003 - 01:58 pm: Edit

oh oops, im not the person who started the post, im sorry. I actually typed that stuff outand posted it, then realized it dint fit the title. so i posted again in a new conversation. i dint really mean among princeton yale and harvard, any uni is fine.

By Thedad (Thedad) on Monday, February 17, 2003 - 02:41 pm: Edit

A complicated question. You should acquire a copy of PR's THE BEST 345 COLLEGES as a point of

By aa on Monday, February 17, 2003 - 02:56 pm: Edit

wat about mit?

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