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Harvard vs Stanford vs Jefferson Scholarship at UVA


Replies to: Harvard vs Stanford vs Jefferson Scholarship at UVA

  • elk1819elk1819 Registered User Posts: 50 Junior Member
    I know a handful of Echols/Rodman scholars at UVA and the benefits of that program alone are compelling. Consider the possibility of waiving all distribution requirements, priority access to classes, special scholars housing freshman year, etc. And the Jefferson obviously adds plenty on top of that, especially in general prestige on campus (or Grounds, I suppose!) and in the strictly monetary sense, with the scholarship itself and other research/travel grants.

    To echo what some other posters have said, it comes down to this: do you want to be a big fish in a small pond or a small fish in a big pond? At UVA, you'd be part of a small, elite group of students who receive special benefits and privileges and are essentially put on a pedestal by the university (which is not Harvard or Stanford but still a very reputable one, I might add) -- and all this without any cost to you. At Harvard or Stanford, you'd be receiving a world-class education from world-class professors and be surrounded by the smartest kids in the world everywhere you look. But I don't know if the difference in the education you'd receive is great enough to justify your graduating with crippling student loan debt. In terms of graduate school admissions and employability, a Jefferson Scholarship is regarded in the US just about as highly as the Ivies (since most people do choose it over HYPSM, etc.) - and you'd probably have a higher GPA at UVA, too.

    Still, go with your gut. Think about how you'd feel a few days after turning down Stanford and Harvard for the Jefferson, or Harvard and the Jefferson for Stanford, etc. I'm stuck in a similarly difficult decision, and that's how I've recently been thinking about it.
  • PlannerPlanner Registered User Posts: 616 Member
    I agree with most here—go to UVA and graduate with no debt.
  • sgopal2sgopal2 Registered User Posts: 3,146 Senior Member
    I think this really boils down to what you want to do with your life?

    If you want to work in the theatre or politics it doesn't matter so much where you graduate from. Go to school for free at UVA.

    However if you are unsure and would like the option to change course then I would choose Harvard. Stanford is a good choice if you can afford it but not substantially different from Harvard.

    So what do you want to be when you grow up?
  • renaissancedadrenaissancedad Registered User Posts: 1,480 Senior Member
    ^ @sgopal2, I'm curious: would you feel the same way if the OP had been offered the AB Duke Scholarship at Duke instead of the Jefferson Scholarship at UVa?

    I think there are at least 3 issues involved in this kind of decision: general fit, fit for specific interests, and financial flexibility. The calculus is probably different for each individual. If more than one of these align, then it's probably a pretty easy decision. But if all 3 are different, then it can be quite challenging. In this case, the OP seems to like the general feel and fit of Stanford, but Stanford offers the least aid, and may be a bit weaker than Harvard in the specific OP's areas of interest. Virginia offers tremendous financial freedom and a "fast track" program with a lot of advantages, as @elk1819 has noted. The main question is how strongly the OP feels about one school vs. the others, and how large a factor the financial aspect is. My suspicion is that UVA is probably the best bet in this case, but it's a very personal calculus.
  • sgopal2sgopal2 Registered User Posts: 3,146 Senior Member
    @renaissancedad: although I am a die-hard Dukie, my advice would be the same.

    Also keep in mind a few points:

    - About 2/3 of college students change their major at least once
    - Of those who switch, change their majors on average 3 times during their college careers

  • renaissancedadrenaissancedad Registered User Posts: 1,480 Senior Member
    ^ In many ways, I think that the flexibility that comes with a full ride scholarship such as the Jefferson makes it easier to explore directions and takes risks. That's certainly one of the advantages touted by many of the AB Duke program. The mentoring and "fast-tracking" that goes along with such programs also allows many students to find their focus more quickly.

    I'm a proud and loyal Stanford grad, and my majors changed completely during the time I was at Stanford. I was extremely fortunate in that Stanford was not only my first choice, but also gave me by far the most aid, giving me freedom not to have to work. That made a huge difference. But if I were in the OP's situation, I'd probably personally opt for the Jefferson.
  • proudparent26proudparent26 Registered User Posts: 123 Junior Member
    Harvard graduates account for around 15 members of congress, Stanford around 10. I am not sure if UVA has any
  • Prof99Prof99 Registered User Posts: 58 Junior Member
    You say that you are from the UK. A question I think it is important for you to ask yourself is where do you see yourself working in the future. I am an American who was at Cambridge ten years ago and I was surprised to find the British Class structure still alive and kicking in terms of both academia and society in general. Stanford (in the interests of full disclosure, I have a daughter there) or Harvard (was a Visiting Fellow there) will make you a citizen of the world and your degree will be instantly recognizable and well-regarded everywhere, whereas Virginia (an excellent school) may carry less cachet--especially across the pond.
    The money end of things is such a personal calculation. We all have differing risk tolerances regarding debt. But others here have warned that journalists are poorly paid and a dying breed. Best of luck with your decision. Not a bad choice here, but each comes with different challenges. Cheers!
This discussion has been closed.