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Where do I go by Prestige?

Burrito12Burrito12 216 replies48 threads Junior Member
Hey everybody, I know there have been a lot of threads for which college is the most prestigious, but I think it'd be useful if we could narrow it by field; for example, Dartmouth won't come in the top 20 for most prestigious STEM programs, even though it might be more prestigious overall. I'm at a point where there's still 25 schools on my list, and I need to cut by 10. I can't visit the campuses unfortunately, but this "prestige" thread could help in being a factor in my decision. Obviously, I'll talk to current students, alumni, etc, as rankings don't determine everything, but this could be interesting. I'm applying as a CS/applied math major with a focus in finance, so it'd be great if you could help tailor the list in that way. I'll give my interpretation.

Here's the list of schools:
1. Stanford
2. MIT
3. UC Berkeley
4. Harvard
5. CMU
6. Princeton
7. Cornell
8. UPenn
9. Columbia
10. Harvey Mudd
11. Brown
12. Duke
13. Rice
14. UCLA
15. JHU
16. UC San Diego
18 - 25: bunch of safeties
25 replies
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Replies to: Where do I go by Prestige?

  • mamaedefamiliamamaedefamilia 3598 replies24 threads Senior Member
    As 1-17 are all reaches for everybody for CS, I would focus on your safeties as well - are they really safeties for your stats and your parents' budget?

    Honestly, 1-17 are all great places but vary in terms of size, location, vibe, availability of internships, etc. I think those factors are more important to your college experience than "prestige."
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  • Burrito12Burrito12 216 replies48 threads Junior Member
    Budget isn't an issue; I don't really have a strong preference for size or location. Vibe is hard to capture. Internships are really important to me. My safeties are safeties for sure; I've already been accepted to a college through rolling.
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  • AroundHereAroundHere 3590 replies22 threads Senior Member
    How many campuses have you visited? It's very odd that you have no preferences whatsoever.
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  • Burrito12Burrito12 216 replies48 threads Junior Member
    I've only visited the local ones, so the ones on the upper east coast. I have some preferences, but it'd be great if CCers could post their ranking opinions, so that I can take this into account as well. Prestige is important to me.
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  • aunt beaaunt bea 10092 replies68 threads Senior Member
    Whom do you plan to try to impress?
    No one is going to look at your vitae for CS and be overly impressed.
    All of us adults know graduates from these schools and honestly, no one cares.

    As for your "list", you have California publics that will not prioritize you if you are not from California. Take the UC's off of your list since your seek prestige and not a real comprehensive education. The classes are large and they might not be stuffy enough for you.

    If your budget is not an issue, why can't you visit? Each of these schools is different and has a completely different vibe.
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 80222 replies720 threads Senior Member
    AroundHere wrote:
    It's very odd that you have no preferences whatsoever.

    The OP does appear to have a strong preference for prestige that appears to override everything else.
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  • AroundHereAroundHere 3590 replies22 threads Senior Member
    Honestly, prestige based on a random poll on college confidential isn't any better than looking at USNews ranking.
    You might want to see if there is a major award in your field and where the winners went to school for an idea of career-specific prestige.
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  • Much2learnMuch2learn 4610 replies168 threads Senior Member
    Tier 1. Harvard, Stanford, MIT
    Tier 2. Princeton, Penn, Columbia, Duke
    Tier 3. Brown, JHU, Cornell
    Tier 4. CMU, Rice, WUSTL, Berkeley, Harvey Mudd, UCLA
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  • rickle1rickle1 2267 replies19 threads Senior Member
    Having lived in the northeast , west coast, and the southeast, I must strongly suggest you visit to narrow down. All of your schools (and many others) are great. Can they get you where you want to go professionally and/or grad school? Absolutely! If cost is truly no issue, it must come down to preferences. You say "no preference" but you must realize there is an enormous difference between:

    City vs. Suburban vs. Rural
    Large vs. Small
    Public vs. Private
    Culture of the area (outside of the "bubble")

    Some kids love large lectures while others feel more comfortable in small discussion based classes. Is the sports scene or school spirit important? All of these issues will play a role in your enjoyment over the next four yrs.

    My S had many schools on his list. On paper they were all great (and are all great, just not all for him). Once we started visiting, it narrowed pretty quickly. Next step was to apply to several on his narrowed list and others that were very similar including 2 safeties.

    What you'll find, especially with your initial list, is admissions is not a science and can appear quite random with the highly selective schools. Put two kids side by side with virtually identical specs, apply to the same schools, and you'll get very different results. Figure the most selective schools decline about 70% - 80% of applications that could be quite successful at their institution AFTER they get rid of the ones that should never have applied.
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  • Burrito12Burrito12 216 replies48 threads Junior Member
    I mean that I can't visit at this point because it's late Nov, and I need to fill out a lot of applications.
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  • DadTwoGirlsDadTwoGirls 6002 replies1 threads Senior Member
    For computer science pretty much no one cares about prestige. If you make the point to a recruiter that prestige was the main reason why you selected a school, then you might not help your chances of getting a job.

    I think that for CS Harvard is too high on your list and Michigan and Caltech are way too low.
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  • mamaedefamiliamamaedefamilia 3598 replies24 threads Senior Member
    I would take the UCs off your list as you are not a CA resident. Assuming you and/or your parents care about the value gained from tuition, I would invest in schools where you are likely to get more personalized attention from professors rather than facing large introductory lecture classes and impacted majors. If you were in state for CA, I'd be giving different advice. 30K is reasonable for the quality. For 60K+ there are better choices.

    That said, if you have a burning desire to live and work in CA after graduation, developing job experience in the region might be useful. Another way to think about narrowing down your list is to ask yourself if there are geographical locations that would be unpalatable to you in the short or long term.

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  • bogeyorparbogeyorpar 751 replies31 threads Member
    Agree with @DadTwoGirls . If you are looking for CS prestige, you should move Harvard, Duke, WUSTL, UPenn, JHU down, and add State powerhouses such as UWashington, UIUC, Georgia Tech, UT Austin.
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  • aunt beaaunt bea 10092 replies68 threads Senior Member
    edited November 2017
    I mean that I can't visit at this point because it's late Nov, and I need to fill out a lot of applications.
    Whose fault is that?

    Didn't your GC limit how many schools you can apply to?

    This thread is ridiculous!
    Seriously? Picking a college on prestige-only?
    edited November 2017
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  • lookingforwardlookingforward 35242 replies399 threads Senior Member
    If your sole interest is prestige, you're in a rotten Catch-22, as those top colleges like to filter out applicants with a prestige jones. It's so off. It's incomplete thinking. It's not match.
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  • MomtofourkidsMomtofourkids 384 replies33 threads Member
    No Dartmouth? Do you not view as prestigious? Just wondering...
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  • merc81merc81 10947 replies179 threads Senior Member
    The OP expressed this opinion on Dartmouth:

    Dartmouth won't come in the top 20 for most prestigious STEM programs
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  • scubadivescubadive 1091 replies3 threads Senior Member
    Having seen alot of colleges over the years and living in the north, south and west you are setting yourself up for a potentially a big disappointment. There are huge cultural differences. Honestly, fit trumps everything else if you are fortunate enough to have choices. At your stage in life everyone is talking about colleges in adulthood few give it a second thought. Going to school in a rural setting versus a big city is a major difference. At least dwindle it down by some other parameter than prestige. Also keep in mind many folks go to state schools all over the country where they are a force to reckon with. In certain areas they dominate the business world. So while you have the prestigious degree you could be passed over for a local alum as well. While you may be biased for prestige others are biased against it. It works both ways.
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  • rickle1rickle1 2267 replies19 threads Senior Member
    Great point above about prestige working against in certain circles. I live in FL and work in financial services. A wholesaler friend of mine works for a high end boutique money mgmt firm based in NY but with offices in several markets. He's a sharp kid, CPA, CFA (which is rare), MBA. He attended U Florida. The NY firm typically hired from the far more prestigious schools up north. He networked in to an interview and thoroughly explained, in his role - dealing with CPAs and Money Managers as a source for their clients - a UF degree was worth a lot more than Harvard (because most of the business people he deals with either went to UF or think of it as a great school. Got the job!

    Many things are regional. Think about where youwant to live and what type of environment you want to be in and then try to go to the best (and affordable) school that checks those boxes.
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