ladygogo: there are maybe 200 cross admits, but when you add the number of cross admits that are cross admitted with other schools the actual head to head is minimal. but that would take a level of analysis...
You're welcome, confidentialcoll. I do all I can to contribute to reasonable decision-making, especially when such decisions are life-changing. At times, the answers to questions are so clear to clearheaded people that one does not feel the need to explain one's reasoning. Particularly in this case, such an endeavor would be fruitless, like shouting at brick walls--a bad idea, especially when a brick wall happens to be insecure, unstable, and built so comically and inappropriately high that it threatens to collapse on all those who come up against it. Anyway, I digress.
Princeton has better economics? Not even close. One can argue that being in the financial capital of the world makes Columbia an econ students heaven. Seeing as you're a Princeton alum, wouldn't it be fair to say you're biased? Seeing as the education is completely comparable at this level of institution, you're just saying things without anything to back them up. I mean, with THE Core, I could say Columbia is WAY better in the humanities and with its ridiculous chem and physics legacies, it's better in hard sciences. Our politically minded students have it better with the UN here and all the government positions available, making Columbia a much more attractive place for high profile professors and speakers. You see, there isn't a way to measure one school's superiority but, one can use actual facts to lead a prospective student in the right direction. Simply saying that Princeton has better programs is a joke when anyone can just walk up in this forum and say Columbia is way better. Doing that is worse than listing acceptance rates as method of comparison but, if you were to do that, Columbia's is lower
"Seeing as you're a Princeton alum, wouldn't it be fair to say you're biased?"
Seeing as you're an entering freshman to Columbia, without the years of actual working experience as an Ivy grad, doesn't that make you biased and inexperienced?
When you state this: "Princeton has better economics? Not even close." YOu're equally as guilty of generalizing. My take: both are excellent. The "mine is bigger" arguments, plus a dollar, will get you a Sweet Tea at McDonalds.
I prefer Columbia to Princeton (at least in theory), but is it a comparable academic experience? The Core, Columbia's flagship, comprises classes capped at 22 students. Chicago's are capped at 19; the optional humanities and seminars of Yale and Princeton are capped at eighteen and fifteen. Because of Chicago's culture and the fact that Y and P's seminars are optional and smaller, I assume that their students and teachers are better motivated, and the courses deeper and faster than Columbia's.
One could argue that the Great Books culture makes up for this, but in NYC, there won't be too much bonding on that front.
I'm just a disillusioned Columbia College admit that wants opinions.
I have several points to make. As for UChicago, the only school you mention with a comparable core system, do you really think there's a substantive difference between 19 and 22 students in a classroom? This is the sort of statistical difference that seems meaningful on paper, but which makes no practical difference. They are roughly the same. What you're seeing here, by the way, is UChicago blatantly gaming the USNews rankings, which give credit for percentage of classes below 20 students. Columbia chooses not to play that game, yet still manages to provide nearly 2% more classes under 20 than UChicago (79.7 vs. 77.8). That 79.7% beats Harvard, Princeton, Yale, and Stanford respectively by: .2%, *8.4%*, 3.9%, and *9.3%*. If Columbia were to cap their core classes at 19, its lead in this category would skyrocket. So, we have plenty of small classes here.
As for Yale and Princeton, I don't think it's fair to compare their ability to cap optional humanities seminars, which only 100-200 students attend, with Columbia's ability to cap core classes which are provided for roughly 1400 students. In any case, it's a completely different experience at Columbia. At Princeton and Yale, if you take one of these Humanities classes, you are in a select group of people who care about these topics. At Columbia, *everyone* is in the same class at you at the same time. When you go to John Jay for dinner, you see hundreds of people who are carrying the same books that you're reading at that very moment. You can walk up to any student, even a complete stranger, and immediately start discussing the same books and the same classes. This is unique among top tier schools, even at Uchicago, where students have more of a distribution requirement and don't actually take the same classes. Columbia's experience is incredibly wonderful and extremely bonding.
Another benefit that Columbia's core classes have over self-selective and optional programs at Princeton and Yale: you get much more science/math people in your classes, who provide very different and interesting perspectives to the table. One example from my experiences that immediately jumps to mind: having an Econ-Math major in the room when we were discussing Adam Smith was wonderful.
This is not to say that there aren't math/science students in the programs at Princeton and Yale. But, those kinds of students are probably much rarer.
Now, does every student at Columbia love the core? No. Some people come here in spite of the core, not because of it. But, I think a significant majority does love the core. And the people who aren't into it don't speak up in class, which can make a 22 person seminar feel several students smaller.
In any event, not every core class actually has 22 people in it. But, in the ones of that size that I've been in, there's never been a lack of conversation or a difficulty getting my voice heard.
I also want to dispel the notion that NYC destroys any opportunity for bonding. This is a big myth that really ****es me off. Columbia's campus is extremely vibrant. You can go to school here, never enter the city, and not realize you're missing anything. Most people don't run off campus all the time. In fact, I'd say most people don't leave more than once a week.
What the city is great for is supplementing the college experience. Every music hum student goes with their class to see an opera at the Met. Every Art Hum student goes with their class to several of NYC's amazing museums. In my Postmodern Poetry seminar, we would study a famous and influential poet, and then go downtown together to see him or her give a poetry reading. In my Shakespeare seminar, the professor got us tickets to the hottest Shakespeare production in the city at the time that was sold out to the general public. Living in the city also has allowed me to intern on an NBC show that I consider to be the funniest on television (I don't want to give away too much personal information).
You're going to love Columbia. Stop worrying and get cracking on the Iliad.
You say you are a disillusioned Columbia College admit? Reading TRULY ridiculous threads like this no doubt contributed to your disillusionment. FYI: for the past two years Columbia has received a significantly higher number of applications to its freshman class than has Princeton. For the past two years Columbia's admissions percentage has been lower than Princeton's, meaning that on some scale it has become more popular to high school applicants and more selective than Princeton. That says SOMETHING!!!!!
I went to undergrad at UChicago. It was fantastic. HOWEVER!!!!!!!!! In the years since I graduated Chicago has "watered down" -- made more "user friendly" -- its Core Curriculum. It is less rigorous; it is no longer as prescriptive. One result of Chicago's tinkering with its image and its curriculum is that its popularity has skyrocketed and its admissions rates have dropped. Big discussions at the UChicago forum. We Chicagoans are wondering, though, about the actual intellectual and academic COSTS of Chicago's bid for popularity.
By contrast, Columbia's commitment to its Core has remained steadfast for over eighty years. The Columbia Core remains one of the true jewels in undergraduate education. As the above poster told you, it is an intellectually stimulating, incredibly bonding experience. I just came back from the Summer Advising Session in Chicago, where as a family we attended with our little one who is an EXTREMELY proud and excited Columbia admit. We are thrilled by the opportunities our relative has, and this was little one's first choice Ivy. Little one applied to 11 schools and was only rejected from one. Because of its core, its Mind and Behavior program, its EXTRAORDINARY faculty, its resources, its opportunities, and, yes, New York, this was always little one's top choice school and favorite Ivy. I actually received my graduate degree from another Ivy -- Harvard, in fact -- we researched it assiduously, and yet little one could never get as on board Harvard as Columbia. For my little one, Columbia clicked, despite my trying to push both of my alma maters during the admissions cycle.
One thing that particularly strikes me about Columbia, as compared with the other top Ivies, is the relative lack of pretense and snobbery as compared with Harvard, Yale, and Princeton. There is still a vibe -- not as present at Harvard, as with those I have met from the other two -- as some kind of rich kid's entitlement, with which attitude I am uncomfortable. Maybe it is being in the great melting pot of New York that gives Columbia a grittier, seeemingly more tolerant air. I don't know. And, again, I am stating a personal opinion based upon my own experience.
Speaking as someone with degrees from two top schools, I can say from my own experience that Columbians are some of the smartest, least pretentious folk I have met. The curriculum and teaching are awesome. Everything is there for you to sieze and use.
So, what really is your problem? Go in late August and feast from the smorgasboard. Everything you need is there for you!
FYI: there is a kid on the Princeton forum who got into Princeton and was waitlisted by Columbia. His first choice was Columbia and he vented on the Princeton Forum. He complained about the difference in vibe between the two, both of which he visited. His perception was that Princeton was "snobby." Now, that is HIS perception, for which he was roundly abused on the Princeton Forum, in a way that kind of validated his sense of Princeton, unfortunately. The point is, despite the ridiculous fetishization of Harvard, Princeton, and Yale by the kids on CC (which is not the way the real academic and professional world thinks, by the way, AT ALL), NOT EVERYONE automatically thinks they are the only great schools. For this kid, Columbia was his first choice, and he specifically cited as reasons the Core and the vibe, and he is not happy being "stuck" at Princeton. For some people, Columbia IS a first choice and there are good reasons why that is so.
Compare the previous two posts with the sophomoric dialogue of the first 18.5 pages. And by sophomoric I mean literally written by 10th graders with an unhealthy obsession with a certain three universities.
So I came here to look into the opinions of others and decide on which school to apply early. The first 9 pages were full of bickering and personal insults regarding which school is more awful and horrible. The next 11 pages were non-contributory fights over statistics using untrustworthy sources. And honestly, the posts I've seen on this thread alone makes me not want to apply to either of these schools. I'm visiting Columbia tomorrow and Princeton some time next week. If anyone would like to post objective information and personal experiences (that aren't taken to the extreme) regarding the social scene and academics of Princeton and Columbia University, it would be very much appreciated.