Northeastern vs. William and Mary vs. Santa Clara vs. Villanova (please help me decide!)

A little about me: I applied to the business schools/business majors of all the universities I applied to as I think I may want to go into business. However, I’m not a 100% set in business and want to attend a school where I can really figure out what I want to do as well as obtain good job opportunities.



  • Location
  • Co-ops basically guarantee a job after college
  • Good balance between social life and academics


  • Expensive but I wouldn’t be massively in debt
  • program (probably going to be in Boston this year which isn’t as fun as being abroad)
  • Bigger school (I’m more drawn to the small school atmosphere)

William and Mary


  • Prestige
  • Excellent academics
  • Very nice and quirky people


  • I have the “work hard, play hard” and the party scene seems very lackluster
  • Grade deflation
  • Stress-culture reputation
  • Boring location

Santa Clara


  • Beautiful campus
  • Near silicon valley (good connections)


  • No college town or city
  • Low name recognition on East Coast



  • Good business school with strong alumni network
  • High school spirit for sports
  • Service oriented


  • Vanillaova
  • Very preppy student population

I agree with you assessment of W&M, you should have applied to UVA nothing says business and “work hard, play hard” more than that

You have some very nice options there.

What’s your cost for each? Where do you live and is distance and/or travel costs an issue? Where would you like to end up working after graduation (field and geographically)?

All of these have relatively strong business schools. I find Poets & Quants as the best source (with real data) for undergraduate business school rankings. It has Villanova ranked 12 overall and 17 for employment, Northeastern at 16 overall and 16 for employment, William & Mary at 21 overall and 9 for employment, and Santa Clara at 32 overall and 32 for employment. But you appear to be uncertain on business or at least want to explore. I’d say William & Mary has an edge overall.

Northeastern is larger and more urban than the others. I think it may also seem less traditional. Villanova and Santa Clara are more suburban, while William & Mary is in a small city.

If you want to work/settle East Coast, Santa Clara might not be as well known or connected. Not sure that should really be deciding factor though.

You cite grade “deflation” at William & Mary. I don’t think recent data backs that up. (See the website.) Average GPA in 2014 at W&M was 3.33, which is quite high among public schools. Villanova was 3.37 in 2015. In general, pretty much all schools have grade inflation over time. Santa Clara and Northeastern are not in the dataset.

W&M is ranked 6th or so for “Happiest Students” in Princeton Review, so it is probably a good school for the right type of student. It is social in its own way, but not a huge party school (although with about 30% or so Greek).