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University Scholars Program at Duke vs. Stanford

LaleAnLaleAn Registered User Posts: 44 Junior Member
edited August 2013 in Stanford University
Hi all,

I am currently trying to decide between Duke and Stanford, which are both great schools but I'm trying to pinpoint which one might be the best fit for me. I'm planning to double major in English and Math (or Psychology -I will decide which one I'll choose when I take classes on both).

I've got accepted at the University Scholars Program at Duke, which is a super-selective prestigious program and will provide me with a full ride and financial support for research projects and summer activities etc. On the other hand, Stanford also gave me a full ride yet it doesn't offer any merit scholarship programs such as the one at Duke.

My own criteria regarding colleges are a socially and academically stimulating environment, great school spirit, a beautiful campus life where I can sense the feel of being a community (instead of being individuals detached from each other), and a diverse and open-minded student body. I know that these are very general, and although they helped me eliminate other colleges I'd been admitted to, they are not very useful when deciding between Duke and Stanford.

Right from the beginning of high school, Stanford has been my dream school, yet the fact that I can't give up Duke is due to the merit scholarship program it offers.

What do you guys think?
I need to make my decision in a couple of days! So I'd appreciate any help :)
Post edited by LaleAn on

Replies to: University Scholars Program at Duke vs. Stanford

  • hillary21hillary21 Registered User Posts: 59 Junior Member
    Stanford does not offer merit scholarship because everybody who makes it there is meritorious. Besides, I may even go as far as saying that any merit scholarship program there is anywhere else is a given at Stanford. Also, Stanford has all the criteria you are looking for - and so much, much more. Good luck on your decision.
  • LaleAnLaleAn Registered User Posts: 44 Junior Member
    Thank you! Then I would have no problem planning my research projects as an undergrad and receiving support from the University?

    Any other comments?
  • collegedad2013collegedad2013 - Posts: 241 Junior Member
    They are very different schools.
    I wouldn't ever say that you would have no problem with planning and getting support for research - you have to have a good topic, develop a relationship with a prof, understand that other students want to do that too, and sometimes have a bit of luck or good timing.
    Look at the departments and figure out where you would rather do research.
  • jordan2jordan2 Registered User Posts: 6 New Member
    Do you live in east (NC?)/ west coast? Have you had the chance to visit those campuses?
  • jordan2jordan2 Registered User Posts: 6 New Member
    BTW Congratulations on the University Scholars Program! I've heard of this program many times and I know that it is no small feat! The people who get into this scholars program are really special. The program could be an advantage to you because it does "distinguish" you on campus from the regular Duke students. I'm assuming that you'll get more research choices and the opportunities to collaborate w/ professors, etc. At Stanford, it may be more difficult for you to have an equal amount of advantage for research. I'm not saying that there aren't any opportunities at Stanford, but just that it may be more difficult. Everyone at Stanford wants to research, so it'll be harder for you to 'shine.' (If the University Scholars program also means that you get support to do research projects and summer activities, I think it will definitely be that extra dose of "advantage" , especially as an undergraduate. Grad schools/ jobs will highly consider your selection into Scholars program, if you state ex: "Duke University-- University Scholar")
  • LaleAnLaleAn Registered User Posts: 44 Junior Member
    Thank you all, although I am now even more confused :S
    I guess I'm subconsciously trying to find reasons to choose Stanford over Duke, but everything would be great if I could clone myself and attend both :P

    @collegedad2013: Thank you for the details you mentioned. As an inexperienced prospective college student, I'm not very knowledgeable about the whole college experience. As you pointed out, conducting research at any college must be difficult and I think I'm ready to face that. Looking at the departments at each school through their websites, I think Stanford is better in that sense.

    @jordan2: First of all, thank you very much! I know that it is a special program and am worried that I'll merely throw it away if I choose Stanford. The advantages you mentioned are great, but I wonder if I'll be missing a huge deal by attending Stanford instead. By the way, I don't live in the U.S., I live in another country, so I didn't have the opportunity to visit either school, but the campus of Stanford seems like an unparalleled one. So if the only factor I considered were the campus life, I'd choose Stanford without a second thought.

    I would like to ask one more thing: Is there anything particularly unique to Stanford, something I'll definitely miss if I go to Duke?

    Thanks in advance!
  • ewhoewho Registered User Posts: 1,397 Senior Member
    Is there anything particularly unique to Stanford, something I'll definitely miss if I go to Duke?
    Stanford. :)
  • texaspgtexaspg Forum Champion Pre-Med & Medical Posts: 16,694 Forum Champion
    How much more does it cost you to attend Stanford?

    There are many research programs at Stanford. There is also a process to apply for grants to do research.


    Current Yale President did his undergrad at Stanford back in the 70s if it means anything for Psychology department at Stanford.

    SLE at Stanford is trying to emphasize liberal arts.

  • LaleAnLaleAn Registered User Posts: 44 Junior Member
    @ewho: That is why I can't choose Duke right away :)

    @texaspg: Thank you very much! The link about research at Stanford has been quite useful; I read everything there, and I can apply for grants for my research project and receive support up to $6000 (the program at Duke provides me with this directly but it seems like if I work hard and plan m project wisely, I can get the same amount at Stanford :) ).
    The Psychology department of Stanford seems pretty strong, and the SLE is a very intriguing program--I'll research more about it. Thank you so much for bringing up good points, which have been really helpful!
  • LaleAnLaleAn Registered User Posts: 44 Junior Member
    Just to let you know, hopefully I will be attending Stanford next fall! Thank you all! :)
  • muckdogs07muckdogs07 Registered User Posts: 1,166 Senior Member
    Trust your instincts and go where you want to go which is Stanford. Under different circumstances, I would say Duke due to the special recognition of this scholars' program, but Stanford is your "dream" and so live it.
  • texaspgtexaspg Forum Champion Pre-Med & Medical Posts: 16,694 Forum Champion
    You will have only one problem at Stanford. You will have a hard time leaving.
  • LaleAnLaleAn Registered User Posts: 44 Junior Member
    Haha thanks! :D
  • goldenboy8784goldenboy8784 Registered User Posts: 1,698 Senior Member
    Stanford is certainly regarded as a better school than Duke but I would gripe with the fact that its campus is as beautiful and it has as much school spirit. I guess the first point is debatable but the 2nd point isn't-Duke is in its own league with regards to school spirit among private schools alongside with Notre Dame and USC.

    Duke has some very unique seminars and interdisciplinary Freshman-only classes through the FOCUS program as well.

    Duke University | Focus Program: 2013 Clusters & Courses

    Check out the school-funded immersion and service learning opportunities for undergraduates:

    Duke Engage : Home

    Good luck with your decision! :)
  • cleareyedguycleareyedguy Registered User Posts: 127 Junior Member
    Stanford is considered better than duke, if by better you mean being separated by a couple of spots on most people's top 10 list (a top ten list distilled from the hundreds of schools in the country). from any distance, they are remarkably similar, and more similar to each other than just about any two schools in this hypothetical top 10 (or 20 or 50).

    what you get out of your life will definitely not be determined by which of these two very fortunate choices you make/made., except insofar as to what you do with the choice.
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