Stanford vs UPENN (Wharton) vs Swarthmore (Free tuition) vs USC

You have great choices and the answer is not easy considering your theatre interest. You need to visit and talk to theatre majors at Stanford, Swarthmore and UPENN. USC offers a vibrant theatre and arts scene where you’ll meet and collaborate with some of the most talented and passionate arts students you’ll ever meet. You also have the opportunity at USC to minor in another field, without a large drop off in student quality or academics from your other choices. So you need to figure out if Stanford, Swarthmore or UPENN can satisfy your theatre interest.

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I think this is a bad analogy for the OP. She’s not a bench warmer at any of these colleges. This is a “special” student who is going to excel wherever she goes. There will be plenty of theater opportunities whether it’s major or club programs.

There really is no wrong college choice here but I would definitely pick Stanford over Swat or USC. And only pick UPenn Wharton if pre-professional is going to be your focus. UPenn is an intense environment and is not for everyone.

It seems as though the parents can afford any of your colleges so I would focus on best academic and social fit.


I’ve spent 35 years on Wall Street since getting my Wharton MBA trying to figure out ways to make a dollar out of fifteen cents. That is true creativity!


Bernie could do it :slight_smile:

Stanford. Great opportunities abound. The Farm is an amazing place. If you knew you wanted Wall Street, I’d say Penn but I’m not sure you’ll stick with Wharton or business. Apparently Stanford has a fine arts program and it has a global reputation.

That said If you like the Swat visit, you’ll be happy at all your wonderful choices.

Stanford is an amazing place for entrepreneurial minds. Wharton is great if you have a laser focus on a career finance. If you are unsure at this point, go to Stanford and find your passion. If finance turns out to be your true passion, Stanford can get you an analyst job somewhere and prepare you for a Wharton MBA (or Stanford GSB, or any other top b-school).

Those are fantastic options!

Yes, Swarthmore is pretty intense intellectually (as is Penn, but more in a pre-professional way). However, you will find many work hard/play hard students and won’t lack for parties or a cappella groups or theater opportunities. With all the money saved with that scholarship, you could go into Philly whenever you wanted and enjoy yourself. While small, Swarthmore does not lack in prestige or reputation.

There may be plenty of other reasons why you might prefer the other three. But the concerns you raised about prestige or lack of parties/performance opportunities seem overstated.

Congratulations and good luck!


Your interests seem varied, and each of the schools could be good fits in some areas.

So then there is cost. Swat wins here.

I’d say Swat, then. If you so desired, you could take advantage of the Quaker Consortium to take some classes at Penn… as well as Haverford and Bryn Mawr.

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Which school did you choose?

It’s past the decision date. Let us know which college you decided to go.

The decision date is actually tonight! I decided on Stanford for a variety of reasons. I realized I wanted the opportunity to explore a variety of areas beyond just theatre at USC or business/economics at Wharton and that I preferred a larger community to be educated in (rather than the LAC environment at Swarthmore). Stanford has a good mix of school spirit, top notch professors/resources, opportunity to explore myself socially and academically, fantastic arts programs, and a beautiful campus; my visit to Palo Alto this past weekend really helped solidify my decision. Thank you to everyone for your help!



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You made a good choice, Congrats!

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Ha! :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: