Anyone have insight on differences between Stanford and Duke?

<p>My son who is gearing up to start applying has always had his heart set on Stanford. He was even lucky enough this summer to land an internship and study under one of the professors..he came back quite a fan, but nervous nonetheless of getting into a school which has a single digit acceptance rate.
Then last week he went down with his best friend and family to "tag along" to look at UNC and Duke. To his surprise, he also really really liked Duke. So now he is seriously considering both of these schools.
I haven't visited either and doubt I will before he applies. Can anyone offer any insight as to what you think the primary differences are between the two schools (aside from the obvious of course)
He has a GPA of about 4.0 UW
He has only taken the SAT'S once and scored about a 2300 and will take them again in Sept.
He also has excellent community service history, lots of leadership experience and some ahtletics, (less focus on the sports but he played one every season except Fall).
Thoughts?</p>

<p>He has a great chance at both schools. I scored a 2300 and I was accepted to Duke, but rejected by Stanford</p>

<p>Stanford's acceptances are too sporadic to say anyone has a great chance, but your child should have just as good of a chance as anybody.</p>

<p>wipedoutmom, it's not surprising that your son likes both Stanford and Duke - they are two very similar schools! As those above me pointed out, it sounds like your son has as good a shot as anyone at both schools. If he is so lucky to have to make the decision between the two, there are some differences from what I've observed (and from talking to a friend who goes to Stanford). </p>

<p>Both Duke and Stanford provide a top-notch education. Many will argue that Stanford is better and more prestigious academically than Duke, but in my opinion they are basically splitting hairs. It may vary from department to department, but in general, neither school gives a student a marked advantage over the other when it comes to job opportunities, etc. I know kids at Duke who would've died to go to Stanford (despite loving Duke), and I know others who turned down Stanford for Duke. It comes down to fit more than anything else.</p>

<p>The two schools are also similar socially in a few ways. At least from what my friend at Stanford has told me, both seem to live by the "work hard, play hard" motto and both are more into athletics than the Ivies. There are a few differences that I can think of though. Greek life is larger at Duke than at Stanford (about 32% at Duke compared to 13% at Stanford). I would like to point out that you don't need to go Greek at Duke to have a social life (and in many ways Duke Greek life isn't your "typical" Greek scene), but it does appear to be more active based on sheer numbers. Another difference is the role that athletics plays on campus. From what I've heard, Stanford athletics are popular because such a large number of students ARE athletes. However, Stanford doesn't have that one powerhouse athletics program that the student body rallies around. At Duke, the basketball team does just that. It creates amazing unity, school spirit, and pride amongst the students that I believe is truly unmatched by any other school. I can't think of another school where students sleep in tents for 2 months, paint themselves blue from head to toe, and celebrate with victory bonfires on the quad. It's really a cool and unique experience, and makes me proud to be a Blue Devil (I'm sure some people just think we're crazy...).</p>

<p>Finally, I know you were looking for differences aside from the obvious, but location really is a big one to consider. I took Stanford off my list before applying to schools because I didn't really want to go to school all the way across the country. It's really a personal preference I guess. </p>

<p>Feel free to PM me if you or your son have any specific questions/concerns about life at Duke. It's sometimes difficult to get a good feel for the campus during the summer. I'm always willing to talk to people about how much I love it :)</p>

<p>Stanford is better at football. Duke is better at basketball.</p>

<p>Without offending the Duke students present - Stanford is top tier, obviously. If your son is accepted I believe he'd be foolish not to accept (unless he is accepted to Harvard, as well). That said, Stanford is a reach even for a 2400 ACT Val. If your S feels he could be comfortable at Duke - that's great. I hate to use the term 'safety school' for an institution that consistently ranks as one of the top universities in the South, but his chances for admission are definitely better at Duke.</p>

<p>^So are you calling my friends who turned down Stanford foolish? I know you don't mean to offend but the problem with CC is that HYPSM are considered "leagues" above the next tier of Duke, Columbia, Penn, UChi, et al and it's way overexaggerated. The truth is that the undergraduate experiences and education are comparable and choosing between the two is splitting hairs.</p>

<p>OP, your son should choose to go where he feels the most comfortable. I can tell you from personal experience that he won't be at a disadvantage if he chooses one over the other.</p>

<p>
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wipedoutmom, it's not surprising that your son likes both Stanford and Duke - they are two very similar schools!

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I don't understand how people know these kinds of things. How are the schools similar? I can't even tell what the schools are like for that matter. All I can see from home (I'm not near Duke or Stanford, so I can't visit) is there nice looking websites, but how do you really, and I mean REALLY learn about a school?</p>

<p>
[quote]
I don't understand how people know these kinds of things. How are the schools similar? I can't even tell what the schools are like for that matter. All I can see from home (I'm not near Duke or Stanford, so I can't visit) is there nice looking websites, but how do you really, and I mean REALLY learn about a school?

[/quote]
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<p>Well, in my case, I know what Duke is like because I'm a Duke student. I know that Duke and Stanford are similar in many ways because I have a good friend at Stanford and we have discussed the very subject and compared our experiences.</p>

<p>There are so many resources available online to help you get a feel for different schools. I only visited one school (ironically, the one I got rejected from), didn't see Duke AT ALL before choosing it, and still felt like I was able to make an informed decision that I was confident in. Ask current students on CC, spend time on browsing the school's website (most all have a section for prospective freshmen), or search for video tours, etc. on YouTube. Many people are shocked that I could commit to a school without ever seeing it, but it is possible to figure out what a school is like and where you'll be truly happy.</p>

<p>bluedevil gave you a nice comparison. The one or two things I would add is that if your son is pursuing Engineering, the clear edge would go to Stanford, in all areas except Biomedical. Also, the community of Palo Alto gets the edge over Durham.</p>

<p>I think the Stanford/Duke commonality is perfectly understandable. I know Stanford pretty well, Duke less so. I perceive that these are, without question, the only top schools that seek to provide a national university experience that includes both meaningful spectator sports and mild/sunny/warm climates. I'm not sure that all would agree that Palo Alto is a better experience than Durham. At the end of the day, they are both great schools and, given admission to both, one should choose the one that feels like the better fit. Good luck!</p>

<p>just google "duke or stanford" and you'll get many other CC threads about it</p>

<p>In terms of academic prestige, Duke and Stanford were neck-in-neck until maybe 15-20 years ago, now S is up there with HYP. That being said, a wonderful education can be had at either. Duke has a glorious gothic east coast campus, Stanford is arrid and mediterranean. Both place a huge emphasis on athletics and have major school spirit. Stanford accepts less than half the percentage of applicants that Duke does and therefore short of being an olympic-caliber athlete or someone whose parents donate in excess of a million dollars it is a stretch for all (and Duke is no push-over, but more realistic with your stats).</p>

<p>IMHO, (and this was the personal list I created for college, the same way all college applicants have their own personal lists) I think I rank Stanford and Duke as the top two universities in the U.S. just because they excel at almost all aspects of education, be it engineering, medicine, liberal arts, social sciences, humanities, etc. They also have great locations and beautiful campuses. I think that all of us that have been through the college decision making process can attest to the fact that it's probably one of the hardest decisions a person has to make in their life. Therefore, my recommendation is that if your son gets accepted to both then he should go visit OVERNIGHT and get the college experience there and see if he sees himself there. I know Duke has this two day thing for all accepted students called "Blue Devil Days" where they can live with a student for two days and see all that Duke has to offer (I'm sure Stanford has something similar). </p>

<p>As for the assertion that Stanford is in a "different tier" than Duke just because it has a lower acceptance rate, I'm not sure that would be valid. I say this because at Blue Devil Days, the Dean of Admissions told us that Duke rejected 1300 valedictorians this year, so I think that for both schools, nobody should keep it as a "safety school" because they're both so difficult to get into. One of the other reasons why I also value Duke and Stanford so highly is because their admissions officers look at EVERYTHING when they evaluate applications. Meaning that your son has to have not only the grades, SAT scores and extracurriculars, but also excellent recommendations, an amazing personal essay and something that makes him unique (which he seems to encompass). Best of luck!
P.S. There's no need to re-take the SAT. Honestly, once you get to the 2300s, there really is no difference between a 2310 and a 2390. When Duke evaluates its applicants it looks at these six criteria Duke</a> University Admissions: What We Seek and ranks you on the scale of 1-5, and I think anything above 2300 would rank as a 5. And just like someone above mentioned, I cannot stress enough checking out these extremely informative websites that each school has, because that sometimes provides more valuable information than actually a college visit.</p>

<p>^^^"I think I rank Stanford and Duke as the top two universities in the U.S." See now you're just being silly.</p>

<p>Here's an interesting link:
<a href="http://tinyurl.com/2axx24w%5B/url%5D"&gt;http://tinyurl.com/2axx24w&lt;/a>
Cross admit data shows that 82% choose Stanford and 18% choose Duke. Whereas Stanford / Harvard cross admits choose H 84% and S 16%.</p>

<p>^ And you think that makes Stanford much better than Duke? Now you're just being silly. Are we also supposed to believe Harvard is better than Stanford based on that data? High school kids care about name recognition and prestige, because they are idiots. Those 18% who chose Duke over Stanford are making informed choices, and probably only 18% who chose the other way around were actually thinking.</p>

<p>Totally agree with the last post. Cross admit rates more often than not reflect a perception of popular-culture prestige ("how can you say no to Harvard?"), whereas in fact there are far better undergraduate educations to be had at a number of other top tier LACs/universities (e.g. top 20). Don't get me wrong: you won't fail in life for having attended HYPS over other schools that might be a better fit, but you won't do better and may have a less rewarding undergraduate experience.</p>

<p>Haha, right. I'm sure if the cross admit data shows 18% choose Western Arkansas State and 88% choose Duke, I could find some riled up WAS students to claim that those were the only 18% that were thinking and everyone else is a prestige monger.</p>

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<p>Duke</a> still step below top schools | The Chronicle</p>

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<p>This is an overly harsh and frankly, absurd statement. Caring about name recognition and prestige implies "idiocy?" Most Duke students learned about their school due to its name recognition (from basketball) and chose it because it is the most prestigious school in the South. Are they all "idiots?"</p>

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<p>Not necessarily. Just because you chose the less prestigious and selective school doesn't mean you made the "informed choice." And conversely, just because you chose the more prestigious and selective school doesn't mean you made an "uninformed choice."</p>

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No, I said that they, in addition to some of students choosing Stanford, were making good choices. With Harvard vs. Stanford for example, plenty of those Harvard kids are ONLY caring about name recognition. Plus, Stanford and Duke are close enough, unlike the two schools you are trying to make a point with.</p>