Stanford or Harvard, advice please!

<p>Hello all,
This happens to be my first post after lurking for two years on these forums ;^). My son has been accepted to both Harvard and Stanford and he would like to major in Chemical Engineering. </p>

<p>We would appreciate it if Students/Alumni could tell us which school is better for these types of engineering? What you see as the non-trivial advantages/disadvantages/things to consider about each school? If you had a choice, which school would you choose?</p>

<p>We always let our kid choose which school he wants to go to. At the same time, we would like to know more prestige about each school, so that we can offer him a bit of advice for his decision.</p>

<p>My son is planning to visit Stanford soon but Harvard is just too far for us (we live in west coast). Stanford will give him some Financial Aids and I believe Harvard will as well. If you could offer us some advice or help that would be greatly appreciated! Thanks to you all.</p>

<p><em>I posted it onto both Harvard and Stanford's forum</em></p>

<p>My advice: Follow the Chelsea Clinton rule - if you live on the west coast go to the east coast for college and vice versa. It's only four years and and a great way to experience more of the country and spread your wings.</p>

<p><a href="http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/harvard-university/897729-harvard-new-admits-look-here.html%5B/url%5D"&gt;http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/harvard-university/897729-harvard-new-admits-look-here.html&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/p>

<p>Stanford is hands down better for engineering. besides that, the decision should be based on personal preference- are athletics important? would he rather live in a city or in the suburbs? I've heard that Harvard treats its grad students a lot better than they treat their undergrads, but I think your son will get this at Stanford as well. In terms of prestige they are roughly equal, but Harvard does have that "wow" factor. haha however if someone ever gives your son crap for not having gone to harvard, he can always say that he was accepted but turned them down- I think thats even better ;)</p>

<p>Anyways, I hope this was helpful and congratulations on the awesome acceptances ( I wish I had to make the choice that your son faces)</p>

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My advice: Follow the Chelsea Clinton rule - if you live on the west coast go to the east coast for college and vice versa. It's only four years and and a great way to experience more of the country and spread your wings.

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People will tell you to go to Harvard regardless what you want to study, even counting how many teeth a donkey has.</p>

<p>"I've heard that Harvard treats its grad students a lot better than they treat their undergrads,"</p>

<p>Yeah, I've heard that too - but only from people who don't go to Harvard. Harvard undergrads that I know love the place and Harvard loves them back.</p>

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<p>Not me. If a kid who grew up in New England had the same choice I'd tell him to go to Stanford.</p>

<p>thats good to hear scipio.</p>

<p>It's not just random hearsay that Stanford has superior undergraduate teaching. Have a look here: Best</a> Colleges - Education - US News and World Report</p>

<p>I didn't see Harvard on that particular list.</p>

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<p>No, but what you did see was Dartmouth at the head of that particular list. And I have two daughters. One went to Harvard and the other is currently at Dartmouth. And based on what they have experienced, I can't see one whit of difference between the undergrad teaching at Dartmouth and Harvard. Both have been taught by smart professors, highly-accomplished in their respective fields, who care a lot about the students they teach. At both schools the profs are eager to help the students and readily make themselves available. And at both schools the profs will leave a given student alone if s/he prefers no contact with the professor.</p>

<p>And what is especially bogus is the claim that Harvard somehow treats its grad students better than its undergrads. Harvard College (the undergrad school) is the very heart of Harvard University. Its students are the true Harvardians, the princes of the campus.</p>

<p>The faculty of Harvard Medical School focuses on the medical students. The faculty of Harvard Business School focuses on the business school students. And the faculty of Harvard College focuses on the undergrads. It is their very job to do so. I don't see how anyone can look at the actual facts rather than rumors and stereotypes that they repeat to each other and think that Harvard somehow doesn't care.</p>

<p>Is my daughter getting a great undergrad education at Dartmouth? Most certainly. Did my other daughter also get a great undergrad education at Harvard? Absolutely!</p>

<p>coureur, it's great that both of your daughters enjoy(ed) their undergraduate experiences. The OP asked for help in comparing Stanford and Harvard and, while there will always be a variety of anecdotes to consider, the fact remains that Stanford is considered (by its peer institutions, as well as many others) to deliver a consistently higher level of undergraduate focus than Harvard. (As you noted, Dartmouth is also considered a superior provider of undergraduate educational experience.) Of course, Harvard has been aware of this situation for a while and has been taking steps to change both the perception and the reality in recent years, especially since its current President has assumed her position. What's remarkable about Stanford is that it has long succeeded in balancing the priorities of both its undergraduate and graduate populations. That is very difficult for a leading research university to do year after year. Rankings aside, Stanford undergrads more frequently report a high level of satisfaction with faculty access and other measures of undergraduate focus than Harvard undergrads do in published guidebooks and other sources. Again, it's great to hear that your own daughter's experience as a Harvard undergrad was so satisfying. S and H are both wonderful universities and the OP has many factors to consider in making a decision.</p>

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<p>Great, I used to buy into all that too. I was very worried for exactly that reason when my daughter chose Harvard over Stanford. But what I'm here to tell you is that reality on the ground didn't match the stereotypes in the guidebooks. Not for her and not for all her friends.</p>

<p>As with all schools, your mileage may vary. But the unhappy Harvard kid who is disappointed in the school, a stereotype you hear about all the time on CC, is the very rare exception and not all the rule. In four years of getting to know bunches of Harvard kids, I personally never met one. </p>

<p>And the point about Dartmouth is very relevant. Because Dartmouth consistently ranks even higher than Stanford in the polls and guidebooks. And the undergrad teaching is indeed great there - just like at Harvard. The point being that if Dartmouth is number 1 and Harvard is not even on the list, then they must really be splitting hairs among a lot of schools with excellent teaching in order to develop that list. The other point is that a few years of personal experience can go a long way in showing you where the guidebooks are outdated or simply missing the mark.</p>

<p>If your son's focus is engineering, I would choose Stanford over Harvard provided he likes them equally. Stanford is number 2 in engineering right after MIT. Harvard is #65 on the USNWR list for engineering schools. </p>

<p>My daughter is interested in engineering and did not even apply to Harvard becuase the undergraduate engineering program does not seem to be as well developed there are other schools. </p>

<p>If your son was interested in a different subject I may recommend Harvard over Stanford but in engineering I really think Stanford has the edge.</p>

<p>good luck! Those are amazing choices to have!</p>

<p>congrats. 2 great options. i agree with the above post about sports and i'd add to it weather. if your kid is active in sports and likes to do things outside it's hard to beat california weather. </p>

<p>weather is the #1 talked about subject on the planet...and there's a reason for that:)</p>

<p>stanford, harvard...they both impress me. i do think your kid should visit. i know it's not cheap but niether is 4 years in the wrong place.</p>

<p>While both schools are great, and your son would most likely have an amazing experience at either, Stanford is much better known for its engineering program than Harvard.
Nonetheless, Harvard's engineering is quickly up-and-coming, but at the moment, Stanford's faculty and resources in the area of Chem Engineering are IN MY OPINION (not stating a fact) superior.</p>

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And what is especially bogus is the claim that Harvard somehow treats its grad students better than its undergrads. Harvard College (the undergrad school) is the very heart of Harvard University. Its students are the true Harvardians, the princes of the campus.

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Eric Maskins, the Nobel Prize winner, once told me why he left Harvard and MIT after teaching at both for many years -- he just could not find time to teach and do research at the same time. He said the professors just could not care much about the undergraduate students, and he thought Yale was much better.</p>

<p>HAAHVARD doesnt even have a ChemE program people!</p>

<p>^ Thank you Rip Van Winkle.</p>

<p>Stanford every time. It is a better school, better location, better facilities, better people.</p>

<p>^You don't go here, so how can you judge? And "better people"..*** is that?</p>

<p>I visited for a couple weeks in both places, among others. Perhaps I don't know completely, but that is my experience from being there.</p>