Princeton hands down. Think of it this way: Princeton pours all of its resources into 4,600 lucky undergrads, while at Harvard you will get stuck with TAs (instead of profs) for teachers, larger classes, and 13,000 (or something) grad students that will have priority over you.
Well, maybe its not as bad as all that I encourage you to visit both places. Princeton's campus, by the way, is much more cohesive than Harvard's.
Congrats on two great acceptances, though! You are a very lucky person.
Location: SOON 2 B CORNELL!! Cornell Class of 2011!
I say Princeton because I think Princeton is better than Harvard. I suggest you visit both campuses. I don't know what you are looking for, but when I visited Princeton, I didn't like the atmosphere. OF course, I can not tell you what school to attend but I do think that visiting both schools will help you to decide.
while at Harvard you will get stuck with TAs (instead of profs) for teachers, larger classes, and 13,000 (or something) grad students that will have priority over you.
Wrong on all counts. Undergrads are the rock stars of Harvard, ask anyone. TAs do not teach classes, full professors do. TAs hold session, think study groups, to help you with the class, the homework, etc. Harvard's resources are $29 billion compared to $9.5 for Princeton, so even if you believe the grad and professional students figure in, the per student funding is still greater. Oh, and the law school has it's own endowment of $840 million, the Business School $2.1 billion, etc. As an undergrad, you have access to the entire Faculty of Arts and Sciences, not shared with any of the professional schools.
It's interesting that this thread is full of Princeton students talking about Harvard's disadvantages. One wonders A. why they're reading the Harvard forum and B. how they know "so much" about a school they don't attend!
There are definitely significant differences between the schools (finals clubs vs. eating clubs, mandatory vs. optional thesis, location, culture, etc). Biggest thing is to soul-search ("What do I want?"), research (with more specific questions than "which is better"), and visit (beware, admitted student weekends can be somewhat deceptive)! And take all advice with a grain of salt. People (myself included) have agendas and biases!
If you are a current Harvard undergrad, could I have your thoughts on the following?
My son is a an MIT-type as far aswanting to devour applied and abstract math, as well as bio and chem stuff. But he wants Harvard or Yale, because he is in love with literature, politics, philosophy etc. Basically everything
Do you know anyone who is loving gut-wrenching hard science and math as an undergrad at Harvard?
Another thing to keep in mind is that a Harvard student can take classes at MIT (and vice-versa). It's a bit of a pain because the academic calendars are different but if there happens to be a class he really wants to take MIT is right there. Yale doesn't have this advantage.
2011 dad: Suggest your son try math 25/55 and Physics 16 first term. Fill in with a year long Literary humanities seminar ( an education in itself). This would still leave room in the program for a language or philosophy plus participation in a choir or orchestra. Piece of cake.