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Which school is more similar to Duke?

southerngal3southerngal3 11 replies2 threads New Member
edited July 9 in College Life
Hi everyone! Back in March, I was rejected from Duke, my dream school ): I’ve moved passed it, but now I am faced with the decision of the University of Southern California or University of Pennsylvania (got off this wait list yesterday)

I like different aspects of both schools but I’m wondering which school will be most similar to the Duke experience, as that was originally my dream school. For reference, Duke was my dream school because of the social scene, weather, top-notch academics, and tight-knit student body. I understand one school may have the edge over the other with certain aspects, but which school will provide me with the most similar experience that I would have a Duke?
edited July 9
10 replies
Post edited by ccadminkris on
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Replies to: Which school is more similar to Duke?

  • gardenstategalgardenstategal 6674 replies10 threads Senior Member
    Based on your criteria, USC is probably more similar. Big sports, Greek life, warmer weather etc.

    Penn is an excellent school but probably more different.
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  • happy1happy1 24039 replies2410 threads Super Moderator
    First of all I think you need to let go of Duke. You aren't going there for one reason or another so stop thinking of it as some kind of a dream school Your dream schools should now be the ones that have accepted you and that are affordable.

    IMO (and I'm an alum for full disclosure) I feel Penn offers one of the best college experiences in the country. It combines top flight academics with a student body that largely has a work hard/play hard attitude. I agree that USC has warmer weather but I'd be heading to Penn.

    Congrats on two fine options.
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  • PublisherPublisher 11376 replies152 threads Senior Member
    OP: I cannot offer a reasonable response without knowing what you intend to study.
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  • southerngal3southerngal3 11 replies2 threads New Member
    @Publisher I plan to study communication at both schools! And maybe minor in french or political science
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  • southerngal3southerngal3 11 replies2 threads New Member
    edited May 24
    @happy1 thank you for your response! Would you be able to go into depth about the social scene/culture at Penn? I don’t know much about it at all.
    edited May 24
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  • PublisherPublisher 11376 replies152 threads Senior Member
    For communication, USC is the better choice.
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  • happy1happy1 24039 replies2410 threads Super Moderator
    I respectfully disagree with the above....the Annenberg School of Communications at Penn is outstanding.

    I went to Penn years ago but the school has the reputation of combining excellent academics and a strong social life. I know some recent graduates who would agree.
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  • PublisherPublisher 11376 replies152 threads Senior Member
    edited May 25
    Assuming that both USC & UPenn have outstanding Schools of Communication, the issue for OP becomes which offers the most similiar social life to Duke (as OP asked in the original post in this thread). (USC is a great school for Film & TV so it depends upon why OP wants to study communications.)

    All three schools--Duke, Penn & USC--have very large & active Greek memberships.

    Duke (ACC) & USC (PAC-12) play in Power 5 athletic conferences, while Penn is in the Ivy League.

    Hard for me to comment on social life as Penn is similiar in some areas as is USC.

    P.S. At Duke & at USC, wealth is displayed & sometimes flaunted.
    edited May 25
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  • PublisherPublisher 11376 replies152 threads Senior Member
    edited May 25
    The Fiske Guide To Colleges 2020 edition offers "A Guide For Preprofessionals" which lists colleges & universities with "unusual stength" in each of nine preprofessional areas including "COMMUNICATIONS/JOURNALISM: Colleges and Universities Strong in Communications/Journalism" as well as "FILM/TELEVISION: Major Universities Strong in Film/Television".

    USC is listed under both categories, while UPenn is not listed under either heading.

    Additionally, USC encourages communications majors to double major.
    edited May 25
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  • juilletjuillet 12812 replies164 threads Super Moderator
    I don't think it matters what you want to study in this case - aside from the fact that many people change their minds multiple times, both schools are excellent for what you want to do. Both schools have top-notch academics. You'll find a wealth of opportunities coming from either of them.

    I agree that you're not framing this question in the best way, though. You do have to move on from Duke, as you didn't get in there. Rather than asking which of these is the most similar to Duke, you should be comparing the two against a set of your interests and preferences.

    For example: What kind of social scene are you looking for? "Something like Duke's" isn't the right answer; the right answer is a general description that could be tested against multiple schools.

    If it's warm, mild weather you're looking for, USC will be closer. (It won't be the same, though, as North Carolina gets colder than LA does in the winter.

    Lots of colleges have tight-knit student bodies. What kind of tight-knit body are you looking for - in other words, what do they unite over? At my college, it was community and public service; at a school like Swarthmore or Columbia, it could be over the intense environment; at a place like Michigan or Ohio State, it could be sports (or anything else, as those universities are large enough to have many communities).
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