<p>There's not much time before SIRs are due, and I've only narrowed my choices down to 6: Pomona College, UCSC, Stanford, UCB, Cornell, and Duke.</p>
<p>I'm a relatively passive person; I like learning but not so much doing. I'm wondering in which of these places I'd feel a pressure to be active and driven about... pretty much anything. Ideally, I'd want to go to a place where you can feel like a normal student and just do the work to pass classes, but that there is ample opportunity for research, internships, etc (i.e. ambitious things) - I also don't want to be in an intellectually stagnant environment.</p>
<p>That's kind of a nebulous request, but if anyone has any insights about that kind of thing relative to these colleges... that would be great. Thanks</p>
<p>(Oh, also, the same applies socially. I want to be able to avoid parties, but be in a "warm" environment. I'd like to have my cake and eat it too.)</p>
<p>Larger schools permit more freedom to disengage as you so choose but may lack the sense of "warmth" or intimacy. Furthermore, students at top schools like these can be friendly and social but are generally pretty task-oriented, less into partying.</p>
<p>Cornell is friendly and laid back. You can create the kind of experience you prefer. I think you'd fit in there. But, you would probably fit in alright at all the schools. As I said, students at elite schools tend to be task oriented but I think the smarter you are, the more social skill you have. </p>
<p>Pomona might seem more warm and friendly because of its size but it might also be more difficult to diengage when you want to. Pomona might have less opportunity for research.</p>
<p>My H and D are currently at Duke for admitted student days and from what my H told me last night they house all the freshman together in one place and strongly encourage a lot of socilializing and working together in small groups. Many students participate in the Focus program and study topics in-depth in small groups. Based on that Duke doesn't sound like the place for you.</p>
<p>^^^ "Stanford is less focused on undergraduate education than Cornell."</p>
<p>I'm going to take sides with collegehelp on this one, which is dicey because s/he is a CC veteran with lots of good insights and opinions. :)</p>
<p>I have a good bit of first-hand experience with Harvard, about which this is often said. At Harvard, it's just not the case and I'd guess (with no personal experience) that it shouldn't be the case at Stanford either. So I'll give you my take on the alleged "graduate focus" at H and assume that it applies as well to S.</p>
<p>I'm not sure what a lack of emphasis on undergrads would look like. A refusal to dedicate resources or spend money on them? A lack of interest or concern about their quality of life issues? A take-it-or-leave-it attitude regarding undergraduate feedback? Despite the stereotypes, none of those apply at H, and I can't believe that it would be the case at S either. On the contrary, undergrads at H get great benefits from the grad schools. The JFK School of Gov't has an entire Institute of Politics that exists to bring undergrads face-to-face with leaders and thinkers who shape the world. Undergrads can take cross-listed courses with grad students and benefit from their experience. If you were going to apply to law or med school, how useful would it be to have students at a renowned law and med school a few blocks away, most of whom would be flattered to be asked for their opinions and advice? And then the grad programs help attract world-class faculty, many (probably most) of whom are thrilled to get to influence brilliant you minds who share their passions and goals.</p>
<p>If anything, I'd guess that the grad resources at Stanford may be on the plus side of the column when you list the considerations that should be taken into account.</p>
<p>Stanford has 6600 undergrads and 13200 graduate students. 6600/19800 = 33%</p>
<p>An electrical engineering professor who earned his PhD at Stanford once told me that Stanford was not the best place for undergraduates. Aside from that, my statement that Stanford is less focused on undergraduates than Cornell is based on logic. Graduate students require attention and time, probably more than undergraduates. If the number of faculty is held constant and the number of hours they spend with students is held constant then the more time spent with graduate students, the less time spent with undergraduates. </p>
<p>I do see the value of having graduate students around and the value of having both undergraduate and graduate programs concurrently. Grad programs provide research opportunities for undergrads. I think the proportions at Stanford is skewed too far toward graduate education. I don't think undergrad education would become an afterthought, but it would have to compete with substantially greater graduate education.</p>
<p>I am not exactly sure what that would feel like at Stanford but at Cornell there were ample opportunities for undergrad research involvement plus accessibility to professors outside the classroom.</p>
<p>Choosing Cornell over Stanford for its "undergraduate focus" seems like a silly reason. I'd choose Cornell over Stanford if:
1. Cornell is a lot cheaper.
2. I like the upstate NY environment better.
3. I preferably plan to work in the NE after graduation.
4. I'm an architecture or hotel management major.</p>