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Stanford is now better & more selective than Princeton?

JamesVancJamesVanc Registered User Posts: 36 Junior Member
Do you think Stanford has now become more prestigious than Princeton ?

Replies to: Stanford is now better & more selective than Princeton?

  • prezbuckyprezbucky Registered User Posts: 4,299 Senior Member
    edited April 2017
    Not for undergrad. Princeton is the most undergrad-focused of the HYPSM group, it is the richest per student, it has loads of historical significance, it is arguably the most immaculate campus (certainly among them), it is outstanding academically and known for direct prof-student interaction.

    So no, among people who know what really makes for a great undergraduate experience, Stanford has not overtaken Princeton.

    Stanford is the only HYPSM member in California. California is a popular destination for college these days. That is probably a large reason why it gets more apps than Princeton: far less regional competition. More apps (per space) means a lower admit rate. But Princeton's average test scores are higher. (for what it's worth...)
  • sushirittosushiritto Registered User Posts: 2,390 Senior Member
    To answer the OP's question, yes.
  • TiggerDadTiggerDad Registered User Posts: 1,751 Senior Member
    How do you measure "prestigious"? Selectivity? But that could be a byproduct of popularity, which is not the same as prestige.
  • JamesVancJamesVanc Registered User Posts: 36 Junior Member
    If you get admitted both Stanford and Princeton, which one would you go ?
  • prezbuckyprezbucky Registered User Posts: 4,299 Senior Member
    edited April 2017
    It would have been Princeton for me, but if I had been into CS, probably Stanford. Stanford CS certainly is more revered.

    I just think when it comes to universities, there's no better place to be an undergraduate than Princeton, as long as you don't require an urban environment.

    (I would put Dartmouth and Brown up there too for their strong undergrad focus... something most kids don't consider... though obviously other fit variables can intervene and outweigh the "undergrad focus" bonus points...)
  • TiggerDadTiggerDad Registered User Posts: 1,751 Senior Member
    You choose based on which of these two is a better fit for you in terms of what you intend to study, whether you prefer the school that focuses more on undergrad education or larger educational settings, what kind of opportunities there are for you, both educational, professional and social, do you prefer the east coast culture or the sunny CA.,etc. Having said that, I'd choose Princeton based on the needs rather than on prestige.
  • sushirittosushiritto Registered User Posts: 2,390 Senior Member
    Stanford is in the middle of Silicon Valley and VC money. Google, Apple, Facebook, Electonic Arts, Oracle, Snap, etc. are all right nearby. If it matters, their overall mens and womens sports program is the best in the country. And the weather is beautiful.
  • sherpasherpa Registered User Posts: 4,675 Senior Member
    If you get admitted both Stanford and Princeton, which one would you go ?
    Congratulations if this is the position you're in, but nobody else can answer that question for you.
  • Penn95Penn95 Registered User Posts: 2,320 Senior Member
    edited April 2017
    Yes I think Stanford is more prestigious than Princeton (and Yale). Some of the reasons why I think that: Stanford is ranked top/near the top in pretty much all fields, it is in the top 3-4 in almost every international ranking, is extremely desirable by college applicants (huge number of applications) and also its yield rate (admits who choose to enroll) is quite higher than Princeton or Yale's (82% vs 69%- 70%). Along with Harvard it also comes on top in terms of fundraising every year. It has the biggest number of nobel laureate for this century as well as the biggest number of successful entrepreneurs. Stanford is in the heart of Silicon Valley, which is the future.
    I would put Stanford neck and neck with Harvard for the top spot, ahead of Princeton and Yale. But I will not be surprised if in the next few decades Stanford even surpasses Harvard in terms of prestige.
    Also just an interesting trend I have noticed, in the past when there would be articles about elite schools they two prime examples that would be almost always mentioned were Harvard, Yale. Nowadays Harvard, Stanford are more often mentioned in that context.

    I would personally would choose Stanford over Princeton mainly because I find the culture and environment more attractive. At this level fit is more important than prestige/strength differences.

  • Muad_dibMuad_dib Registered User Posts: 863 Member
    The difference between Stanford and Princeton, in terms of prestige and academic excellence, is a case study in hair splitting.
  • prezbuckyprezbucky Registered User Posts: 4,299 Senior Member
    edited April 2017
    ...and it also depends on which level we're talking about.

    Stanford has a med school, a law school and a business school; Princeton lacks all of those. So at the grad/PhD level overall, Stanford is better because they offer ore. That is reflected in the international "whole school" rankings.

    But what Princeton does offer is great, whether it's at the undergrad or grad/PhD level.

    And as I stated earlier, if you are an undergrad, you can choose a school that is about two-thirds undergrad -- and thus relatively more dedicated to them -- or one that is less than 50% undergrad, and relatively less so. That undergrad focus -- and maybe that is why so many Princeton grads donate to the school -- is part of the reason why Princeton is #1 in USNews for undergrad.

    It's Einstein vs. Steve Jobs. Pick your vibe. But at the undergrad level, unless you want to go into CS or some Eng programs, Princeton is at least as good as Stanford academically, and it will provide a more undergrad-focused experience.
  • srlillysrlilly Registered User Posts: 32 Junior Member
    @JamesVanc I posted a version of this on another forum: Last year, my daughter was struggling to decide between Princeton and Stanford. She was/is interested in the humanities, history and languages in particular. Both schools have phenomenal departments in those areas. She visited both for their admitted student days. For her, it came down to a "gut feeling" that the better fit was Princeton. She's never looked back and is very happy there. I think Princeton's campus size (much smaller), emphasis on undergraduate students, digging deeper on course selections within departments of interest and more comfort with the East Coast vibe sealed the deal. She's also a classical liberal in that freedom of scholarly expression is very important to her and Princeton's collegial culture seemed to support this. As you can see, the notion of "fit" is very subjective and what she liked, others may not.

    Regarding your question as to whether Stanford is "now better or more prestigious" I would argue "absolutely not" and "yes." What I mean is that I think one would be hard pressed to find a school as generous and supportive as Princeton is toward its undergraduates. Every professor at Princeton has to teach undergrads. Princeton students are so fortunate to have ready access to their professors and the discussions and research opportunities that go along with that. However, ask most high school students today which school they'd pick between Stanford and Princeton? I'd bet most would say Stanford. It's in sunny California and has the tech/hipster vibe. I like what @prezbucky said above: it's Einstein vs Steve Jobs. Very succinct and accurate!
  • ChouTeamChouTeam Registered User Posts: 12 New Member
    It's meaningless and impossible to measure.

    If anyone is trying to base their decision on which very top school to attend based on what random internet people think of relative prestige then they're doing it wrong. And being in Silicon Valley might not be a selling point for someone not interested in all that (IE most students).

    Look at how the programs are structured. What differences are there overall? Any difference in offerings/requirements for the majors you're interested in? Is location important and which do you prefer? What about cost? Have you visited each?
  • foosondaughterfoosondaughter Registered User Posts: 310 Member
    inanity [ih-nan-i-tee]
    1. lack of sense, significance, or ideas; silliness.
    2. something inane.
    3. shallowness; superficiality.
  • TiggerDadTiggerDad Registered User Posts: 1,751 Senior Member
    My own personal ulterior preference as a parent whose son is heading to Princeton is that ALL prestige-seeking students get directed to Stanford right away, so my son's classes are more filled with students whose priority is passion for learning and getting a great quality undergrad education.

    Kidding aside, there IS a very good reason why Princeton has been consistently #1 in the annual USNWR undergrad ranking. Its methodological indicators measure the quality of the undergrad experience, such as "Graduation and Retention Rates," "Faculty Resources," "Financial Resources," "Alumni Giving Rate," etc. that Princeton scores the highest of any peer colleges. Another thing that most college bound students unfortunately don't consider is the reality that greater the undergrad education, the better their chances at top grad or professional schools. It'd be wise to ask, "which college sends greater percentage of students to top grad or professional schools?" rather than "which college is more "prestigious?"
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