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Brown vs. UChicago

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Replies to: Brown vs. UChicago

  • GoingToSpaceBRBGoingToSpaceBRB Registered User Posts: 59 Junior Member
    Some points to roll over in your head: Recently, Chicago won a bid to be the host of the olympics. Of course, it's much bigger than Providence, but it's not too big. It's not like New York City in that over-crowded/Wall-street sort of way (I like NYC, but it's way rough at times) but it still offers all the opportunities of a big city with major firms, the board of trade, world-class hospitals etc.

    It'll take years to explore Chicago, but it won't take long to really find something you like there. That being said, it's a pretty expensive place to purchase goods, but that's like every other town that has a university in it.

    I'm only pitching Chicago because I was in a very similar situation to you, ccri. I got accepted to UofC and Brown, but lived about a half hour away from the Chicago.

    I mean, you'll be happy at both. Providence has it's own unique flavor, and it's obviously more apt as a college-specific town (just because it's smaller), but with Chicago you get much more to play with, and so you can make it what you want, in that you'll definately find what you need.

    Of course, I'm not trying to steer you away from Brown. I think Brown's a fantastic school. But if you were to compare the cities, Chicago would definately win out, if you're looking for a bigger city. Of course, with how hard UofC is, you might not be able to spend as much time exploring as you would like, while at Brown, even though it's very difficult, you'll still have enough time to really get to know Providence (since it is so much smaller). I guess that's something to really keep in consideration.
  • MovieBuffMovieBuff - Posts: 971 Member
    To me, the location of the school is very important. I could not picture myself living in Durhamn nor in New Haven. Having said that, there are some striking differences between Brown and UCHicago which play a major part on whether you are a "fit" or not. You could be very unhappy living in Chicago, if you find out that you do not have much in common socially or attitude wise with the students at the univ.

    Brown and Chicago are two schools so dramatically different that I think making a decision based on the "city" is kind of ridiculous. Brown and Northwestern have a lot more in common. It would make more sense to think of those two taking into consideration the "fit"
  • unaloveunalove Registered User Posts: 3,725 Senior Member
    OP, You may also like to keep in mind that your impression of schools and where you see yourself may make perfect sense to you, but no sense at all to the next person. When I was considering schools, Chicago was on the top of my list for various reasons.... reasons, incidentally, that Brown often maximizes in admissions literature (ie. a strong educational philosophy, learning for the sake of learning, de-emphasis on grades, etc.) However, for various reasons that probably wouldn't make sense to an outsider, Brown never made it onto my list. Neither did Columbia, which is very similar on paper to Chicago. Were those bad calls by me? Maybe. If I were to apply over again, I would probably look at Brown and Columbia more carefully, but I would still choose Chicago over them.

    My second choice school at the time was actually Northwestern. NU maybe wasn't the best second-choice school, now that I am a college student and have a more developed sense of what I want out of a college experience, but I liked NU a lot, first for its academics, second for its students, and third for its location. (I bring all this up to challenge the idea that Chicago and Northwestern are mutually exclusive and that Northwestern is similar to Brown in a way that Chicago is not similar to Brown).

    Anyway, you'll probably be amused to know that one of my Chicago friends was between three schools that he was admitted to... Brown, St. John's, and the U. of C. Brown has no distribution requirements. St. John's has no electives. Chicago's got its core. However, he found all three wonderful schools on their own merits and saw himself fitting in at all three, even if they seemed antithetical on paper.
  • MovieBuffMovieBuff - Posts: 971 Member
    unalove, I have had an important degree of exposure to all three schools: Brown, Northwestern and UChicago. Northwestern and Brown have more in common between the two than either of them with UChicago.

    Any top school can be said to have a strong educational philosophy, learning for the sake of learning, strong academics, good reputation, etc. What makes it a "fit" for someone? Well, it is that certain "je ne sais quois". It is the overall gut feeling that you get when you see the student body, atmosphere, go to some classess etc, (with the other factors being similar)

    I think that the main thing that Brown and UChicago have in common is that they are both very "subjectively perceived" to have better reputations and are more "elitist" on their own ways than Northwestern. Brown is an ivy; UChicago students are "uncommon" and Northwestern ....?? Well, Northwestern is just ...Northwestern. Another great school.
  • unaloveunalove Registered User Posts: 3,725 Senior Member
    I really don't want to derail this thread, but a few things.

    1) "Exposure" would not qualify as an overnight visit; "exposure" would be spending a few weeks at the school as a student. Anybody can make an impression based on a few hours of knowledge; it's something if that impression sticks over a longer period of time. Most of the kids I know hate their colleges until they're a few weeks in, anyway, when they find their "pulse" in relation to the school.

    2) Simplifying schools into one term doesn't do any of the schools any justice. For example, what does it mean that Brown's in the Ivy League? There are reasons to apply to all three, and not everybody has the same reasons to apply to them. Some of them might have "personalities" attached to them, but that doesn't mean that everybody there fits the school stereotype.
  • MovieBuffMovieBuff - Posts: 971 Member
    I agree with you. It is based on my "important degree of exposure" that i made my comment and was able to develop a solid opinion. Being legacy at two of them, facilitated that further.
  • newenglandparentnewenglandparent Registered User Posts: 274 Junior Member
    I have a child at the U of Chicago and many friends who went to Brown and have children at Brown. They are both great schools and has been stated before are quite different. It depends on what you are looking for. If you want complete freedom to study whatever you want, then Chicago is out. There is some flexibility within Chicago's core, but you still have to work within it. My child wanted that and loves it there. The school is not as rigid and "funless" as is often suggested. The social life is very active and there are a tremendous number of student clubs, groups and activities as there are at Brown. So core versus non core is a major factor. Also, major city versus minor city. Chicago is a great metropolitan city, one of the world's greatest and Providence is really more like a large town. So, if you are not into the huge urban scene, then again here is a difference. My child loves all of the opportunities that a city like Chicago offers and really wanted that. Third, the grade deflation thing is really overblown. If you are a hard core science or math person, maybe there is some validity to it. My child plans to major in political science and so far has had no trouble maintaining an active social life and a 3.5 cum while singing in two choirs. She was not a genius in highschool so I would say that if you do your work and are serious you should get about the same grades at Chicago as at Brown. So, these are some considerations.
    It really comes down to personal choice. Both schools will give you a great education.
  • GoingToSpaceBRBGoingToSpaceBRB Registered User Posts: 59 Junior Member
    I think everyone's brought up some great points.

    But, as I remember it, when I was in highschool, I really didn't know what I wanted. Sure, we can say write out what the differences are between Chicago and Brown, but really, at such a young age, it's really hard to say for sure: "hey, this is what I want".

    Chicago and Brown are different. And it's precisely because they are different that we are in a situation where we feel like we have to choose between two extremes. If the choice was between Brown and NU, it wouldn't be a headache. Choosing between Chicago and Brown feels more like putting yourself on two vastly different tracks, and so, really, there's a lot to consider (on a superficial level).

    I say superficial only because Brown and Chicago will both give you a great education. And you'll have fun at both. And you'll meet great people at both. And even though there's a core at Chicago, there's still a lot of flexibility. Having a core and wanting flexibility aren't completely contradictory. Much in the same way, at Brown you can create a curriculum that mimics a core curriculum at Columbia or Chicago.

    Since they both lead to more or less of the same result, follow your gut on this one.
  • MovieBuffMovieBuff - Posts: 971 Member
    Good perspective GoingtoSpace, agree.
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