Northeastern vs. Brandies

My D was admitted to both Brandies and Northeastern and I am trying to get more detail of the differences between the two schools? I have heard that Brandies may be better academically (and I know it did have a reputation as being a very solid school) and offer a more broad undergraduate experience. Can anyone comment on that or explain why they would recommend one over the other? We have watched the webinars from both schools and I felt that Northeastern came off better, both in terms of faculty and student energy, so also wondering if perhaps recently Brandies may be falling in the academic rankings? I would also appreciate it if anyone can comment on the Biological Sciences program and pre-med track at the two schools? Thanks.

As a science major the two schools are comparable academically. As a biology/pre-med major Northeastern’s coop program would offer a variety of work options, especially in the adjacent Harvard Medical Area.

In terms of campus atmosphere they are quite different. Brandeis is suburban, liberal arts focused. Brandeis is close to the traditional college experience, minus the athletics. Northeastern is urban with a professional/pre-professional focus. The campus is energetic and surprisingly defined physically for an urban school. Brandeis is essentially arts and sciences with a smal, relatively new business school. Northeastern offers a broad range of academic programs that are STEM heavy. Science, Engineering and Computer Sciences are among the largest divisions.

Thanks. That was my assessment as well. I think it’s a matter of fit and what you expect from an undergraduate experience. However, just wondering if any students at the institutions had any input that could make the case for one or the other.

Northeastern grad here, 100% agree it’s about fit. I visited both and left before even going on the campus tour as I knew it wasn’t for me (suburban location + focus/vibe).

I was CS but from what I know from my medical friends, there’s lots of research and clinical co-op’s to go around in Boston and I didn’t hear complaints on the academics either way - not too easy but no complaints about grade deflation or anything. Generally, Northeastern tends to land pretty in the middle there on the whole. Co-op is the main reason most pick Northeastern and that was no exception for people in the medical/sciences sphere.

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@PengPhils Thanks. Do you have any information on how long it takes the pre-med students at NEU to graduate? Do they typically finish up in four years or five and any idea on the number of co-ops they do during their undergrad and whether they were satisfied with their co-op experience?

When you graduate at Northeastern is completely up to each person! The most common patterns are either 4 years and 2 co-op’s or 5 years and 3 co-op’s. Some also elect for the 4.5 year style one. Incoming AP credit only helps adding in more co-op’s in less time. I don’t know many premeds just due to my social circles but I haven’t heard a negative review of co-op before truly :slight_smile:

From what I do know, pre-med students typically choose to do 4 years since there is a lot more schooling ahead. With a semester of AP credit coming in, that typically still gives room for a few summers and breathing room. Generally one benefit is that with co-op people often avoid the “gap” year between undergrad and med school some elect for, or they do 4.5 years and manage to cut that time down and fill it with medical experience via co-op’s.

Why is a co-op better than an internship?

Some considerations:

  • 6 months is 2-3 times longer than an internship (some even extend co-ops to 8 months)
  • The length often means you are able to work on bigger projects and take on more responsibility, and it also shows higher investment in you by the company, which often leads to more return offers.
  • A co-op is not just about the singular co-op but the program itself as a whole and the steps at each end of the process. It means more support in getting said co-op. Things like a separate advisor, a class to help with resume/job search, career center support, a large database of co-op's to apply to, etc.
  • A co-op program also typically means more total experience upon graduation. At Northeastern, you do 2-3 co-op's typically for a total of 12-18 months total work experience when you graduate.
  • More work experiences can also give you more chances to figure out what you like or don't like, both academically, within subfields of your field, or within corporate structures.

There are of course other factors - co-op programs are not the ideal fit for everyone. Of course an internship is still valuable and co-op’s are not required to get a job or do well, but those are some differentiators between the two.

Northeastern produced this video a few years ago to explain the difference between coop and internships.

I considered both schools when I was applying and honestly it’s about fit. I’m at Northeastern now for Biology and love it. I think the program here is really thought out and the faculty and opportunities available on/off campus and through co-op are amazing and are hard to beat.

Northeastern is in the middle of Boston surrounded by many different colleges, but Northeastern still has a bit of a campus feel to it although different than what Brandeis offers. While doing a co-op is not required, many do choose to do one which is a great experience as a resume builder and looks good for grad/med school but also offers the students a chance to do really whatever they want. They could decide to choose a clinical co-op and realize they don’t actually want to do that while still in undergrad which is helpful.

Brandeis on the other hand is more suburban that to me felt a bit isolated, I don’t think there are many nearby colleges. I honestly did enjoy the campus vibe it had and did get the feel that it was more of a broader education, for example I was interested in public health and I believe the major was a combination of health, society and politics which I thought was interesting. I’m sure their programs and faculty are just as amazing as Northeasterns and many other schools, but the environment is very different.

There is some type of shuttle bus that goes between Brandeis and Boston that I know a few people used to take, but I couldn’t imagine doing that very often. Both schools are great and if I recall are roughly the same price. I think it largely will come down to if your D prefers the more city vibe or suburban vibe. What I enjoy about Northeastern is that it does offer you that city vibe 100% but there are also little pockets of campus that make you feel like you aren’t totally in the middle of the city which is also nice.

Northeastern is more diverse and pre-professional. Brandeis feels like a small LAC and is less diverse (due to Brandeis’ heritage, the school is majority or close to majority Jewish student body).