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Georgetown SFS vs. UPenn CAS

2024college2024college 3 replies1 threads New Member
I have currently narrowed down my college decisions to two choices: studying International Political Economy at Georgetown's School of Foreign Service or International Relations and Economics at UPenn's College of Arts and Sciences.

I am having a difficult time deciding what school to attend. Here are some pros and cons for each:


- Ivy
- Nicer Dorms and facilities
- bigger range of opportunities if I end up changing my mind about what I want to do
- More diverse student body
- Cool city
- higher ranked
- Slightly better law school placement if thats what I decide I want to do

- Bigger
- Less opportunity for school year internships
- Not as nice of a neighborhood
- Lower ranked in IR
- focus on business
- I don't think I would like the super pre-professional and cutthroat culture


-one of the top programs in IR
-Lots of opportunities
-really unique experience
- I like the lack of greek life
- I really love DC
-stronger foreign language programs
- Best place for what I want to do
-have major International Political Economy (I would have to double major at Penn)
- Smaller

- the facilities are not as nice
-reputation for bad food
- programs aren't as good if I change my mind with what I want to do
- Preppy, less diverse
- lower ranked overall
- I want a good education in ir/political theory, and the sfs seems to focus more on practical applications

I would really appreciate any input or guidance. They are both amazing schools, and I want to make the right decision. The financial situation is similar at both, so is not an important factor. Also, I have visited Georgetown and really like the campus. I haven't visited Penn, so I'm not sure if I like the location, campus and vibe.
9 replies
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Replies to: Georgetown SFS vs. UPenn CAS

  • vorpalvorpal 34 replies0 threads Junior Member
    Our daughter is weighing the same schools as you are. You have done very well narrowing down the specs on both.

    We live right outside Philadelphia, and I actually think that University City is a great area for college btw but I also love DC.

    Have you had the chance to connect live with any prospective students in your major since you cannot visit?
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  • 2024college2024college 3 replies1 threads New Member
    It's great to know that you think penn is in a good area, as that is one of my concerns. I've discussed with a few students at each school and there are many pros and cons to each.
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  • PublisherPublisher 11376 replies152 threads Senior Member
    Because you have visited Georgetown and because it has your specific major and you love Wash DC, then the safe choice seems clear.
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  • Eeyore123Eeyore123 1939 replies25 threads Senior Member
    The only real risk at GTown is if you radically change your major. Even if you do, that isn’t that big of downside risk.
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  • PublisherPublisher 11376 replies152 threads Senior Member
    @2024college: I hoped that my prior response would elicit a reaction from you.

    It will be tough saying "no" to UPenn.

    The facilities at Georgetown did not impress you, and the dorms & food have issues.

    If you can find a strong reason to be in Wash DC, then that should be a major factor in your decision making process.

    In another field with which I am familiar, the decision often comes down to NYC versus Wash DC. Those who choose Washington DC do so for the internship opportunities with the federal government. Those who select NYC focus on job placements in the private sector.
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  • 2024college2024college 3 replies1 threads New Member
    Thank you for your reply. As of now, I am not focused on job placement in the private sector. The reason why DC is so appealing to me is the internship opportunities with the government. As you said, what is holding me back is the difficulty of saying no to Upenn.
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  • PublisherPublisher 11376 replies152 threads Senior Member
    Then you need to further refine your thoughts to internships / externships during the school year versus during the summer.

    Why ? Because if you are concerned about summer placements, UPenn will get you there.

    In the industry with which I am familiar, Wash DC advantage is important during the full calendar year.
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  • 2024college2024college 3 replies1 threads New Member
    I will definitely consider that. I am definitely interested in school year internships, but will look into if thats reasonable with the amount of time I will have if I want to do research, clubs, etc. What drew me initially to Georgetown, however, was the possibility to make connections during the school year that other students cannot.
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  • PublisherPublisher 11376 replies152 threads Senior Member
    My best guess is that will not be a significant factor for an undergraduate student.

    At the undergrad level, the best connections are made through professors.

    Many professors at Ivies--UPenn included--Georgetown, GWU, Coll. of Wm. & Mary, and several more have connections in Wash DC that can result in internship placements both with government agencies & with government contractors. Georgetown does not have a lock on this. In fact, Yale & other Ivies may be better for such placements. But, for school year placements, it would be a huge advantage to be in DC.

    Confused ? Of course, because there is no clear-cut answer.
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