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Introducing a New Expert Content Section: Careers!

ADVICE: Columbia ED or Brown ED or Stanford EA?

zed1994zed1994 Registered User Posts: 40 Junior Member
edited April 2012 in Columbia University
Hi everyone,

So putting aside my stats and "chances of getting in," I was wondering if I could get some advice on which school I should apply early to for admittance into the class of 2017. The three that I've found myself most taken with are Stanford, Columbia, and Brown.

A little bit about myself to give some perspective...

-I love traveling and being around people of different cultures/backgrounds. It's definitely important for me to go to a school with a significant international population.
-I'm pretty into sports and hope to play club soccer and tennis.
-My prospective majors are international relations, political science, biology, and/or neuroscience (i know all three of these schools offer one or more of these in some form or another so that's not TOO much of an issue).
-I hope to be able to double major with a social science and biological science or at least do a social science major with a pre-med track
-I do enjoy being in a city-like environment, but I feel like I can put that wish aside until grad school if I have to.
-I want to be part of an intellectual environment (which I'm sure I would get at any of these schools) but also want to have a good social life and be able to go out without feeling too stressed about it.

So, if you guys could give me your opinions on which school you think I should go for and why, I would really appreciate it! Thanks so much.
Post edited by zed1994 on

Replies to: ADVICE: Columbia ED or Brown ED or Stanford EA?

  • itdoesdeathitdoesdeath Registered User Posts: 93 Junior Member
    With respect to curriculum, Brown and Columbia are total opposites. Brown has an open curriculum, so as long as you fulfill the requirements of your major/concentration, you've no other required classes to graduate. Columbia has the core, which will take up 1/3 to 1/2 of your schedule, but ensures that you receive a very well-rounded, liberal arts education. While I don't really know much about Stanford, you should keep those things in mind. I prefer some structure (and fear what might happen to my math skills if I'm allowed to take nothing but poetry and literature classes), which is why I'll be attending Columnia in the fall. Good luck!
  • iamanappiamanapp Registered User Posts: 470 Member
    Stanford EA. No contest. Prestige leading to happiness is severely under-rated on these forums.
  • swingtimeswingtime Registered User Posts: 512 Member
    Well, if it is merely prestige, on what terms is it measured? By admission stats? If so, Columbia and Stanford's admission stats are not radically different. By those damnable rankings? If so, according to one widely used ranking for national and worldwide reputation -- US News & World Reports national and international universities -- Columbia BEATS Stanford on both the national and international scales. If those are measures of prestige, Columbia and Stanford are on the same level. Otherwise, this is just snide nonsense, as you know the OP should choose a school based upon fit. At this level of the game, all things are "relatively" equal. You are no dummy. You know this.
  • silverturtlesilverturtle Registered User Posts: 12,496 Senior Member
    ^ I believe iamanapp was being satirical, because prestige's ability to confer happiness upon those who are members of the prestigious institution is approximately zero yet is valued highly by some on the CC forums.
  • swingtimeswingtime Registered User Posts: 512 Member
    Silverturtle, yep, in retrospect I realize it was sarcasm. Forgive me iamanapp!!!!!!!!

    I have to say, I just cannot believe the OBSESSION with a small number of (acronymic) schools displayed by the kids on CC. It is just astonishing to me. And so troubling. How many of them are aware of the large numbers of exceptional institutions out there and available for the educational pickings?

    And these truly ridiculous "chance" threads? It is often just ill-informed high school kids "chancing" each other. What is the point? Work hard. Get your academic ducks in a row. Get advice from PROFESSIONALS and parents. Submit a broadly conceived yet targeted set of college applications. Weigh your options when you receive your acceptances/rejections. Really, what is so hard about just doing it the way it has always been done?

    This site has a wealth of valuable information. But these "chance me" posts are among the most absurd things I have ever seen. Funny and sad. You "chance" yourself by preparing all through high school, and then you just apply. That's it. End of story. There IS NO FORMULA. And nothing any high school kid tells another about "chancing" is in any way relevant. The only relevant opinions are from admissions officers, and they will render their verdicts with acceptances or denials. Until that happens, just take your "chance"!
  • moonman676moonman676 Registered User Posts: 938 Member
    1. I would say being in NYC will be as diverse an environment as it gets.
    2. Club soccer at Columbia is extremely good.
    3. Any of those three would let you explore your interests.
  • iamanappiamanapp Registered User Posts: 470 Member
    I was not being sarcastic at all, silverturtle.

    Prestige does add to one's happiness. I genuinely believe that.

    Had I not turned down Stanford, while ignoring the value of prestige, I'm sure I would've been much happier right now.
  • silverturtlesilverturtle Registered User Posts: 12,496 Senior Member
    Sorry for the off-topic nature of some of the following.
    I was not being sarcastic at all, silverturtle.

    Prestige does add to one's happiness. I genuinely believe that.

    I apologize for communicating a misinterpretation of your intention. I had figured that, whatever one's speculation on the influence of prestige on happiness, to single out CCers as being a group that undervalues prestige, when it is tough to find a group that values it much more, suggested satire.

    I disagree that there is a positively causal relationship between happiness and prestige. I think that you'll have an easier time finding people who strongly agree with you on prestige's influence than you will finding people who believe that money yields happiness. Yet even this latter conception is untrue past a rather modest income.

    It could additionally be argued that whatever happiness the achievement of prestige (or money) yields, it faces the countervailing negative force of the strive preceding it, which may be plagued by sacrifices and under-appreciation of one's present circumstances when wistfully juxtaposed against the romanticized vision of a future with higher amounts of what is desirable. To believe that completion of our goals will bring happiness predicates unsoundly on the validity of the goal. In exacerbation, the non-realization of what was expected evolves into the conceptualization of an opportunity cost, whose salient absence inspires disutility by way of disillusionment.

    I will, however, concede the capacity of enjoyment of prestige to temporarily inspire greater self-esteem. This indulgence in the tempting tendency to defer valuation of self-worth to the opinions of others probably has compensatory harms down the road, though. In fact, one would expect at least the same boost in self-esteem from money as from prestige (since money is often used in ways that mark prestige), yet the aforementioned empirical plateau in happiness for higher levels of income exists, suggesting a similarly ineffectual capacity of prestige alone.
    Had I not turned down Stanford, while ignoring the value of prestige, I'm sure I would've been much happier right now.

    It's well established that people are not particularly good at providing valid attributions for their dissatisfaction. When one is dissatisfied, a common defense mechanism is to rationalize the dissatisfaction as a failure to subscribe to and act upon whatever expectations the person then has about what begets happiness. In this way, hope is vividly preserved, because no new constructs are necessary to account for the disconnect between what one has and what one wants. Deeper, more lasting accounts of happiness are rightly placed in lieu of popularized, mostly fallacious simplifications.
  • silverturtlesilverturtle Registered User Posts: 12,496 Senior Member
    It could additionally be argued that whatever happiness the achievement of prestige (or money) yields, it faces the countervailing negative force of the strive preceding it, which may be plagued by sacrifices and under-appreciation of one's present circumstances when wistfully juxtaposed against the romanticized vision of a future with higher amounts of what is desirable.

    To further consider the matter, give this a read if you'd like: http://editorialexpress.com/cgi-bin/conference/download.cgi?db_name=ACE2004&paper_id=244. It sheds some light on the harms of individuals' high valuation of goods whose value derives from their perceived superiority over other goods. Along these lines and by Frank's terminology, the pursuit of prestige may be considered a harmful expenditure cascade.
  • inaweoflacsinaweoflacs Registered User Posts: 206 Junior Member
    I would say it depends on the kind of atmosphere you prefer. I visited Brown, and did not like it; the architecture wasn't too beautiful, the Humanities library, called the Rock, was astoundingly ugly, the student body was definitely on the liberal/hippie/hipster side... Oh, and Providence is not my favorite city at all - you can just breathe the liberal! Columbia, on the other hand, is beautiful and not blatantly left-wing, and, although Morningside Heights is no paradise on Earth, you have the whole city at your disposal. Personally, I can think of nothing more wonderful than enjoying an excellent education and the marvels of NYC simultaneously.
  • silverturtlesilverturtle Registered User Posts: 12,496 Senior Member
    ^ To be fair, the Rock is rather nice on the inside, despite its modest facade. The Science Library at Brown is also rather drab and foreboding, but students warm to it.

    Students from Columbia and Brown will both be predominately liberal. I don't really agree with the claim (and admittedly common stereotype) that Brown hosts disproportionately many hippies; and to whatever extent there is a hipster aura, it's certainly not significantly more salient than at peer institutions.

    The biggest differences between Brown and Columbia are of academic structure and curriculum, as itdoesdeath indicates. I review them here: http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/14241166-post4.html
This discussion has been closed.