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Princeton or Stanford for CS?

daunt18daunt18 119 replies6 threads Junior Member
I've been admitted SCEA to Princeton and am now basically waiting on MIT, Stanford, and Berkeley. I would drop everything to go to MIT or Cal, but it's the Princeton vs Stanford question I'm conflicted about. I plan to go to grad school eventually.

These are my main pros of each college.
Stanford - Great research if you can get it, in Silicon Valley so more tech opportunities
Princeton - Emphasis on undergrads, beautiful and historic campus

Can someone weigh in with their opinions?
42 replies
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Replies to: Princeton or Stanford for CS?

  • AboutTheSameAboutTheSame 3164 replies47 threads Senior Member
    What does your heart say? Your avatar is interesting.
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  • happy1happy1 23369 replies2314 threads Senior Member
    Until you get into Stanford (which has under a 5% acceptance rate) it is a moot point. Wait until you have all your options (you may get into MIT or Cal) and then decide.

    Congrats on the Princeton acceptance.

    (You put your question under Ivy League but Stanford is not an Ivy League school)
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  • daunt18daunt18 119 replies6 threads Junior Member
    @AboutTheSame Yeah... As soon as I got into Princeton I was so hyped I changed my avatar to what it is now, but I got some time to cool off and now I'm rationally weighing the rest of my options.
    Honestly? My heart says Princeton. I did research at Stanford and wasn't particularly blown away. The problem is a) I haven't visited Princeton b) I don't know if going to Princeton is going to come off as bad when I inevitably apply for tech jobs.
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  • daunt18daunt18 119 replies6 threads Junior Member
    @happy1 Thank you! And that's absolutely true. I'll bother you again when those two decisions come out. 😭
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  • happy1happy1 23369 replies2314 threads Senior Member
    edited February 6
    Good luck with your other decisions.... with the Princeton acceptance in hand you are already in fantastic shape.

    If you have any doubts about where to attend in the end you can try to revisit your top couple of schools during accepted student day. But when the time comes to decide I'd go with your gut as they are all outstanding schools.
    edited February 6
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 80236 replies720 threads Senior Member
    Regarding first job out of college, would you be more interested in Wall Street or a little startup?
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  • PublisherPublisher 9640 replies121 threads Senior Member
    Since you have been accepted to Princeton, the answer at this point is easy.
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  • daunt18daunt18 119 replies6 threads Junior Member
    @ucbalumnus Neither actually. My parents had rough experiences with startups, and I've never been into Wall Street. My dream is either to work at Boston Dynamics (robotics) or at FAANG.
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  • daunt18daunt18 119 replies6 threads Junior Member
    edited February 6
    @Publisher Sorry if I'm being obtuse, but do you mean go with Princeton?
    edited February 6
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  • PublisherPublisher 9640 replies121 threads Senior Member
    Yes, go with Princeton. Stanford's admit rate is so low that it is best to appreciate what you have at this point.

    If you are accepted to other schools, such as MIT or Stanford, then it would be reasonable to discuss your options.

    Congratulations on your acceptance to Princeton !
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  • daunt18daunt18 119 replies6 threads Junior Member
    edited February 6
    @Publisher Understood and thank you! Sage advice, I'll try to not get twisted up over those three now. If I get another acceptance (or more! 🤞) I'll revisit this.
    edited February 6
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  • PublisherPublisher 9640 replies121 threads Senior Member
    Time to enjoy & celebrate ! Congratulations !
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  • sushirittosushiritto 4809 replies18 threads Senior Member
    We visited Princeton and loved it. We live near Stanford and love it. Totally different venues and culture. Both are outstanding choices. Good luck and congrats!

    One last thing, you do realize that 4 of the 5 FAANG stocks are HQ'ed in the vicinity of Stanford.
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  • PublisherPublisher 9640 replies121 threads Senior Member
    edited February 6
    Great article dated April 25, 2017 reflecting a study of employment during 2016 & the first 2 months of 2017.

    The top 25 schools which placed undergraduate & graduate tech workers at Silicon Valleys largest employers are:

    1) UCal-Berkeley
    2) Stanford
    3) Carnegie Mellon Univ.
    4) USC
    5) Univ. of Texas at Austin

    6) Georgia Tech
    7) Illinois
    8) San Jose State
    9) UC-San Diego
    10) Arizona State University

    11) Univ. of Michigan
    12) UCLA
    13) NC State
    14) CalPoly
    15) Cornell

    16) Univ. of Waterloo
    17) Texas A&M
    18) University of Washington
    19) Purdue
    20) MIT

    21) Santa Clara
    22) University of Phoenix
    23) UC-Santa Barbara
    24) UC-Davis
    25) Penn State


    edited February 6
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  • AboutTheSameAboutTheSame 3164 replies47 threads Senior Member
    You really need to visit Princeton. Sample of one, but my daughter [accepted to Dartmouth and Harvard] did not even want to apply after visiting. It has its own vibe, as does Stanford of course, but, as a Cal Bear, I'll be silent on that score. ;-)
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  • Rivet2000Rivet2000 1201 replies3 threads Senior Member
    edited February 6
    The schools on you list have very different cultures, so if you can visit that may help (assuming you get additional acceptances). Our S currently at Stanford CS so I found your assessment of research there interesting. S has been involved in research at one of Stanford's AI labs since his freshman year summer with increasing responsibilities. He's been a contributor to 3 papers published at major AI conferences (with another that was just submitted). As far as internships, he's had 4 (counting this summer that he's already committed to). One was at a FAANG which hires broadly, but the other three were at SV startups (one a unicorn) that hire mostly from area schools. Interestingly, all his internships came about via networking as opposed to the resume upload route.
    edited February 6
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 80236 replies720 threads Senior Member
    daunt18 wrote: »
    My dream is either to work at Boston Dynamics (robotics) or at FAANG.

    FAANG are well known enough that you can apply from anywhere.
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  • daunt18daunt18 119 replies6 threads Junior Member
    edited February 6
    @AboutTheSame
    You really need to visit Princeton. Sample of one, but my daughter [accepted to Dartmouth and Harvard] did not even want to apply after visiting. It has its own vibe, as does Stanford of course, but, as a Cal Bear, I'll be silent on that score. ;-)
    Would you tell me what you and your daughter found displeasing about Princeton? I'll try to visit, but I don't know if I'll be able to (cost concerns) and I'd love to know what you thought. Also, as a Cal Bear, I assume your impression of Stanford is less than stellar. Biases aside, was there anything specific you didn't like?
    edited February 6
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