I am struggling to make a decision and would be grateful for any knowledgeable perspectives. Planning to go to Cornell Arts & Sciences for Computer Science. However I’ve now been admitted to Duke from the waitlist and trying to determine what is best for me, and finding it a very tough decision. Definitely want CS major. I know both schools are great and I could study other areas which interest me too (I like foreign languages, econ, etc.) I am introverted but friendly and get along with people, and I’m assuming I can find a friend group at either. Can’t address financial aid because I don’t know offer yet. Here are the main pros and concerns in my mind:
- only a few hours from home and a few hours from my sibling in Boston, my parents could visit easily but it’s far enough to feel independent
- top CS program - I want a really great CS education with solid foundation in all the fundamentals, and I also want to have good prospects for jobs and internships - even though I’m not sure what I’ll want to do for a career
- beauty of campus, and also I like Ithaca and CollegeTown - seem nice with enough things to do
- they awarded me a community-service based fellowship which is a selective honor
Concerns about Cornell:
- winters…not looking forward to dreary depressing weather, my toes and fingers white with cold, and taking the bus to morning class in bitter cold
- not great housing on campus after second year, I’d prefer to stay on campus
- My biggest concern - I’ve heard about the stress culture and that concerns me. I don’t mind working hard and expect to have a high workload. But I’ve heard that at Cornell CS the workload is insanely over the top, so people have periods of no sleep and intense pressure, with a lot of competition and difficulty getting good grades. I’m prone to high anxiety anticipating exams and so the idea of a high-stress culture does concern me. Are Cornell CS students unhappy?
- Is it true that it can be difficult to get into the classes you want?
Duke - pros
- warmer climate, easier more relaxed lifestyle because of the weather
- maybe a happier student body? Is Duke a happier place for CS undergrads - I would love to know the answer to this question! Is there less of a high-stress-culture for CS students? I can enjoy watching Duke BB games but I’m not a huge sports fan.
Duke - concerns
- I read a post that the CS education at Duke is a bit lightweight compared to more top-ranked CS schools. This would concern me but I’m not sure if it’s true.
- Do Duke CS majors get as many job/internship offers?
In summary, I think I could be ok at either school but my biggest questions are:
- Is Cornell CS a very high pressure stress culture, with unhappy students?
- Are students at Duke CS happier and less stressed?
- But does Cornell provide a more solid, thorough CS education with better job and internship prospects?
THANK YOU ANY KNOWLEDGEABLE RESPONDERS VERY MUCH!