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Cornell or Mount Holyoke??

cardustcardust Registered User Posts: 51 Junior Member
Last year (my senior year of high school), I got a guaranteed transfer from Cornell, and I recently found out I've gotten in. Mount Holyoke is where I'm going to now, and I'm really confused about whether I should transfer or not. Even though Cornell is an amazing school, I'm unsure about restarting in a completely new environment. At Mount Holyoke, I have a research position next year and I'm on the board for many clubs, I'm even the cochair for my dance team! Basically, I really like Mount Holyoke and I feel like I have a lot going for me there.

While I also loved Cornell when I visited and since I'm premed I feel like it would have a lot of opportunities for me, I don't know if it's worth leaving behind everything I have at Mount Holyoke.

Everyone around me, however, thinks I'm being absolutely crazy to even think of turning down an Ivy League education. What should I do?
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Replies to: Cornell or Mount Holyoke??

  • happy1happy1 Forum Champion Parents, Forum Champion Admissions Posts: 24,467 Forum Champion
    If you are happy and doing well at Mt. Holyoke I think it is perfectly fine to stay put. FWIW my D's good friend ended up staying at her initial college where she was very happy rather than use her guaranteed transfer to Cornell - she never regretted her decision.
  • collegemom3717collegemom3717 Registered User Posts: 6,284 Senior Member
    Agree with @happy1- you are blooming where you are planted!

    Now that you have the satisfaction of *knowing* that you made it in to Cornell, you have a choice between a place that you know to be a happy one for you, and an unknown. Basing that decision on a label (especially one related to a sports league!!) is not rational. You are getting a "Seven Sisters" education, and it is no dimension inferior to Cornell. Your med school prospects will be in no way disadvantaged (and there are plenty of people who will tell you that it is likely to be an advantage to stay).

    "Everyone around you" isn't you, and they aren't the ones living your life. This is as good a time as any to follow your own true North.*

    *unless there are meaningful debt differences, of course.
  • PublisherPublisher Registered User Posts: 7,435 Senior Member
    OP: Your post is like a rhetorical question. As written, there is only one answer that seems reasonable.
  • oldfortoldfort Registered User Posts: 22,997 Senior Member
    My kids went to Cornell. They knew many transfers who integrated very well at Cornell. Cornell does a very good job of orienting transfers. They put the transfers in one dorm so they could make friends easily.
    Both of my kids were dancers (20 hrs/week in high school). There were so many dance clubs, from hip hops to traditional ballet, that my kids joined different clubs. I had the pleasure of seeing many of their performances.
    It is a great opportunity to go to a school like Cornell, you should really think hard before you turn it down. I wouldn't stay just because it's comfortable.
    My brother was WL at Cornell many years ago. The day he showed up at Tufts, he was offered a place the following spring. He took the offer and thought it was the best decision he ever mad. Interesting enough my older one was also WL at Cornell and admitted at Tufts. She did get off the WL and had the best 4 years at Cornell.
  • PublisherPublisher Registered User Posts: 7,435 Senior Member
    But this thread is about OP & her situation. OP has not shared any information other than that she is very happy at Mount Holyoke.
  • merc81merc81 Registered User Posts: 9,973 Senior Member
    Yes, much more than "comfortable," as suggested above, but, at a minimum, very happy, and for clear, substantive reasons.
  • cardustcardust Registered User Posts: 51 Junior Member
    Thank you everyone for the replies! Yes, I do realize that from what I said it seems like I should just stay at Mount Holyoke but part of me is also worried that Cornell could offer me something more or that I could have better opportunities there. Many people close to me have said that going to Cornell will be better for me to get into medical school. However I feel like I could still get into a good med school if I do well at Mount Holyoke? But I don't know if I'm right about that
  • apple23apple23 Registered User Posts: 485 Member
    There might be times when it would be a good idea to consider rankings and associated aspects (for example, the significance of Ivy League or Seven Sister affiliations in your case) when choosing a college. However, when a school has an excellent and clear academic identity and atmosphere of its own that’s clearly working for you, comparisons to other schools with perceived stronger reputations can be counterproductive. You have only one opportunity to experience four years in an exclusively undergraduate oriented setting. Consider your favorable experiences at MHC over the last year, as well as the exciting opportunities you have in store for next year, and you may find that you have already made your decision, you are simply looking for verification from us.
  • merc81merc81 Registered User Posts: 9,973 Senior Member
    edited May 20
    You didn't say the major you'll be choosing, but Mt. Holyoke has a top biology program, as does Cornell. For undergraduate studies, it probably makes the most sense to think of these schools' programs in this field as equivalent, though their emphases may vary of course.
  • collegemom3717collegemom3717 Registered User Posts: 6,284 Senior Member
    edited May 20
    ARGHH!
    "I feel like I could still get into a good med school if I do well at Mount Holyoke? But I don't know...."

    really?!

    First of all, you are going to have to be a lot more sure of yourself.

    One more time: in the real world, you are not settling at all academically by going to Mount Holyoke.

    Cornell will not, in itself, be any better for getting in to med school than Mount Holyoke (paging acknowledged CC med school expert @WayOutWestMom for confirmation...)

    For med school, the keys are top grades (overall & in the pre-reqs) + MCAT for the first cut, followed by some form of exposure to the medical field (lots of ways to get that) and developing the 'competencies' that they are looking for (again, you get most of them just by doing the things you are doing anyway).

    I am not trying to dissuade you from going to Cornell- one of my collegekids is there right now. It's a very good school. BUT: it's not magic! It has it's good and bad points, like every place. And you won't have "better" opportunities there. You will have a lot of the same ones, some different ones (but probably not that different), more of some- and less of others. For example, if you transfer you certainly won't have a research position in your first term (possibly your first year) there- those assignments (same as at Mount Holyoke) have already been assigned for the autumn term. This I am pretty certain about, as my collegekid (who is actually now gradschoolkid) has already done the assigning for her lab for the autumn- for both undergrads and Masters students (note the benefit of being at an LAC- no grad students to compete with).

    So, DON'T choose it because "everybody" says it will be better. Being where you can shine, where you are happy, where you are successful in your schoolwork will help you. Being where your LoR can truly say 'this is a standout applicant' will definitely help you. The word "Ivy" won't.

    DO choose it- IF that is where *you* want to be.
  • WayOutWestMomWayOutWestMom Registered User Posts: 10,176 Senior Member
    edited May 21
    @collegemom3717 is right. The name of you diploma is by far the least important item on your med school application. Your GPA, MCAT, ECs, LORS, personal statement, your comportment during interviews, your written and oral communication skills, your people skills, you leadership skills--literally just about everything is more important than where you graduated from.

    The Cornell name on your diploma also won't get you a GPA boost when adcomms are reviewing your application.

    I don't care one or the other about whether you transfer or not. But if you're transferring because you think the prestige of the Cornell name will increase your chances of gaining a med school admission--it won't.

    RE: opportunities at Cornell--be aware that Cornell's med school is in NYC--4 hours away-- not Ithaca. What are the opportunities for clinical volunteering in Ithaca? I don't know, but its something worth asking about/investigating before you commit yourself to transferring.
  • monydadmonydad Registered User Posts: 7,938 Senior Member
    edited May 21
    What Cornell offers that is different is a huge course selection, and a huge variety of things one can learn about. (That is, without bussing to U Mass or whatever).
    That may be somewhat tempered by in-college credit requirements of the college you are matriculating to (I assume a contract college) . So one thing would be to check the particular course and credit requirements you would be subject to.

    Another thing it has that is different is boys. (That is, without bussing to U Mass or whatever).

    My D2 transferred in to Cornell (not GT) and had a great experience. But she only did that because she didn't like the school she was at initially.

    Transfer to a different college is always a risk. You may not meet the right group of people. You may not get in to the same extracurriculars. You might not do as well there as you are doing where you are. You just don't know.

    If it were me: if I liked where I was, and where I was is a perfectly respectable school, and as far as I could tell the future there also looked bright, I would not transfer. There isn't enough upside to justify the risk. If you graduate from MHC and do great there you will probably do well for yourself.

    YMMV.
  • momofsenior1momofsenior1 Registered User Posts: 5,751 Senior Member
    I'm a Cornell grad and loved my time there. That said, it sounds like you are really loving MH. Personally I think there will be more competition at Cornell for med school and you might be better off staying at MH if that's your long term goal.
  • chemusicchemusic Registered User Posts: 665 Member
    Think about class sizes also. If you thrive in a smaller LAC setting, then maybe NH is best for you right now.
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