Help me decide!! UTSG vs Swarthmore vs Brown

Intended major: Biology, but I want the freedom to take political science courses and perhaps minor in that.

Future plans: I’m currently planning on applying to medical school, but that could absolutely change and I’m in no way committed to that. Based on that I might change my major after starting.

  • University of Toronto St. George (Trinity College) *
  • Pros: Cost ($20k/yr), awesome city with lots of opportunities, extended family near Toronto, highly ranked.
  • Cons: Student life is diminished (commuter college), much less academic freedom than the others, lower quality connections with professors than the others, lower quality alumni network.
  • Swarthmore College *
  • Pros: Small class size, better connections with professors, close to my home, good alumni network, relative academic freedom.
  • Cons: Cost ($60k/yr), not a lot of research opportunities, grade deflation, small town = less opportunities, smaller course offerings than the others.
  • Brown University *
  • Pros: Class sizes are small but not too small, about 4 hours from my home, very close to Boston, excellent alumni network, most academic freedom, most research opportunities, academics are not as cutthroat but still excellent, and the Ivy factor (how much is this actually worth?)
  • Cons: Cost ($71k/yr) (I've appealed and I think they will match Swat), technically ranked lower than Toronto in USNWR global rankings.

I clicked on this thread to find out what “UTSG” meant. All I read was:

$20,000 per year vs. $60,000 per year vs. $71,000 per year and I knew the safest answer.

P.S. And then I wondered whether the $20,000 figure was US or Canadian.

Hi! I’m a student at Swat (bio major/pre med) and I want to say that most of your cons are actually false. The research opportunities here are only for undergrads and even freshmen can get published after a summer research opportunity. This is also a small town that is connected to Philly, I have volunteered and shadowed doctors at UPenn with no problem, plus swat has everything you need and it offers more than most big colleges do. The course offering one is both a pro and con - we offer really unique and cool courses that are focused on very specific topics that don’t exist at other colleges, especially not ones that are open to everyone (u don’t have to be an upperclassman, don’t have to belong in the major, or be in a specific school at that university, etc) but we do have less bio options but as a bio major, u will see there’s everything you could ever want (feel free to look at the courses on Swat’s website - it’s open for everyone to see) from marine biology or marine mammals to cell bio to animal physiology to neurotoxicology to astrobiology!
I’d pick swat, not because I’m biased (I actually also applied to brown) but because you would be paying less and Swat (and brown) both give u a better education than UTSG.

Hi, I’m a student who was seriously considering Swat at one point.

Cost is an important factor in this, and I don’t think it is worth it to go into debt to attend a school you can’t afford. Do the numbers you cited include financial aid?

I also want to second what the previous poster said about Swat. It is in a suburb, but it is a short distance away from Philadelphia via train, and I would not consider the location a disadvantage if you want a city. If you can afford Swarthmore, I would recommend you give it consideration.