Prestige vs. best!

<p>I'm down to two choices: Vassar and Duke.
I was all set to go to has the best public policy program in the country and since I may want to go to law school, it would open lots of doors for me. Nevertheless, I visited for Blue Devil Day this past weekend, and it just didn't seem to be the right fit. The campus was gorgeous and the administration was nice, but some of the negative stereotypes about Duke really seemed to be true. At the same time, I fully realize I could have just been having a bad day. Nevertheless, nothing clicked for me there. It also fully hit me how far I'd be from home - without any support system at all.
The atmosphere there just didn't feel right.
My other choice is Vassar, a school I've visited several times and loved. It just feels right to me - it's a warm place, I've sat in on classes, and the campus is gorgeous. My mom's best friend from college teaches there, and she lives right next door to campus...her family is literally my second family, and cheesy as it sounds, it means a lot to me to have someone to spend Thanksgiving with. The problem: Vassar doesn't have public policy (although it does have international studies and poli sci, both of which I'm really interested in). It also doesn't have the name-recognition and prestige of Duke. If I'm thinking about law school, doesn't that matter a lot? </p>

<p>I'm leaning towards Vassar, but I feel wretched about giving up on the school that's going to offer me so many opportunities. I feel I owe it to myself to do what's best for my future. Both schools are giving me an equal amount of money, so it makes the decision even harder :) </p>

<p>Thoughts would be appreciated.</p>

<p>don't get hung up on prestige!
it sounds like your heart is saying vassar, even the way you write suggests it, so if that's where you feel you'll click the best then by all means go there!</p>

<p>it'd be better to do well in a school you love than do average in another school because you might regret your decision or miss your family.</p>

<p>vassar, in my opinion, is just as equal as duke, so go with your heart no matter what anyone else says.</p>

<p>Sounds like you just have some natural fears, but they'll pass. Duke is the better school IMO. Better peer group, better recruiting, more institutional wealth. It's diverse enough for everyone to find friends.</p>

<p>No. Go to Vassar if that's where you'll fit better. Law school will not turn you down because you went to Vassar, just because some hairdresser in Seattle won't have heard of it.</p>

<p>Vassar will offer you many opportunities, too. The difference in prestige is not large enough that it should be a deciding factor. Go to Vassar, get a good, broad education and then go to grad school to focus on public policy.</p>

<p>vassar, hands down</p>

<p>Vassar is not equal to Duke, but that shouldn't matter to you. What should matter to you is where you want to go, and it seems like Vassar, so there you go.</p>

<p>I agree with most of the others. Vassar has been very prestigious for many years. Sounds like you'd be much happier there.</p>

<p>Better "peer group" at Duke? I don't get that one (because Duke competes with the ivies?), or how it would be important in any way.</p>

<p>you said it all yourself:</p>

<p>"nothing clicked for me there...The atmosphere there just didn't feel right"</p>

<p>why on earth would you pick to go there?</p>

<p>Go with Vassar. It has an excellent rep.</p>

<p>Peer group is not an important measure of a college?</p>

<p>No, you are ignorant of Vassar, where the peer group would be just as brilliant as at Duke. For instance 25-75 SAT's(for as many flaws as they have, a common comparison): 1360-1540 at Duke; Vassar 1340-1450. So the middle 50% at Duke would be comparable to that of Vassar(though Duke's does rise higher, it starts at practically the same spot).</p>

<p>Duke is an extremely good school, but not so much better than Vassar to warrant any qualms about choosing Vassar. Going to Harvard then dropping out because you hate it(or doing poorly, or living miserably, etc.) is 1000x worse for you than going to some CC doing well and having fun, and working your way up.</p>

<p>And Vassar isn't some CC.</p>

<p>Vassar is a phenomenal college, extremely selective and very well known to anyone who knows the Ivy League - it was Yale's sister school until Yale went co-ed. You will have a great opportunities there, too - the people who make decisions on internships and employment know Vassar. There is little difference between peer groups at Vassar or Duke. The difference is whether you want a small LAC environment or a larger research university. At Vassar, the entire emphasis is on teaching undergrads. That makes it a very different environment than Duke, but not a lesser one.</p>

<p>Thanks so much for all your input, guys...</p>