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Help Me Pick A School

biearbebiearbe 70 replies2 threads Junior Member

I need to pick the college I'm going to, and I need help because I'm "torn." The schools I'm choosing between are Columbia, UPenn, Cornell, Brown and Dartmouth. I got into a lot of other schools, but I'm going to an Ivy.
I applied as an English/Comparative Literature (Brown) major, I think I'm probably going to double major in something and English, I don't know.
I really like colleges that give off the quintessential college vibe with gothic architecture and pretty campuses, I want the school to have a really good sense of community and a social scene.
My top three so far are Columbia, UPenn, and Brown (in no specific order). My parents want me to go to Columbia, it's their dream school for my sisters and I, and I'm the youngest and only one to get into Ivies. I don't dislike it but I grew up in Queens, NYC, and Columbia doesn't have my preferred campus as it's in the city. I like the urban-suburban vibe.
I like UPenn, the campus is nice, and I've heard a lot. Brown is also pretty nice, I like all the schools though lol.

If anyone has advice, or goes there and can say anything about it, that would be great! Thanks in advance!

College Results:
I got into Boston College, Colgate, Franklin & Marshall, Ithaca, Northwestern (Medill School of Journalism), Syracuse (S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications), Washington University in St. Louis (WashU), Wheaton, and Tufts, Wesleyan, Bucknell, Cornell, Brown, UPenn, Dartmouth, and NYU
Waitlisted: Harvard & Yale
Rejected: Clark University
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Replies to: Help Me Pick A School

  • MorningsiderMorningsider 107 replies0 threads Junior Member
    You got into five Ivies and were rejected from Clark? Astonishing.

    I went to Columbia and teach at Penn. IMO, there's little to choose between Columbia and Penn, except Columbia is in NYC, Penn isn't and undergrads there can major in business (Wharton). I know little about Brown except my sister-in-law went there and loved it.

    All three of your preferred schools have urban campuses; your best choice which is "urban-suburban" is Tufts, but it would be crazy to pick that when you have a choice of five Ivies. If I were you, I'd give Dartmouth another look. My brother went there and loved it. For pretty campuses, Dartmouth wins. For Gothic architecture, Penn wins among your choices, but why didn't you apply to Princeton?
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  • Bill MarshBill Marsh 500 replies5 threads Member
    Long list . . .

    Congratulations!

    Brown is the polar opposite of cutthroat and encourages intellectual curiosity and that students find themselves in their work. A great foundation for a community of learners. Wesleyan is a mini Brown on a campus with a quintessential college feel. 3000 undergrads make it on the larger size for a LAC, which is probably a good thing for your interests.

    Wash U checks all your boxes. Gothic architecture. Not a downtown campus. They have a residential college system much like Yale’s through which to build community. Double majors are encouraged.
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  • PublisherPublisher 11124 replies145 threads Senior Member
    edited April 5
    Dartmouth grads love Dartmouth & their Dartmouth experience, but a visit should enable a fairly quick decision as Hanover is more rural than suburban.

    Columbia may be too close to home & may be a better option for a masters degree in journalims since you have so many outstanding opportunities a bit further from your home.

    Brown University grads also love their Brown undergraduate experience. Lots of freedom academically & lots of opportunities upon graduation.

    Cornell is rural but large enough so that students should have plenty to do in their spare time.

    UPenn is, as noted above, similiar to Columbia in setting &, as an Ivy, equally prestigious. There is some concern, however, about pressure to do well.

    Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism is very highly regarded & the setting is urban / suburban as you prefer. More similiar to Columbia & UPenn, than to Dartmouth College. Easy to double major. Surprised that you went to the trouble of applying to what is arguably the best journalism school in the world which is in your preferred setting, yet it is not among your final group of schools that you are considering. (If it helps, although not in the Ivy League, NU is ranked above Dartmouth, Brown, & Cornell by US News.) But, either you want to major in journalism or you don't.
    edited April 5
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  • circuitridercircuitrider 3723 replies181 threads Senior Member
    edited April 5
    I'm from Queens and I well understand the pressure to attend a charter member of the Ivy League, especially if your family as a whole has been through multiple application cycles!

    here's my fly-on-the-wall analysis of your choices:

    Dartmouth - Avoid if you are African-American and have not visited. It is the most polarized of the Ivies.

    Cornell - Not in a city, but more like a large town in itself. It is your best bet, if you are a fan of Gothic archiitecture.

    Columbia - Frankly, I didn't even apply to Columbia because I was so anxious to get out of the City. And, it doesn't check the box on Gothic architecture.

    Penn - Checks a lot of boxes, including a very peculiar brand of Gothic architecture. If you can stand the vague sense of inferiority (which will mostly be voiced by a few entitled students) stemming from being neither in New York nor within the inner-circle of HYP, you can find happiness there.

    Brown - Probably my favorite Ivy because it so in touch with its Colonial past. Second only to Cornell in the number of buildings that survive from its founding - and its about a hundred years older. Not a lot of Gothic, but it would be my pick if I were really interested in old architecture.

    edited April 5
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  • biearbebiearbe 70 replies2 threads Junior Member
    @Morningsider I didn't apply to Princeton because they required a written essay with teacher's comments on it but we did ours online, and by the time I knew it was a reuqirement it was too late to rewrite one so I didn't apply.
    I thought it was funny too after getting into the Ivies after Clark rejected me
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  • biearbebiearbe 70 replies2 threads Junior Member
    @Morningsider @Publisher @Bill Marsh @circuitrider
    Yeah, I do like the other schools but my parents aren't letting me go to any of them now that I got into Ivies, and they want one of their kids to go there.
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  • biearbebiearbe 70 replies2 threads Junior Member
    I'm from Queens and I well understand the pressure to attend a charter member of the Ivy League, especially if your family as a whole has been through multiple application cycles!

    Thanks, I'm black so that's really helpful. I've been hearing that a lot about Penn, I've been reading their newspaper articles also and people from there keep complaining about not being in the HYP and being an "Insecure Ivy." Despite my parents pushing for Columbia, Brown and Penn seem to be pretty top right now. Queens!! But, thanks for understanding
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  • biearbebiearbe 70 replies2 threads Junior Member
    Bill Marsh wrote: »
    Long list . . .

    Congratulations!

    Thanks!
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  • biearbebiearbe 70 replies2 threads Junior Member
    Also at this point, I think I like urban schools and fake college towns, but I don't know if Columbia is the wave
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  • circuitridercircuitrider 3723 replies181 threads Senior Member
    Just to be curious, what do you mean by "fake college towns"? Can an urban school be in a fake college town or are they opposites?
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  • Mwfan1921Mwfan1921 4922 replies86 threads Senior Member
    How do you feel about Columbia’s core curriculum? Pretty different from Brown’s curriculum.
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  • theloniusmonktheloniusmonk 2879 replies5 threads Senior Member
    I would lean to Brown or Penn, if you've been to both campuses before the restrictions came down, that should help you decide.
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  • biearbebiearbe 70 replies2 threads Junior Member
    @circuitrider Yeah, like Harvard for example has Harvard Square and all the little shops and houses around it, but it's still considered urban. If it has like a town around it, just not as intense as being directly in Manhattan.
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  • biearbebiearbe 70 replies2 threads Junior Member
    @Mwfan1921 I like both, I like the freedom Brown gives with their curriculum and how I can choose so many different things cuz I have a lot of different interests. But, I worry if it's too much because the more people explain or compare the two, I don't understand. I also like Columbia's curriculum because I'm interested in the humanities regardless, and would love to take classes in all the core subjects.
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  • biearbebiearbe 70 replies2 threads Junior Member
    @theloniusmonk That's one of my issues, I haven't visited any of their campuses. I've been to Columbia's in 10th grade but it wasn't a proper tour.
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  • biearbebiearbe 70 replies2 threads Junior Member
    Can anyone speak to the following factors in particular?:

    1. Relative prestige (particularly in social scienes and humanities)

    2. Quality of dorms

    3. Social life - what is it like at these schools? How are they different? Is it focused in the school or out in the surrounding city?

    4. How does Penn's undergraduate focus compare to the others'?

    5. How's the food? :P
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  • circuitridercircuitrider 3723 replies181 threads Senior Member
    @circuitrider Yeah, like Harvard for example has Harvard Square and all the little shops and houses around it, but it's still considered urban. If it has like a town around it, just not as intense as being directly in Manhattan.

    I see what you mean. I think you would like Brown's Thayer Street. The only thing missing is a metro station. Penn has made a rather obvious attempt to replicate a "fake college town" with University City. Unfortunately for some us old timers, we remember what was there before all the red brick and IMO the block upon block of new construction comes across as rather sterile. YMMV.
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  • biearbebiearbe 70 replies2 threads Junior Member
    @circuitrider Thanks, yeah I'm going to have to check out what it looks like. I see what you mean. This is so hard, I don't know where to choose.
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  • theloniusmonktheloniusmonk 2879 replies5 threads Senior Member
    It's tough to to say which school has higher prestige for something as general as humanities and social sciences, but if you still intend to major in journalism, then Columbia, maybe by a long shot. Not sure between Penn and Brown. Humanities would be Brown, pre-professional (business, engineering) would be Penn.
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  • biearbebiearbe 70 replies2 threads Junior Member
    @theloniusmonk Thanks, I'm thinking of double majoring in English/journalism and science/economics one of those mixes idk yet
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