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SCEA Admit, Should I apply anywhere else?

Bottom2BostonBottom2Boston 17 replies13 threads Junior Member
Hi,
To preface my question, please ignore my username in your advice. I just logged into my account for the first time in 4 years. Thanks :)

I got into Princeton SCEA. It's been 2 months and I'm still over the moon and grateful beyond belief about it, especially with the incredibly generous full financial aid. Princeton was my top choice going into this process. My only question now is if its worth keeping my applications to Stanford, Yale, and MIT in. I didn't apply to Harvard because it always felt a bit off to me, but I can honestly see myself at any of these other 3 schools. The only reason why I haven't canceled my applications and committed yet is because of a lingering fear: graduate school admissions.

I am positive that I want to attend graduate school. When I was initially researching colleges, I was constantly told how Princeton focuses on and pushes its undergraduates the hardest, which I was very attracted to. I wanted to leave as an undergrad with a feeling that I am a person with a real-deal, no-fluff type of work ethic and fundamentals, and not think I finessed the system like I feel like coming out of highschool. I even got to visit Princeton one weekend on a program, and every moment there felt like a dream.

But the caveat that I didn't realize was that everywhere I look, it shows that graduates also do the worst in graduate school placement and admissions, especially in regards to professional schools. I assume that this is due to the understandably lower GPAs and also because of its smaller student body. However, this one aspect is making me significantly second guess my gut feeling on Princeton, especially when Stanford and Yale do noticeably better in these areas.

(Also, unrelated but I'm not gonna sugar coat it, the cross admit rates and seemingly slightly lower name brand aren't really doing me any favors.)

In regards to my major, I'm not really sure. I believe I would go in attempting to do ORFE with a certificate from the Woody Woo school.

Are these even valid concerns? What am I missing? My heart is telling me to just commit, but my mind can't help but look at the data and try to find somewhere else. I'd really appreciate some advice or guidance from alumni, current students, or honestly just anyone with some two-cents on this. It would be really appreciated.

Thank you!!
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Replies to: SCEA Admit, Should I apply anywhere else?

  • highschooldad1highschooldad1 39 replies0 threads Junior Member
    edited January 28
    If I were you, I would commit since your heart is on it. That way, you will start seeing yourself at Princeton and start planning your next four years. Hard to beat OREF for banking jobs.
    edited January 28
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  • politepersonpoliteperson 424 replies4 threads Member
    No rush in committing if you want to wait and go to admitted student days. But Princeton students do perfectly fine with grad schools (and Supreme Court appointments). It’s true that getting a high GPA can be a challenge in some fields. Engineering and natural sciences tend to have lower GPAs on average than humanities and social sciences. If that’s a big concern, you could consider a BA in Econ or woody woo along with a certificate related to ORFE. You’ll figure it out, might not be an issue if the BSE prerequisites come easily to you. I’d go where you feel comfortable
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  • TigerInWinterTigerInWinter 18 replies0 threads Junior Member
    You have until May 1 to commit. If you have any doubts, hold off--there aren't any practical advantages to saying yes to Princeton right now (the housing process for entering students, for example, doesn't start until June). Also, try to go to one of the admitted students events in February and April -- talking to some folks at Princeton in person might address your concerns.
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  • 1NJParent1NJParent 1556 replies35 threads Senior Member
    If you want to work in finance after you graduate, Stanford isn't it. MIT may be better in some areas, but if easier grading is what you're after, MIT isn't it either. Yale also isn't a good choice if quantitative finance, not generic investment banking, is your goal. Princeton seems like the best choice for what you want to do.
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  • CupCakeMuffinsCupCakeMuffins 993 replies95 threads Senior Member
    edited January 29
    Early admission to your first choice with plenty of financial aid should mean peace of mind, not buyer’s remorse. Just commit and move on to next phase. Having lots of good choices without worrying about affordability can overwhelm anyone. None of these schools are perfect yet all are awesome, you’ll have some level of regret no matter which one you’ll pick, grass usually looks greener on other side.

    However, if you rather wait and compare then do that, ignore compulsion to commit as your second thoughts could be a reflection that it’s not really your top choice. GPA deflation can be a disadvantage. Which professional school are you aiming for?
    edited January 29
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  • mara15mara15 22 replies0 threads Junior Member
    My DD is a freshman at Princeton. She is also a hard worker and concentrating on languages , creative writing and woody woo. She is having an amazing time and the amount of personal attention from professors is amazing. Princeton is truly the best for undergrads. Joyce Carrol Oats works with her on her creative writing. Go with your gut. I am sure you will be successful!
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  • Bottom2BostonBottom2Boston 17 replies13 threads Junior Member
    I believe I want to attend an M7 business school a few years after graduation, but of course that’s a long ways away and it’s mainly based on advice I’ve heard. I also would like to pursue either an MFin or MEng depending on what I end up enjoying more and pursuing in college. I would really just like to keep doors open for higher education, and I fear that the possibly lower GPA I receive from engineering might make this harder.
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  • Bottom2BostonBottom2Boston 17 replies13 threads Junior Member
    Wow! That’s amazing! I keep hearing it’s the best for undergrads, but I was kind of curious if you could explain what that specifically means. I’ve heard from some that professors care more and are better and more focused at teaching at Princeton, but then I hear from students(like in the Princeton Confessions video) that the professors really aren’t all that amazing to learn from. And then I hear of student teacher ratios of 1:6, but then am told from students that most of their classes have 30-50 people with intro classes sometimes having hundreds. I guess I’m just kinda confused what actually separates Princeton in their undergrad experience, but maybe it’s something that’s not quantifiable or explainable.

    Also, I know it’s a weird question, but it’s been kinda nagging at me. Why does a better undergraduate education matter? Don’t get me wrong. I really want to learn in college, but people keep telling me everything you learn in college classes is pretty much useless and forgettable anyway. So if it also means a lower gpa, is the better education worth it?
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  • TigerInWinterTigerInWinter 18 replies0 threads Junior Member
    I guess I’m just kinda confused what actually separates Princeton in their undergrad experience, but maybe it’s something that’s not quantifiable or explainable.

    You're right that most classes at Princeton will be fairly large, at least during the first year or two, when a student's schedule includes a lot of intro classes. Where Princeton differs from some of the other highly ranked schools you're considering is that Princeton requires a senior thesis (as well as junior-year independent work), and that the ratio of undergraduates to grad students is higher (because Princeton's grad college is small). So at least in theory, you have more close contact with faculty. (Of course, YMMV, and certainly lots of students at peer universities get the opportunity to work closely with their professors..)


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  • mara15mara15 22 replies0 threads Junior Member
    The reason Princeton professors have more of an undergrad focus is the fact that there is no law school or med school (unlike most other ivys) Any a TINE grad school of around 1,000. This means the professors energy, support and office hours tend to be undergrad focused. My daughter has also not had a TA teaching any courses.

    My daughter has gotten all A's in her first semester. So I wouldn't assume grade deflation will be a problem.She is very organized and focused. She also enjoys her courses and the other students in them. Some of her courses are only about 8-10 students and a few around 20-30.

    After watching 2 of my children navigate college choices I can tell you that you will continue to have doubts until you pull the trigger, Once you decide its a done deal the pressure of choosing is over and you can embrace your journey.

    Best of Luck!
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  • CupCakeMuffinsCupCakeMuffins 993 replies95 threads Senior Member
    edited January 29

    Also, I know it’s a weird question, but it’s been kinda nagging at me. Why does a better undergraduate education matter? Don’t get me wrong. I really want to learn in college, but people keep telling me everything you learn in college classes is pretty much useless and forgettable anyway. So if it also means a lower gpa, is the better education worth it?

    Good education is what’s left even after you forget details of your curriculum, it gives you skills to learn, to think, to analyze, to explore, to express yourself and to interact with others.
    edited January 29
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  • CupCakeMuffinsCupCakeMuffins 993 replies95 threads Senior Member
    edited January 29
    I believe I want to attend an M7 business school a few years after graduation, but of course that’s a long ways away and it’s mainly based on advice I’ve heard. I also would like to pursue either an MFin or MEng depending on what I end up enjoying more and pursuing in college. I would really just like to keep doors open for higher education, and I fear that the possibly lower GPA I receive from engineering might make this harder.

    Do some research or post a thread to find out which
    similar level school offers grade inflation and higher acceptance rates to top graduate and professional schools? If you get in there with similar financial aid then you can go there if it looks like a safer path for your higher education plans.
    edited January 29
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  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse 29925 replies59 threads Senior Member
    You certainly have the right to retain your eligibility in the application process with your other schools and see what options are available to you at the end of the season.
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  • BoondocksBoondocks 288 replies37 threads Member
    There's nothing wrong with waiting if you have any doubts. You risk nothing.

    However, you may drive yourself nuts obsessing and worrying about where you're going to college when you already have a pretty good option in front of you. You could simply commit to Princeton and move on with your life. And have some fun with your senior year.

    In my opinion, trying to research whether attending Harvard, Yale, MIT or Princeton will give you the best chance at getting into a top MBA program is a good way to ruin the rest of your senior year. You really won't be able to find out the answer to this question, because the full information isn't fully released. Even if you discover that an MBA program accepts 11% of Yale grads and 8% of Princeton grads, you will have no idea whether the caliber of those Princeton and those Yale grads was the same - the schools won't let you review their applications, and unless you can, the admission percentage data is meaningless. Bear in mind that these applicants all worked at jobs before applying to business school, and the jobs and their job performance also figured prominently in the admissions criteria.

    Another caveat: you have career goals and probable majors selected. A college admissions officer told me that 70% of college students nationally change their majors. Another at a top 25 school told me that they pay no attention to the major chosen, because the students so often change majors. Many students have their career picked out in their senior year in high school. You'll find that most will not be in that previously chosen career ten years later (and many will have already changed careers at least once, five years after college graduation).

    I started out writing magazine articles after college, was quite successful, wrote for numerous prominent magazines back when there were magazines, decided I hated it after a couple years, and quit. A couple careers later, I'm a business consultant. No one would have believed that the guy who, seated at the head table at a banquet filled with writers and photographers, wore a 3-piece suit and no shirt (yes, he was being a clown) would be a Congressman today, even him.

    I would recommend that you not choose the college based on which one will give you the best chance at getting into an M7 business school. All of the four schools on your list will give you a chance at getting into one of these, and the one that will will most likely be the one that you fit into the best.

    If you want to consider other schools, try to figure out which one you'll like to attend the best. For visits, this is up to you and your financial resources, but I wouldn't spend any money investigating those other schools until you've been accepted, because any or all could accept you or reject you.

    Best of luck - it's nice to know that you have one school under your belt that has accepted you and given you a solid financial aid offer.
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  • Bottom2BostonBottom2Boston 17 replies13 threads Junior Member
    Thank you very much for your advice on this. I guess you’re right, it might be best to just shut up, enjoy my senior year, and make the best of it wherever I go.
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  • sgopal2sgopal2 3586 replies49 threads Senior Member
    I'll offer a different perspective. There are a few grad programs which are highly dependent upon GPA and standardized test scores: Law and Medicine. If you are interested in either of these, then going to a grade deflating school will certainly not help.

    Now I know the deflationary policies at Princeton have improved in recent times, but I still have heard some grumblings. Now you might have some admissions committee members who are familiar with Princeton's grading, but for the large portion, expect no extra points. They do understand that overall GPAs from engineers/hard sciences are lower than other majors.

    It sounds like you are interested in MBA in the future. In this case, your work experience and GMAT score will matter much more. Your GPA will be looked at, but not to the same level of scrutiny.

    If during RD round you are accepted into a college that has inflationary practices (ie Harvard, Columbia, Yale, etc) then you'll face a difficult decision. Its a choice that many would love to have.
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  • TiggerDadTiggerDad 2064 replies73 threads Senior Member
    I am positive that I want to attend graduate school. When I was initially researching colleges, I was constantly told how Princeton focuses on and pushes its undergraduates the hardest, which I was very attracted to. I wanted to leave as an undergrad with a feeling that I am a person with a real-deal, no-fluff type of work ethic and fundamentals, and not think I finessed the system like I feel like coming out of highschool. I even got to visit Princeton one weekend on a program, and every moment there felt like a dream.

    Having a pre-med son at Princeton ('22), I know that Princeton is academically tough and challenging. Although Princeton has done away with the grade deflation policy in 2014 and has seen a glimmer of improvement in the average GPA since, it's still far from some of its peers. However, as long as you have the right attitude toward self-discipline and hard work ethics, you should do just fine. By Princeton's standard, I considered my son academically mediocre going in, but he's doing just fine with a very strong work ethics.
    But the caveat that I didn't realize was that everywhere I look, it shows that graduates also do the worst in graduate school placement and admissions, especially in regards to professional schools. I assume that this is due to the understandably lower GPAs and also because of its smaller student body. However, this one aspect is making me significantly second guess my gut feeling on Princeton, especially when Stanford and Yale do noticeably better in these areas.

    Never heard of this before. Care to provide the source of this info? You do realize that Princeton doesn't have the trio of professional schools -- law, medicine and business -- unlike Princeton's closest peer institutions? These professional schools tend to pick their own undergrads, so often they constitute a class plurality each year at their respective schools. The Harvard Medical School, for example, has a large percentage of students from its own college, and likewise with Yale. One source I had a chance to look at (no longer have it with me), the average GPA of those admitted to the Harvard Medical School, students from Harvard College had a lower GPA compared to those from other colleges, clearly evidencing tribal favoritism.

    You also have to remember that Princeton, compared to its closest peers, also has the lowest number of graduating class each year; for example, compare Stanford's 1700 to Princeton's 1340, approximately, and roughly likewise with Harvard.

    In spite of all these at play, Princeton seems to be doing just fine in any given professional fields. If you're interested in concentrating in ORFE, you'd be in the right place, as Princeton provides a strong pipeline to the Wall Street nearby.
    (Also, unrelated but I'm not gonna sugar coat it, the cross admit rates and seemingly slightly lower name brand aren't really doing me any favors.)

    One very possible reason that Princeton doesn't win the cross admit rates to H-Y-S is precisely because of students like you with a professional school in mind as a career and the anxiety the grade deflation produces. That's reasonable and perfectly understandable, but it certainly doesn't translate into anything silly like "slightly lower name brand."

    Princeton is a niche school with the mission of providing and focusing primarily on undergrad education. The fact that it has no "glamorous" professional schools (where the "name brand" gets largely manufactured) wasn't an oversight by the overseers in the history of its institution. It was an institutional philosophy and intention, for which reason why we were so drawn to Princeton when we were researching colleges for my son's application list. Even Princeton's motto reflects what we truly love about the school: "Princeton in the nation's service and the service of humanity." For those students who want to enter Princeton as a way to become fabulously rich and for self-aggrandizement, I'd be happy to see Princeton continuing to lose in the cross admit race.
    Are these even valid concerns? What am I missing? My heart is telling me to just commit, but my mind can't help but look at the data and try to find somewhere else.

    It's my understanding that your applications to other schools were already submitted? Then, you're done with the college application process and just enjoy your senior year. There's no reason to commit to Princeton now, is there, unless you want to vacate your spot at Stanford, Yale and MIT in the interest of creating one less waiting list should you be admitted to any of them?
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  • PublisherPublisher 9474 replies117 threads Senior Member
    Another factor with respect to Princeton & grad school admissions may be due to burnout as Princeton demands a lot of its undergraduates.

    After reading through this thread, my suggestion is to wait for the decisions from Stanford, Yale, and MIT. If rejected by all, then your college destination is clear.
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  • PublisherPublisher 9474 replies117 threads Senior Member
    With respect to your future plans to attend an M-7 MBA program, you do not need to worry about grade deflation at Princeton. Your post undergraduate work experience and your GMAT score will be more important in the admissions process assuming that your undergraduate GPA exceeds 3.40.

    The most recent M-7 admit rates are:

    Stanford GBS--6.7%
    MIT--Sloan--11.5%
    Harvard--12%

    Columbia Business School--19.1%
    UPenn--Wharton--22%
    Chicago--Booth--22.5%
    Northwestern--Kellogg--26%

    Based on your SCEA acceptance to Princeton University for undergraduate school, you should be able to be a very competitive applicant for most M-7 MBA programs.
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  • Bottom2BostonBottom2Boston 17 replies13 threads Junior Member
    Thank you everyone for the guidance. It means a lot. I will keep my applications in with other schools, and depending on if I happen to get in somewhere else, I’ll be able to make a more specific post with more informed comparisons. Thanks again!😊
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