Harvard vs. Yale vs. Princeton vs. Stanford

<p>Hey everyone,
I was fortunate enough to have been admitted to these schools and with one week left I still have absolutely no idea where I want to go, eh >.< I already searched the forums and found this very excellent thread: <a href="http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/college-search-selection/484664-harvard-princeton-yale-please-help.html?highlight=harvard+yale+princeton%5B/url%5D"&gt;http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/college-search-selection/484664-harvard-princeton-yale-please-help.html?highlight=harvard+yale+princeton&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/p>

<p>but I was wondering if I could get some help by focusing more on what I want to study and what I'm looking for. </p>

<p>What I want to study: Although I'm not sure about majors or anything yet, I'm really interested in political science (international affairs) and economics. Though I suppose at the undergraduate level the education is basically the same? (...although Princeton does have the Woodrow Wilson School.)
Environment: Friendly but rigorous. From talking to some of my friends, it sounds like the "general impression" (I know you can't really generalize) is that Yale /Stanford are laid back and chill while Harvard / Princeton are more competitive?
Location: I wouldn't mind living on the East Coast even though I'm not used to the cold at all, but Stanford is California =] And Harvard has Boston! I haven't visited any of the campuses except for Stanford's (which was nice), and since I don't live in the US I don't have the option of visiting them.
Extracurricular: Very important, but from looking at these schools it doesn't seem like there's much distinction. I do lots of public speaking.
Social: Also very important because I want a place I'll feel at home at. One thing that attracts me about Yale is that it sounds like it's a great place for friends (the residential college system helps out?) while still being academically rigorous. </p>

<p>All of the schools have offered me basically the same financial aid, except for Stanford which is offering me around $15,000 less. We can afford it I guess, but my reasons to go there would have to outweigh everything else.</p>

<p>I'd really appreciate any help you could give me!</p>

<p>Thanks.</p>

<p>^i see you also got accepted to Georgetown SFS. (o_0 my god.)
why cross that off your list, if you want to major in IR?</p>

<p>oh and, OP, you're a beast. (in a good way.)</p>

<p>Harvard, Yale and Princeton are offering nearly 10x as much financial aid so Georgetown's not an option anymore. Georgetown was my #1 or my #2 actually but I'll be just as happy at any of these schools I think =]</p>

<p>(thanks 000ace000 haha)</p>

<p>Knock of S because of aid.</p>

<p>
[quote]
I do lots of public speaking.

[/quote]
</p>

<p>Princeton has the Whig-Clio organization: American</a> Whig?Cliosophic Society - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia</p>

<p>It is the oldest debate union in the US. There are many excellent speakers and debaters.</p>

<p>You can't go wrong with any of these choices. I think you will find that people will advise you to go to the one they attended--(i.e., I think you should go to Yale). If you haven't had the opportunity to visit, the best you can do is make up a list of pros and cons and think about which ones matter the most to you.</p>

<p>If you're interested in grad school, perhaps the undergrad strengths of each school might help you decide: PHD</a> PRODUCTIVITY</p>

<p>I have no connection with any of these universities, but based upon what I have seen and heard over the years (including interaction with alumni), my vote would go to Yale. It combines unsurpassed academics with a very collegial culture. It seems the best fit for the OP's requirements.</p>

<p>Do you plan to live and work outside the US? If so, I recommend Stanford or Harvard, due to their international name recognition at the graduate level. Since Stanford is off the table due to less aid, I would then recommend Harvard.</p>

<p>My experience is that international students possess a maturity and ease of social interaction that would make you comfortable at any of your choices, espcially considering your evidenced (by this post) mastery of english.</p>

<p>Thanks for the replies everyone =]</p>

<p>@Hunt--I think you're right. Some Yale alumni called me up and invited me to lunch and we talked about how amazing Yale is at the expense of Harvard, and then I e-mailed a friend at Harvard and she rebutted everything they'd said :-/ Which is why I'm so torn, haha.
@vossron--I'm not sure I understand the tables on that site. But I am actually curious--how does what school I choose at the undergraduate level affect my options for graduate level work? Is it true that graduate schools prefer to accept students from their undergraduate counterparts?
@DunninLA--I'm actually an American (I've just never lived in the US haha) but yeah I'm planning to work out of the country. I know Harvard is probably the best you can get in terms of "branding" (if that's a suitable quality to judge a college by haha). But that wouldn't matter too much at the undergraduate level right? I'd still have to do graduate level work at Harvard before finding a job outside of the country anyway.</p>

<p>Considering HYPS, it means that Yale BA/BS earners (all majors) later earn PhDs in history (at all grad schools combined) at the third-highest per capita rate in the country. Likewise, Harvard and Princeton BA/BS earners (all majors) later earn PhDs in math and statistics at the sixth- and ninth-highest, respectively, per capita rates in the country. </p>

<p>The tables are not complete (only those where Reed is in the top ten are presented--Reed thinks it makes them look good ;) ), but they pack a lot of info into a small space. They may be indicative of the relative undergrad strengths of the various schools in the specific fields, as far as grad school prep is concerned. </p>

<p>Some grad schools actually prefer undergrads from other schools; e.g., I read that Caltech prohibits its undergrads from applying to its PhD programs; can someone confirm or deny this?</p>

<p>sugarbowls wrote:
[quote]
I'm actually an American (I've just never lived in the US haha) but yeah I'm planning to work out of the country... I know Harvard is the best brand... But that wouldn't matter too much at the undergraduate level right? I'd still have to do graduate level work at Harvard before finding a job outside of the country anyway.

[/quote]
Well, that depends upon what sort of work you plan to do. If you're interesting in going to Business school, you need to work a few years first... and outside the country is ideal. If your graduate work will be in Political Science or Foreign Service, I really don't know enough about those areas to comment.</p>

<p>Everyone--if I'm interested in international relations / political science, does the fact that Princeton have the Woodrow Wilson School outweigh the academics of Harvard/Yale?</p>

<p>That implies that Princeton has inferior academics, which it most certainly does not.</p>

<p>So the answer to your question is no, as Princeton offers academics that are at least as good while still offering the WWS.</p>

<p>Sorry, I think I worded that wrong. What I meant was does the Woodrow Wilson School make studying international relations at Princeton better than studying it at Harvard or Yale?</p>

<p>For IR, look at this ranking:
Inside</a> the Ivory Tower - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Inside</a> the Ivory Tower | Foreign Policy
Harvard has the Kennedy School, while Princeton has the Woodrow Wilson School. The order for undergrad goes HPYS.
however, that's only meant to be taken as a reference point-there's plenty of flaws to this ranking method.</p>

<p>Name recognition should not be an issue in this mix. </p>

<p>They are all world-famous for good reason.</p>

<p>The quality and nature of the undergraduate experience might be a useful guide, in my view. Are you aware of "The Street" (Prospect Ave) at Princeton for example? The undergraduate colleges at Yale? The Houses at Harvard? Does any of these appeal?</p>

<p>Re: The Woodrow Wilson School.</p>

<p>I'm a Pre Frosh also interested in Business and Political Science, who just chose Yale over Princeton (WL at the other two).</p>

<p>After visiting both schools, it became very apparent to me that the Woodrow Wilson school is just one of the great programs at Princeton, and that Yale has a counterpart thats not exactly the same but is comparable called EP&E (Ethics, Politics, and Economics). The primary difference is the focus--Woodrow Wilson is a fantastic Poli Sci program, whereas EPE is a well rounded program that can prepare you for a track in law, business, or politics. Another big difference is that at Woody Woo, entrance is very competitive--and if you don't get in, you'll have to major in Politics which is a sort of second-class major in comparison to Woody Woo.</p>

<p>I actually know a kid who was deciding between Yale and SFS, and he picked Yale as well. We both loved the electric atmosphere of the Yale Political Union, and more than anything LOVED the fellow students. Of all the admitted student days, I havent heard any of them raved about more than Yales (although I heard MITs were close). I don't really know you, so I cant definitively say what you'd like. But if it were me, I'd choose Yale.</p>

<p>
[quote]
entrance is very competitive--and if you don't get in, you'll have to major in Politics which is a sort of second-class major in comparison to Woody Woo.

[/quote]
</p>

<p>Wrong on both counts. The acceptance rate is 50+%, and POL is by NO MEANS inferior to WWS. It's theory whereas WWS is policy -- a key difference. Your perception is just wrong on a factual level.</p>

<p>For what the OP is asking for, its an inferior degree--the OP is looking for International Relations in the end, not theory, am I wrong?</p>

<p>And there's absolutely no way you can tell me a program that only admits 50% at Princeton isn't competitive. The numbers are the same for EPE at Yale, but you can then major in a more narrow E, P, or E degree which may in fact be better than the EPE major anyways, depending on your career path.</p>

<p>On the other hand, if you go to Princeton for Woody Woo, you're flipping a coin to get in. It clearly is a competitive major--they reject half of the Princeton applicants! If youre going to Princeton for Woody Woo, I'd say beware.</p>