Welcome to College Confidential!

The leading college-bound community on the web

Sign Up For Free

Join for FREE, and start talking with other members, weighing in on community discussions, and more.

Also, by registering and logging in you'll see fewer ads and pesky welcome messages (like this one!)

As a CC member, you can:

  • Reply to threads, and start your own.
  • Post reviews of your campus visits.
  • Find hundreds of pages of informative articles.
  • Search from over 3 million scholarships.

Emory/Duke/NU/Rice/Tufts/Vanderbilt/WUSTL

HeartlandMomHeartlandMom Registered User Posts: 9 New Member
edited February 2012 in Emory University
Emory and several other mid-size private schools seem fairly similar:

Duke
Emory
Northwestern
Rice
Tufts
Vanderbilt
Washington U. in St. Louis

Obviously, the locations differ and some of the schools are more heavily into sports, etc., but other than those obvious differences, they all seem so similar!

I'm curious whether anyone has any thoughts about how the personalities of these schools differ? How do the personalities of the student bodies differ? Which schools have high-pressure academic atmospheres? Which schools have the happiest campuses? Which schools have the most interesting and accessible professors?
Post edited by HeartlandMom on

Replies to: Emory/Duke/NU/Rice/Tufts/Vanderbilt/WUSTL

  • MBJMBJ Registered User Posts: 706 Member
    "Happpiest campuses" ?? The only real way to get insight...visit as many as possible. Academically, all in the same ball park. Issues like city vs. suburb location, north vs south, sports team, etc...are all a matter of personal preference. Unless you are thinking about applying via ED, maybe apply to all of them.
  • NorCalDadNorCalDad Registered User Posts: 753 Member
    HeartlandMom,

    I concur with MBJ in that much of your daughter’s decision may boil down to personal preferences. These personal preferences may include: U.S. region; climate; athletic programs (i.e., Duke, NU, Rice and Vanderbilt have Division I sports); urban/suburban/rural; etc.

    By and large, for each of the schools you mention, I would think it would be easy to gain access to professors. At Emory, the vast majority of classes are taught by professors, and with a 7:1 professor/student ratio, it should not be difficult to meet with professors. As well, all of the schools on your list have impressive student resources available.

    Without a doubt, there are some differences with the student body make-up to these schools, especially in regional students. At Emory, the largest group of enrolling freshmen come from the South (38%), followed by Mid-Atlantic (20%). There are fewer students from the West Coast (8%). Each region brings a certain “personality” to the mix. (I know of some California students who went East to school and weren’t able to adjust to the new environment, but then came back to California and feel entirely at “home”.) In general, the Emory student population appears diverse, especially when you factor in scores of foreign countries represented. (See this link for Class Profile: Class Profile

    About “happiest” as a factor, it can be viewed in the same way one would consider macroeconomics vs. microeconomics – i.e., “happy” as in general campus vs. “happy” as in individual student. I think this is an important factor that some students and parents may overlook. To best evaluate what kind of campus/school would engender “happiness” in a student, begin with the student and assess his/her personality, the amount of structure (or non-structure) desired, the importance of “school spirit” (often related to athletic teams), liberal vs. conservative, Greek activity level, perhaps ethnic diversity factors, etc.

    On a “micro” level, the “happiness” factor may be affected by ease of transition to the school, making friends, ability to easily engage with other students and professors, residential life on campus, dining hall food, roommates, etc. Each student is different in his/her needs and wants, as well as different in the ease by which s/he creates a productive, comfortable existence. The transition can be easy for some students and painfully difficult for others. Do a search for “Harlan Cohen” to get more insight into these issues.

    If I were to take a subjective stab at evaluating Emory's "personality", I would say that it is academically intense, but not too intense. Some students might say it's a "work hard/play hard" type of school. Academic fervor is an open, somewhat collaborative endeavor for many. The academic strengths make up for Emory's lack of high-profile athletic programs that might engender "school spirit", which some at Emory might consider to be lacking. (Although Emory has considerable breadth in its academic offerings, it is especially strong in its pre-med and undergraduate business programs. On the other hand, it has no Engineering department.) Emory is much more diverse a campus than most schools. The number of international students is signficant, and their presence can be felt on campus (especially with Korean students, who have visible social organizations at Emory). Greek life is active, with about 30% of students in fraternities/sororities. Atlanta is a cosmopolitan city that is unlike much of the rural South and serves as a regional hub for the Southeast. Its resources as an urban center is notable. Beyond Atlanta, there's a considerable "global" perspective that Emory supports. Evidence of this might come by observing the number of global video-conferences that occur at the Cox Computing Center each week. Or by Emory's installation of His Holiness the Dalai Lama as a Presidential Distinguished Professor at Emory as the most recent outgrowth of the Emory-Tibet Partnership.

    The only thing that is certain in making evaluations of these schools' "personalities" is that each of us is different, and what may be a positive factor for one person may be a negative for another. Know yourself; know what you want; and be true to yourself.
  • UCBChemEGradUCBChemEGrad Registered User Posts: 10,277 Senior Member
    You should re-post this question in the "College Search & Selection" forum to solicit more opinions.
  • itsme12itsme12 Registered User Posts: 35 Junior Member
    here is my perspective (HS senior accepted early to Rice). But i applied to Emory and considered the other schools.

    The only two i have actually visited are Rice and Emory so take my other recs towards other schools lightly. First, I really really enjoyed Emory when i visited. There was so much vibrant life in the campus and a lot of diversity. However, looking back, even though there was so many different types of people, most still hung out with those within their own race much like high school (or at least mine). Whereas at Rice there is a lot of social interaction between races as well as social classes.

    Heres my view on Rice. Sure there's likely to be some competition at every elite school (how would students challenge themselves otherwise?), but at Rice there is more of a collaborative spirit. People help each other and compete against themselves. The one unique feature that Rice has is its Residential college system (which none of the other schools you mentioned has). Its similar to the Harry Potter houses and students get randomly placed into a college (thats what they're called). Most people who go to Rice believe that is the feature which helps make the school what it is. Its like your own family within the University and you develop extremely tight bonds to these people. But everyone is very open and friendly even with others of different, even rival, colleges. That was one of the main reasons why I chose to apply to Rice (and I'm from the NE). O yeah, Rice's 5-1 student-faculty ratio is also a plus. But like at any school, there will also be accessible profs as well as inaccessible ones.

    Both Rice and Emory are beautiful. so you cant go wrong there. I believe most of the colleges you mentioned have great looking campuses, tho I'm biased towards Rice. I also looked at many colleges (including all the Ivies) and ultimately Rice won out. But everything depends on you S/D's preferences. These are just my thoughts...
  • ghayes13ghayes13 Registered User Posts: 3 New Member
    As an alum of both Rice (undergrad and grad) and Emory (law) I can tell you that both are fantastic schools with a relaxed atmosphere but great academic rigor. For the total undergrad experience (and value) you absolutely cannot beat Rice. The college system, D I athletics, collegiality, low student-professor ratio, abundance of extracurricular activites, etc. make Rice an AMAZING place to go to school.
  • citylife873citylife873 Registered User Posts: 131 Junior Member
    Duke and WashU are probably the hardest academically. Vanderbilt is known for being Southern in culture and having good looking girls. Duke is known to have a lot of really wealthy kids. Tufts is a step down from the other schools but Boston is a great college town.
  • bernie12bernie12 Registered User Posts: 5,293 Senior Member
    I don't think Duke is that hard academically. My friend goes and basically says it's about the same as here, plus, like us, they have a nice grade inflation. WashU is probably a little more intense, but not enough to see the difference if one attended. They have a nice grade inflation too. I do expect Northwestern to be tough (especially, if you are a science) despite any inflation, due to the quarter system. Emory and Tufts probably have the most unique campuses. The others have very stereotypical architecture (Vandy lots of Georgian, Duke, WashU, and Rice gothic). Just go visit these schools. I'd imagine all of them are good. All can use improvement, but they are by and large excellent. I would roll with the atmosphere factor. Also, no offense, but how does one get a feel of the collaborative environment of a campus when one visits? This is difficult to detect unless one stays a day or completely tours academic facilities where group work may be facilitated. Also, the accusations of self-segregation at Emory are overblown I think. This probably occurs at every other college, but is more noticeable here because we are more diverse than most, if not all of our peers. As for competition against others being used to challenge oneself, I disagree. One should compete against one's own perceived abilities. Only harsh curves facilitate such competition, and there aren't too many of those in college. You either get a good score or you don't. Don't worry about how high your score is compared to everyone else's (especially if it isn't that good), this can lead to one settling for mediocrity versus pre-set standards simply b/c "it's better than most".
  • college1992college1992 Registered User Posts: 33 Junior Member
    I've actually visited most of these schools in my search... here's my feel. Haven't been to WashU. All are similar academically, though you should look into your specific major.

    Liberal (politically)- Emory, Tufts, Duke, NW
    Conservative- Rice and Vandy

    Feel of campus- casual- Tufts, NW, and Vandy
    Elegant- Emory
    Stuffy- Duke, Rice

    Happiness- hard to gauge. I'd say happiest- Vandy, Tufts, Emory
    Stressed out- NW, RIce, Duke. I hear WashU is the same way.
  • classclownclassclown Registered User Posts: 298 Junior Member
    I think I recall seeing a poll or ranking list and Tufts was listed as #16 in the country as having the happiest students. I wish I could recall where I saw this....These are all excellent schools and you can't go wrong with any of them. I have only seen about 1/2 of the campuses that you mention and Tufts had the nicest campus..and it's in Boston. Pretty hard to beat the location.
  • emorydeacemorydeac Registered User Posts: 114 Junior Member
    ^^I believe you are referencing this article:

    College Rankings 2011: Happiest Schools - The Daily Beast

    Note Rice at 3 and Emory at 9
This discussion has been closed.