Harvard vs. Yale vs. Princeton

<p>Okay, so here's the deal. My mom wants me to apply to (at least) one of these schools. The problem is, I don't know anything about them. I know that they are all very different schools, however I do not know what those differences are. Can someone please compare these schools or just supply any information you have about them so that I can make an informed decision about to which one I will apply? Thanks so much! :D</p>

<p>Harvard is in a fun urban setting, Yale is in a gritty urban setting that's getting better, and Princeton is in a pleasant town about an hour from NYC. </p>

<p>Princeton and Yale have mostly gothic style architecture; Harvard has a lot of red-brick colonial buildings. </p>

<p>Harvard is the biggest name. Yale and Princeton are better known for the quality of the undergrad experience. </p>

<p>Harvard and Yale are both in areas with many interesting ethnic restaurants, but Princeton also has several Indian and Thai places along Nassau Street, where students go. </p>

<p>Right now Harvard and Yale are more diverse than is Princeton, though through a variety of measures Princeton is actively seeking to attract more URMs; at Princeton, unlike at my kids' hs, people of various races tend to socialize together. </p>

<p>One big plus of all three schools is that you don't just live in a dorm. Students have access to deans and advisors who are all directly involved with their residential unit, which is either called a residential college or a house, and these offer speakers series, trips to the theater and ballgames, and easily accessed advisors. Yale is organized into a residential college system; you belong to the same residential college for four years and you live in it after freshman year. Princeton, by the time you start, will have moved from a two-year to a four-year residential college system in which you live for all four years; however, if you only want to be in a residential college for two years, you have that option as well. At Harvard you and seven other friends form a group sophomore year and live in a "house" together as juniors and seniors; the houses have activities just like the residential colleges. </p>

<p>Yale and Princeton seem, by most accounts, to have a more campus-centered social life, whereas Harvard students socialize with students all over the Boston area. </p>

<p>All of these schools are full of outgoing students with a strong sense of self who are talented, trained, and eager for participation in a variety of pretty sophisticated extracurriculars in the arts, politics, and sports. They all offer excellent academic opportunities for students and have lots of money to give grants for thesis research and summer study. People say that you have more access to professors at Princeton and Yale than at Harvard, but I know students (extremely outgoing, resourceful kids) who made very strong connections with professors there, too. </p>

<p>I am hesitant to say anything in favor of one of these schools over the others, because I think a lot has to do with what your interests are, what your EC preferences are, and what kind of living environment you seek. My own d, for instance, was very attracted to Yale but chose to apply to Princeton instead because Yale had almost nothing at all to offer in her primary EC. She absolutely loves Princeton in every way. I think the differences among these three schools are probably somewhat exaggerated on these and other boards. </p>

<p>Princeton is the only one of the three that is ED, which is bad if you want to compare financial aid offers but good in that a higher percentage of applicants are admitted than under SCEA at the other two schools. </p>

<p>People can probably better respond to your question by knowing a little more about your interests, both academically and extracurricularly, and about the kind of social life you enjoy.</p>

<p>Which of the three has the best theatre EC? Can non-majors participate?</p>

<p>I know Yale has an incredible theater program. I'm not sure how accessible it is though.</p>

<p>There was a black guy who went to jail then attended Yale's theater program.</p>

<p>Yale is known for its theater. However, all three have lots of theater, including academic programs, official extracurriculars, and student-run productions that spring up around campus or in the residential colleges. Go to their websites and search on theater and you will find more to do at any of these schools than you could possibly have time for.</p>

<p>Princeton focuses more on independent work. They have junior papers and everyone has to do a senior thesis.</p>

<p>It sounds like your mom must know all about them, since she thinks they are good for you. Why don't you ask her how each of these schools are a good fit and why. Ask her about the fit academically and if the core suits you.</p>

<p>The problem with just applying to one of the HYP colleges is that you can't predict which one will accept you. The basically same application could yield different results at each college. For example, in my D's case last year--the basically same application sent to H, Y and P (well, P had some different essay questions) netted her one acceptance, one outright rejection, and one waitlist. So if you decide that you like H, Y and/or P, I would apply to each one that fits you. I know Harvard and Yale use the common app--does Princeton?</p>

<p>Yes, princeton does. But their supplement is pretty substantial (2 extra essays and some other stuff)</p>

<p>Yeah, Princeton's app is built to test people's love for the university. You need endurance to get through it all, but it's really satisfying once you do, lol. That's for both the Princeton app and the Common App w/ Princeton Supplement.</p>

<p>I still love the Princeton app though. They really try to get to know you.</p>

<p>Exactly. I felt better about the whole process after having completed it. Warm-and-fuzzies, most def</p>

<p>I absolutely love the Princeton app.</p>