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Stanford vs. Upenn (Benjamin Franklin Scholars Program)

chittychittybangbangchittychittybangbang Registered User Posts: 126 Junior Member
edited April 2006 in Stanford University
So basically, Stanford was it (Got in Early Action.) That was after Upenn offered me a place in their BFS program. They select only 100 students from all their 4 undergraduate colleges and its sort of an honor society - basically "the top of the top" and it is said that these few students are in primary positions for scholarships like "Rhodes, Gates..etc." BFS students also have to maintain a 3.6 gpa or above, and while that is hard..its also a huge honor for such a prestigious university to place you in such a program.

"Aong, with academic distinction, joining the BFS brings membership in vital intellectual community. A student-run activities commitee plans regular events, including social gatherings, movies, and trips to local cultural institutions...The rigorous, exploration-based program also naturally positions participants to win presitigious outside grants and prepares them to apply to graduate fellowships such as the Rhodes, Mellon, Gates, and Fullbright....they often puruse independent research projects that emerge from dynamic relaitonships they have with advisors and faculty. Many are authors or co-authors of published papers providing genuine contributions to creating new knowledge. BFS and its parent organization, the Center for Undergradate Research and Fellowhips, can provide funding for independent projects during the summer and academic year and sponsor public events where students can present the results of their research."

Okay so I typed up some of the most important information from the brochure they set. I really need all your opinions!

What would you choose?
(I overlooked Dartmouth, Duke and Berkeley - but yeah, I've gotten into those too.)

Where should I go?
Post edited by chittychittybangbang on

Replies to: Stanford vs. Upenn (Benjamin Franklin Scholars Program)

  • joemamajoemama Registered User Posts: 554 Member
    Unless you're going into a Wharton program, I'd pick Stanford.

    As far as research / fellowship opportunities, Stanford has 3 times the endowment of Penn and encourages ALL students to make proposals and receive grants.

    I'm a little biased; I think Philly is dangerous and butt-ugly.
  • zephyr151zephyr151 Registered User Posts: 1,659 Senior Member
    Okay, here's a simple fact.

    Most of the kids who applied to Penn and Stanford got something like the BFS at Penn. Most of them are going to turn it down and take Stanford. Yes, you'll be a part of an elite society, but that has downsides when it's compared to a campus as a whole.

    Stanford, on the other hand, is effectively ALL BFS-caliber students. The awards aspect is overstated--maybe only 8-10 of those kids get to win any of the major awards, and I'm sure a lot of other kids win it who aren't BFS types--think about your competition from M&T, JF, Huntsman, Vagelos and so on. BFS isn't really all that special when you consider other top students already have distinctions from Penn.

    A program like this is intended to goose the yield rate on good RD applicants, most of whom will turn it down for a better school overall academically.

    Those are my views on awards like these. Unless it offers substantive money, it shouldn't really factor into your decision because it will have little bearing on your actual academic experience.

    You applied to Stanford early and this was your first choice. This isn't a big enough award (no money) to change your decision.
  • veerawudthveerawudth Registered User Posts: 133 Junior Member
    Go for Stanford

    What do you get from being in the BFS program?
    not much. Basically, they just recognize you that you're one of the top students. Nothing much more than that.
  • AshveerAshveer Registered User Posts: 577 Member
    Ew, chitty chitty, I don't know if I like this. It seems like they are basically throwing money at their top top students in the hopes that they do really well and make Upenn's rep. go up. Have you visited Upenn? Have you visited Stanford? Which one did you like best? I get the feeling that you lived on the bottom floor of Ujamaa A over this last summer...Is that correct?

    Fine fine, I want you to be an hour away from me for the next four years.
  • zephyr151zephyr151 Registered User Posts: 1,659 Senior Member
    Penn isn't even throwing money at their BFS types--there's no money involved, it's just a few side benefits.
  • chittychittybangbangchittychittybangbang Registered User Posts: 126 Junior Member
    not a few... A LOT !!
  • joemamajoemama Registered User Posts: 554 Member
    chitty: It's your decision but remember...

    Stanford has 3 times the educational endowment.

    Stanford has a better reputation in virtually all educational fields.

    Stanford is located in the technology capital of the U.S.

    Stanford has a huge, beautiful, safe campus.

    Penn is famous only for its Business program.

    Penn is located in a declining city and in an area known for a high rate of violent crime.
  • zephyr151zephyr151 Registered User Posts: 1,659 Senior Member
    Sponsorship of research, social gatherings, outside grants...

    Those are the kinds of things that Stanford does for all of its students.
  • Shark_biteShark_bite Registered User Posts: 1,561 Senior Member
    Be careful of the advice you get here. This is the Stanford University thread so you are gonna find people who are biased towards Stanford. Use your head, not ours. (Check up on that BFS program, I think it sounds better then most people here are making it out to be.)
  • Quake87Quake87 Registered User Posts: 117 Junior Member
    joemama obviously has no idea what he's talking about...

    philly is by no means a "declining city" whatever the hell that means. It's undergone a renewal in the last decade, and university city does not have a "high rate of violent crime," while other parts of west philly and north philly might.

    Penn is not known only for Wharton...It has excellent programs in the humanities and social sciences.

    I think that Stanford is an awesome school, too, though, with amazing opportunities.

    Chitty, if yo want some perspectives on Penn, you can send me a PM. I can assure you i'll be honest because we penn students are critical of a lot of the aspects of our school, and of philly. But we also love it, so send me a PM to talk if you want.
  • Sam LeeSam Lee Registered User Posts: 9,449 Senior Member
    Well as far as Rhodes scholarships go, I've seen a lot more students from Stanford winning them than those from UPenn. In fact, I haven't seen students from UPenn winning Rhodes that often. I think they might be just hyping it for marketing purpose.
  • joemamajoemama Registered User Posts: 554 Member
    Ivy League College Community Ranking for Risk from Violent Crime
    (from Highest Risk to Lowest Risk)


    University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA

    Columbia University/Barnard College, New York, NY

    Yale University, New Haven, CT

    Brown University, Providence, RI

    Harvard University/Harvard & Radcliffe Colleges, Cambridge, MA

    Cornell University, Ithaca, NY

    Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH

    Princeton University, Princeton, NJ
  • afanafan Registered User Posts: 1,686 Senior Member
    data source?
  • AshveerAshveer Registered User Posts: 577 Member
  • joemamajoemama Registered User Posts: 554 Member
    City in decline:

    Posted on Sun, Apr. 17, 2005
    Tom Ferrick Jr. | Even in decline, city's hopes rise
    By Tom Ferrick Jr.
    Inquirer Columnist

    The best news of the week for Philadelphia - maybe the best news of the year - was release of new census data that showed the city lost nearly 7,000 people in 2004.

    You may wonder: Why is losing population a cause for applause?

    It is not, of course - unless you put the numbers in context. The context being, it's the lowest year-to-year loss in residents in several decades.

    According to census estimates, the city's population totals 1,470,151.

    As my colleague Nathan Gorenstein reported Friday, the latest numbers give hope that Philadelphia's 40-year slide in population may be ending.

    This would be a good thing.

    The best strategy for the long-term health of the city is to minimize population loss and preserve our base of middle-class residents.

    A worst-case scenario would be continued population decline and flight of the middle class.

    That's what happened beginning in earnest in the 1970s. In that decade, Philadelphia lost 260,000 residents - nearly 13 percent of its population.

    In the 1980s, the city lost 102,000 more residents. In the 1990s, we lost about 68,000 residents. So far this decade, the loss totals 47,000.

    The rate of population decline is declining. The number has gone down each year in this decade.

    Why? Take your pick among some or all of these reasons.

    Niche market

    The Street administration credits the glorious achievements of the Street administration - in stabilizing neighborhoods, improving schools, etc.

    Demographers tie population trends to job trends - lose jobs and you lose people and vice versa.

    In 2004, Philadelphia did not lose jobs - there were about 683,000 people employed in the city at the beginning of the year and about 683,000 people employed at the end of the year. (It's another example of no news being good news. Usually, the number of jobs has declined from year to year.)

    Then, we have the real estate boom, which has fueled actual population growth in certain neighborhoods, particularly Center City.

    There also is what I call the Ecclesiastes Factor, as in, To everything there is a season, and this decade may be the season for big cities.

    Paul Levy, the savvy head of the Center City District, likes to point out that the image of cities took a lot of hits in the 1970s. Look at the films of that era: Taxi Driver and Death Wish, to name two.

    Recently, though, city living has taken on a new lustre. Cities are places that people - especially young people - want to be. America is decidedly - and probably for the foreseeable future - a suburban nation. But cities are a thriving niche market.

    The bigger question - and one the new census data cannot answer - is what about the middle class?

    In three parts

    The census gives us one number: a net of 7,000 residents lost. It doesn't tell us how many moved into the city, how many moved out, and the income of the arrivals and departees.

    When it comes to wealth, Philadelphia - like ancient Gaul - est divisa in partes tres.

    About one-third of the families have annual incomes under $25,000. These are the poor. About one-third have incomes over $50,000 a year. These are the middle class. Another third have incomes between $25,000 and $50,000 a year. These are the in-betweens.

    The long-term trend is a decrease in the number of middle class, an increase in the number of poor and the in-betweens.

    (For instance, in 1960, only 17 percent of the city's families were poor and 36 percent were middle class.)

    If this trend continues, the city eventually could reach a point where there are not enough taxpayers - people with assets, income and property - to sustain city services.

    What happens then? Ask Chester. Ask Camden. Ask Pittsburgh.

    The city becomes, in effect, a ward of the state - dependent on state money to operate everyday services.

    That's why the latest census numbers are cause for applause.

    Mild, hopeful, let's-keep-our-fingers-crossed applause.
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