Should I go to Wharton or Macaulay honors college?

I don’t know if I should apply ed to Wharton as opposed to applying rd to Macaulay honors. The only thing that’s holding me back from applying ed is the financially binding aspect of the agreement.
I want to go into business, specifically entrepreneurship (not because of money, but because of autonomy), and I know that you don’t need to go college to be an entrepreneur, but my parents insisted that I go to college. If I’m accepted to Wharton, My concentration will be in the Innovation & Entrepreneurship program. I already took four entrepreneurship courses from Wharton on Coursera and really enjoyed them. The one thing holding me back from applying early is the financial aspect of it. The early decision agreement from UPenn is binding, meaning that I would have to enroll no matter how much financial aid I get. I know the only way of getting out of the agreement is if you don’t have enough money to pay, but the problem is I don’t know how much the difference will be between how much financial aid I get and the amount I’m able to pay. The price calculator they advised me to use from the college board estimated my costs to be around $10,500 in the middle with it reaching as little as $3,500 and as high as $17,500. Just to be clear, I wouldn’t pay anything above $25,000 to go to Wharton even if I’m accepted, because of the financial restraints that it would put on myself and my parents. The advantages that I feel Wharton gives are the connections you make, the Wharton brand (the fact that the school is widely recognized) , the faculty, and their venture lab. On the other hand, if I’m accepted and enroll into Macaulay honors college, my campus of choice would be Baruch College and I would go for their entrepreneurship BBA (though I don’t think it’s comparable to that of Wharton). The big advantages that Macaulay provides are free tuition, a free Mac Book, cultural passport for NYC, access to a Macaulay Opportunities Fund grant of up to $7,500, and it’s near home (I live in NYC). I need your advice to help me make a decision. Please share your honest opinions as I’ll take them all into consideration. Thank you for the time you took to read and answer this question!

The best way to become an entrepreneur is to have an idea, and then have a broad background (not just in business- in psychology, history, communications, etc.) in order to build your idea into something profitable and sustainable.

You do not need to major in entrepreneurship- that’s just marketing. Wharton is a fine school, Macaulay offers tremendous opportunities.

I don’t understand why the Wharton Net Price Calculator is giving you such a wide range of costs- unless you’ve got a complicated financial situation (divorced and remarried parents, own a small business or investment property) their NPC should be relatively straightforward. Exactly what are your parents prepared to pay?


Wharton meets need. It’s worth it applying ED there.
Macaulay is a great program but in terms of resources and opportunities it’s not Wharton.
If the NPC indicates amounts that are affordable (and it sounds like it does) then It’s the best option.
Btw you can apply to as many colleges as you wish rolling and Rd alongside with ED. If Wharton has REA you can still apply to public universities. Simply if both admit you and if Wharton is affordable, applying ED means you must choose Wharton.


Both target schools offer outstanding programs in your area of interest.

Not sure that Penn’s ED agreement is “financially binding”. In fact, the financial aspect is typically cited as the one widely accepted reason for passing on an ED admission. If correct, then you can apply to both schools.

Either option is a great opportunity. Wharton has a world wide reputation,while Baruch gives you financial freedom including the freedom to pursue a specialty masters degree or, after several years of post undergraduate work experience, the freedom to pursue an MBA degree.

An undergraduate degree from Wharton could be an entree into the consulting profession. In management consulting you will learn how to run & grow a variety of businesses that you can later utilize as an entrepreneur.

Thank you for your response, duly noted.

Thank you for your input, duly noted.

My parents are prepared to pay up to 15k. You make some interesting points. Thanks for the response!

I’m assuming that you are a very strong applicant. Are you also an underrepresented minority? I’m thinking that you might not need to apply ED to Wharton to maximize your chances of admission - maybe you have a good chance of getting in RD.

I think you should be exploring other options, too. There are a lot of schools that might be perfect for you, that are slightly less selective than Wharton, and that might also offer you great financial aid. If you need a great fin aid package (which it sounds as if you do), you need to apply more broadly.

However, Penn is one of the most generous schools in the nation. Unless OP plans on applying to HYPSM, which would be less good for that specific field than Wharton but probably more generous, most colleges would not be able to offer a better financial aid package.
Even with the highest NPC estimate, parent contribution could be about 11K, with the 5.5K federal loan and a summer job OP would have it covered - and when Penn makes its estimate, it includes the cost of clothes, miscellaenous such as pizza and toothpaste, etc., which a frugal student can easily cut on.
(My basic understanding is that OP is above Pell but still low EFC, so Penn and “generous full need universities” would be the best deal and best ROI for OP.)

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Babson College may be of interest to you as a back-up option.

Both Babson’s undergraduate & graduate (MBA) programs are, or recently have been, ranked #1 for entrepreneurship.

At least look over the course offerings at Babson in order to understand the curriculum for your area of interest.

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As a legacy applicant, it is crucial to apply ED and not RD to Penn.

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I’m not a legacy. Does it decrease my chances in ed?

Thanks for the helpful information, I appreciate it

Penn fills half the class roughly from ED as yield is prized. Legacies (and recruited athletes) really must apply ED to be considered, so they make up a good percentage of ED applicants and admits. Penn expects legacies to be committed to attending to be considered.

It would not be as detrimental for a non-legacy to apply RD, though the admit rate for that round is traditionally much lower. Admissions has a new director this year, but it remains to be seen if the approach changes. Public statements have indicated a continuation of past policy.

I wish you the best of luck with your decisions.

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both programs are highly selective - admit rate under 10%.
They reject lots of high stat applicants every year. Even without knowing your stats, they are both a reach, treat them accordingly. Apply to both and see what happens. If one, or both accept you, you have a decision to make. Not before.

Apply broadly and be sure to include a few matches and safetys

Good luck.

Thank you so much!

Thank you!

Since Penn appears affordable (under 25k) per the net price calculator I’d take a shot and apply there ED. I think the professors, your peer group, the resources of the college etc. would give it an advantage over Macaulay honors college. But for full disclosure, I’m a Wharton alum (many years ago).

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Few break the binding so make sure you can afford what the NPC says and you can even ask for a pre read. Some schools will… Many people “err” when filling out the NPC - what they think their finances are are not when they submit CSS. As you have some concern, I wouldn’t apply there.

For entrepreneurship, Babson is rated highest. Granted, Penn is 5th…

I fear ED…but that’s me…i’m cautious. If they want you, they shouldn’t attach strings to that…I know they do…but that’s me.

The parents can afford 25K. The highest they’d have to pay at Penn would be 10-12K. And Penn strongly favors ED applicants.
(And it’s only binding if it’s affordable, but this student is lowish income so universities like Penn are likely the least expensive - it is a “generous, full grant” meet need university and doesn’t calculate “meet need” with loans so that the student can choose between work study and subsidized federal loan, or can take both and decrease their parents’ contribution).
Bottom line, though, it’s not an either/or: Penn ED, Babson EA, Macaulay Priority. :wink:

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