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Princeton or Cambridge

adregs15adregs15 0 replies1 threads New Member
I need help. I'm a Canadian (Toronto) that was fortunate enough to receive offers from Princeton (indicated math) and Cambridge (engineering). I ideally am looking to go into data science or something along those lines. However, I have no clue what to do. At this point, my thought process is that both unis have fantastic educations and they are pretty much the same, but I'm someone who likes to have fun, so I want to know where most people enjoy themselves more. Any advice?
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Replies to: Princeton or Cambridge

  • PurpleTitanPurpleTitan 12814 replies29 threads Senior Member
    They're very different. Have you looked at how you will be assessed and taught?
    What about flexibility of major?
    How about the cost difference?
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  • Twoin18Twoin18 1853 replies18 threads Senior Member
    "I'm someone who likes to have fun, so I want to know where most people enjoy themselves more"

    The drinking age is quite different in the US and UK, which impacts how social events are structured (so for example in Cambridge your tutor may offer sherry at a reception to welcome new students and there is a college bar to drink at). Cambridge is a very college centric environment, in other words many social events happen within your college and you will probably be spending a lot of time with the handful of people doing your subject at your college. Did you like the people you met at interview there - remember that many of those will likely be your best friends for the next 4 years?

    But the way in which the degree is taught (depth vs breadth) and examined (final vs continuous assessment), as well as potential differences in cost are probably more important in this choice.
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  • collegemom3717collegemom3717 7223 replies69 threads Senior Member
    they are pretty much the same

    wow. no, they are *dramatically* different.

    Cambridge is much more structured: you have no module choices for the first 5 terms; in term 6 you get to choose 2 from a list of 6. It's very much an Engineering course. At Princeton you have a list of required classes for the applied math major, a list of general education requirements that you have to fulfill, and the rest of your classes are up to you. Cambridge will be more intense than Princeton- short, sharp terms, and your assessments will be fewer and carry more weight.

    And that's just on the academic front. There's being in the US v the UK : though both of lots of students who enjoy having fun they are pretty different culturally. As a Canadian you may be comfortable in both, but one may feel more natively comfortable.
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  • TigerleTigerle 432 replies5 threads Member
    Do you prefer to do your drinking legally or illegally? Kidding. You will find your fun in either place. However, you won’t really enjoy it if you hate the academics, and those will be very different.

    Can you imagine doing engineering, all day, every day, without being able to add, drop or change subjects? Do you prefer being independent in your learning within your one chosen subject? Do you enjoy the rush of high stakes end of year exams? That’s the UK.

    Do you prefer chugging along with continuous assessment, being told what to learn and when for a particular subject in a particular class, but being able to add or drop subjects, in fact change your whole major if you want to, continuously adding to your GPA and knowing at all times where you stand academically? That’s the US.

    I believe there may be also differences in terms of collaboration and project work, but a STEM person would have to speak to that.

    Congrats and enjoy the beauty of wherever you end up!
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  • roycroftmomroycroftmom 3412 replies40 threads Senior Member
    Where do you wish to settle and work after graduation? Most of the Princeton friends you make will remain in the US; at Cambridge, the majority of the class remains in Europe.
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  • CupCakeMuffinsCupCakeMuffins 1035 replies98 threads Senior Member
    edited January 24
    adregs15 wrote: »
    I need help. I'm a Canadian (Toronto) that was fortunate enough to receive offers from Princeton (indicated math) and Cambridge (engineering). I ideally am looking to go into data science or something along those lines. However, I have no clue what to do. At this point, my thought process is that both unis have fantastic educations and they are pretty much the same, but I'm someone who likes to have fun, so I want to know where most people enjoy themselves more. Any advice?

    Cambridge would offer a more interesting experience. Which one is cheaper? Both are great schools, you really can’t go wrong. Logistically, it’s easier for a US student to attend a US school then going abroad but idk if it’s easier for a Canadian to attend school in UK or US. You would save on airfares and travel time for sure.
    edited January 24
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  • cinnamon1212cinnamon1212 756 replies8 threads Member
    Where do you want to work after graduation? If the US, Princeton will make it easier (no real US oriented career help at Cambridge, as far as I know). Similarly, if you want to stay in the UK, Cambridge will make that easier (no real UK oriented career help at Princeton, as far as I know).
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  • happymomof1happymomof1 30017 replies181 threads Senior Member
    The rules for Canadian employment in the US can change at any time, so please don't count on an easy route into the US job market just because you have a US degree. You need to consider which degree is most likely to get you a job back in Canada after you finish. Most UK degree programs are three years, so include ththe potential extra year of salary with a UK degree vs. extra year of tuition/fees/housing/etc. for a US program in your calculations.
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  • collegemom3717collegemom3717 7223 replies69 threads Senior Member
    Engineering is a 4 year degree, so no extra year of salary, but (barring exchange rate changes) is still less expensive than Princeton.

    The core question is what @Tigerle and @Twoin18 pointed out; the difference in the programs is key. OP. You ask where 'most people enjoy more'- but It doesn't matter what 'most people' enjoy- it matters what *you* enjoy.

    Try going to the Cambridge site and marinating in the details of the program, including the classes you would take. If you don't have a lot of 'oooh that looks interesting' moments think hard about whether you would have fun doing it. I know- you meant enjoying life outside the classroom- but Cambridge really is about people who love their subject.
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  • AboutTheSameAboutTheSame 3162 replies47 threads Senior Member
    And Cambridge the town is a rather small place. It felt very Dartmouth [the college] to me, although the train gives you better access to London than anything gives a student in Hanover access to Boston [not even talking NYC]. Don't know if that matters to you.
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  • Twoin18Twoin18 1853 replies18 threads Senior Member
    edited January 24
    "Cambridge really is about people who love their subject"

    Indeed, as the maths department puts it "Most students will find that there is enough mathematics...to keep them busy (or very busy!)...There are many other educational and recreational opportunities to enjoy at university, though mathematics itself can hopefully be recreational" (https://www.maths.cam.ac.uk/undergrad/files/coursesIA.pdf).

    Also note that the terms are so short that you have to be prepared to do additional work during the vacations - I used to set aside two solid weeks during each of the Christmas and Easter breaks to catch-up on and revise the material covered during the previous term (you don't have end of term exams, just at the end of the year, so you have to remember everything you've done).

    "Cambridge the town is a rather small place...the train gives you better access to London"

    Yes, bigger than it used to be, but still extremely dominated by the university (especially in the center where many of the colleges are located). The experience can be somewhat different at a college further out, compared to one of the central colleges. Relatively few undergraduates go to London during term, there really isn't much time with everything else going on.
    edited January 24
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