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Harvard vs Stanford vs Jefferson Scholarship at UVA

SomeDancinPandaSomeDancinPanda Registered User Posts: 10 New Member
edited April 2016 in Stanford University
Okay everyone so I’m attempting to choose between these three options. I’m an international student coming from the UK.

I should also mention that I am British Asian (of Indian descent)

UVA Jefferson Scholarship is a full ride plus perks such as foreign travel, spending money, internships and leading opportunities. This is therefore definitely the cheapest option.

I’m honestly leaning towards Harvard or Stanford at the moment so mainly looking for perspectives on those two. Harvard is offering better financial aid than Stanford.

I’m hoping to major in philosophy or political science and then go into either journalism, politics or entrepreneurship in the future.

I’m an extrovert and I like to party but I also enjoy having fascinating conversations about everything and anything with diverse groups of incredible people. I don’t think I’d want to be in a finals club or fraternity but I definitely want to be able to party, dance etc.

In terms of ECs I’m very into the performing arts (theatre specifically), dance, debating, charity work and fine (visual) art. I'd be looking for a vibrant scene in these areas.

Concerns right now are the apparently cutthroat atmosphere at Harvard, greek life/segregation and lack of diversity at UVA, and the dominant techie feel at Stanford. (I love interdisciplinary learning, particularly in areas of ethics and politics, and perhaps Harvard has a more intellectual/humanities discussion type feel around campus?)

Please help give me any advice you can offer. The weather, beach and laid-back nature of the West Coast is definitely a plus but I’m trying to not let that be a deciding factor because it's easy to go based on stereotypes of Harvard being cutthroat, competitive and socially inactive (this can't be true with so many students and other colleges in Boston surely?!).

Sports aren’t huge for me but I’m definitely into fitness. I do like debating/discussing politics, philosophy and the world at 3 or 4 in the morning but I also like to enjoy life as a normal teenager.

I’m looking for open-minded, ambitious, collaborative, fun people and a place where I can work hard, play hard, and party hard while having an amazing 4 years with people that will open up my mind and inspire me in so many different ways.

Thanks in advance for all your help — I count myself very lucky and fortunate to be in this position!

Please let me know anything you can!

Replies to: Harvard vs Stanford vs Jefferson Scholarship at UVA

  • sbballersbballer Registered User Posts: 544 Member
    if you can I would suggest you visit the campuses and meet the students. as far as Stanford is concerned it's not laid back.. the 8200 acre campus has a definite laid back vibe but that's the extent of it. Stanford is the birthplace of Silicon Valley.. and a major center for human innovation in the world... highly competitive... highly innovative.. collaborative ... forward thinking. the administration has been fostering interdisciplinary learning.. all the professional and grad schools are located on campus and in close proximity... Stanford recently spent over $300 million building a concert hall (same acoustics designer as the Walt Disney Concert Hall in LA), arts building and a contemporary art museum around a new arts district. While the leader in tech and engineering.. Stanford also has the top ranked arts and humanities program (by UK based Higher Ed) in the world. UVA and Harvard have a lot to offer too.. but it's a different beast. That's why I suggest you visit all the campuses and interact with the students before making a decision.
  • sbballersbballer Registered User Posts: 544 Member
    since you "like debating/discussing politics, philosophy and the world at 3 or 4 in the morning".... check out the Structured Liberal Education program at Stanford. this may be right up your alley at Stanford.
  • skyovermeskyoverme Registered User Posts: 319 Member
    Stanford has a very well respected dance program so I would chose that.

    This CEO claims dance at Stanford is the key to his success.

  • PlannerPlanner Registered User Posts: 616 Member
    Stanford has many interdisciplinary programs—lots of students successfully divide their efforts between tech/STEM and the humanities, including the arts. The atmosphere you're seeking is at Stanford—hopefully you'll be able to visit all your schools and see what seems like the best fit.
  • SomeDancinPandaSomeDancinPanda Registered User Posts: 10 New Member
    Thank you for all your responses so far - I should add that, were I to accept Stanford or Harvard, I would be likely to end up with a sizeable sum of student debt. I would recieve some financial aid from Harvard but next to none from Stanford, so it would be my responsibility to pay back the money after graduation. I'm worried this could trap me into picking a better paid job that I may not enjoy long term, preventing me from taking risks.

    Socially, however, I do think the diverse, open minded student bodies at Harvard and Stanford are a better fit for me than UVA.

    I know that Stanford is the best fit for me as a University, but is it worth graduating with a fair amount of student debt for the sake of going there?
  • sbballersbballer Registered User Posts: 544 Member
    there are many paths... there is no simple answer.. but personally I wouldn't worry about the money. one startup endeavor... one right connection and you've made back your tuition money in spades and then some. in the long run it's meaningless.. Visit the schools and choose based on where you want to go. You're smart and motivated and you can make anything happen.

    not sure you've seen this.. ironic that it's a commencement address.. these types of speeches should be given as we enter colleges and have time to reflect. good luck. stay hungry.. stay foolish.

  • kaukaunakaukauna Registered User Posts: 1,132 Senior Member
    SomeDancinPanda: First of all congratulations on the acceptances. The Jefferson is a fabulous scholarship and you will have peers who all probably chose the Jefferson over Duke, Princeton, etc. You will always be able to have the Jefferson on your resume, and while you are at Virginia you will be on a pedestal with access to postgraduate advising and inside tracks to jobs / graduate programs.. If you were my son/daughter after much thought I would say take the Jefferson with zero debt, bank some of the money saved for graduate / professional school, unless there was some area that you were definitely interested in that Stanford or Harvard was absolutely superlative at and which you are completely focused on (e.g. Stanford and CS). After graduating from Virginia you will be able to go to any professional school / graduate school in the World if you perform like I think you will. Good luck with the decision.
  • sunshineyysunshineyy Registered User Posts: 15 New Member
    I think you should definitely think about the financial aspect as well--I know some people that are still trying to pay off their student loans 10+ years later! And if you want to go to graduate school (especially in the US) you'll probably have to take out even more money. You might want to contact Stanford/Harvard to ask for more money as both schools have been pretty flexible financial aid wise in the past. Additionally, the difference between the education you will receive at Stanford/Harvard as opposed to another school like UVA is marginal! Go with the option that is best for you but definitely consider the money side of things.
  • texaspgtexaspg Forum Champion Pre-Med & Medical Posts: 16,699 Forum Champion
    Who do you borrow money from as an international student?
  • mamaedefamiliamamaedefamilia Registered User Posts: 3,104 Senior Member
    Free ride at UVA vs. nearly full pay at Stanford?

    How much will your parents cover? How much are you expecting in the form of personal loans. As an international student, what entity will lend you the money and under what interest rate and terms of repayment?

    If your personal debt burden will be more than 10K per year, take UVA and don't look back. Especially if you are looking to study philosophy or political science - those are not high paying fields - even if you get a graduate degree, which would result in a further delay before you start earning a meaningful salary.

    There will be plenty of late night intellectual talk at UVA.
  • sbballersbballer Registered User Posts: 544 Member
    edited April 2016
    yes I agree.. the education at all these schools will be top notch... Jefferson sounds like an outstanding program (esp with the post grad advising) but the opportunities will be vastly different. Elon musk dropped out of a Stanford grad program..(international student probably with lots of debt) runs Tesla (HQ is on the Stanford campus btw) and SpaceX... Jerry Yang yahoo... instagram.. snapchat... theranos.. Cisco.. netflix founders. .etc.. Bordering the northern part of campus is Sand Hill Road.. the Wall Street of venture capital... more VC money flows through the Stanford campus then NYC and Boston combined... so opportunities are vastly different and at Stanford they are literally at your doorstep.
  • bluewater2015bluewater2015 Registered User Posts: 564 Member
    ^Hey I agree about all the innovation and VC money associated with Stanford, but I would personally drop Theranos from that list of successes . . . currently under criminal investigation by a federal grand jury, in danger of losing its license for blood testing and its partnership with Walgreens, and under SEC investigation for statements made to investors.
  • sbballersbballer Registered User Posts: 544 Member
    lols.... plus she dropped out. but bottom line she's still the youngest self-made woman billionaire in the world. something to be said for that... whether the allegations are true remains to be seen.
  • MidwestDad3MidwestDad3 Registered User Posts: 2,186 Senior Member
    I agree with @mamaedefamilia . Go with UVA and don't look back.
  • proudparent26proudparent26 Registered User Posts: 123 Junior Member
    One of the big differences between the schools is Harvard and UVA are on the semester system. Stanford is on the quarter system. Most schools in the US are on the semester system. I would go to Harvard or Stanford and don't look back
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