UChicago vs. Haverford

<p>I'm sure that anyone replying here will favor UChicago, but I'd like some answers/explanations/ input anyway.</p>

<p>What college would be better for me? I know it is ultimately my preference, and I will get a great education at both, but I was hoping for some input.</p>

<p>I plan to major in science, mabye physics, math, possibly economics.</p>

<p>I intend on attending law school, so I obviously want to be prepared and able to get into a great law school. However, I could very likely change my mind about law school, but will go to some form of graduate school.</p>

<p>I'm a very social person, but I can easily separate my academic and party life.</p>

<p>I want decent flexibility in my curriculum, but don't mind fulfilling any core requirements. I want LOTS of options in courses. Also, I like the small class sizes that both have.</p>

<p>I feel comfortable with both campuses.</p>

<p>why would u major in math or science and go to law school?!?</p>

<p>Do I need to answer that? People can major in anything and go to business, law, and medical school. I don't really like political science or english as much as science, but that doesn't mean I can't be a lawyer. Look how many people are becoming engineers then going to law school. You can apply what you learn in any topic to your law skills.</p>

<p>I don't want to/can't answer your question, but maybe I can provide you with more information.</p>

<p>For course options and offerings, both depth and breadth, Chicago kicks the collective butts of Haverford/Bryn Mawr. That's not to say that both schools won't offer terrific classes with terrific professors (both will) but at Chicago you will have substantial course breadth as an undergraduate and be able to register in graduate school courses.</p>

<p>Haverford and Chicago both take themselves seriously in different ways. For Haverford, it's all about the Honor Code, and for Chicago, it's about learning for the sake of learning, core curriculum, etc. I think both are terrific, but the Honor Code wasn't my deal.</p>

<p>Both schools send off boatloads of kids to grad schools.</p>

My DH majored in CS and accounting. Worked for several years at a Fortune 100. Went to a top law school. Uses those CS/accounting skills every day -- amazing howmany lawyers don't know how to read financial statements or understand a systems analysis approach to problem solving. It's his competitive edge!</p>

<p>No educational difference between the two schools is anywhere as meaningful as their lifestyle differences. It isn't really even worth discussing; you can't possibly be indifferent between the two based on their social structures. </p>

<p>Haverford is a tiny, tiny Quaker liberal arts college in a ritzy suburb. There are suburban high schools where every class is larger than the entire Haverford undergraduate population. Chicago is a mid-sized research university in a decent neighborhood in the middle of a huge city; its conservative economics department is world-famous and attracts many relatively right-wing intellectual students. At Haverford, all students and even a good part of the faculty lives on a self-contained, set-apart campus. At Chicago, about half of the students living in university dorms aren't even in the main campus area, and only about half of the students live in university housing.</p>

<p>If you want to go to a college where you are really going to know everyone, and everyone will know you, go to Haverford. If you would like more students around, including lots of grad and professional students, and world-famous faculty, go to Chicago. If you want a suburban, compact, set-apart campus, Haverford. A sprawling urban campus, Chicago. Gothic architecture, Chicago. (Architecture of any sort, Chicago.)</p>

<p>Haverford has good access to central Philadelphia by train -- probably almost as convenient (but more expensive) than getting to the Loop from the University of Chicago, at least if you can leave to go back by midnight when the trains stop running. Philadelphia is somewhat small potatos compared to Chicago. That's both good and bad -- it's maybe a more manageable (and affordable) scale, but Chicago has more of everything.</p>

<p>Educationally, there are also some fairly significant differences. Chicago has a core curriculum, Haverford doesn't. Haverford has really intimate classes with a faculty dedicated to teaching. Chicago's classes are not superlarge, but even the small ones will tend to be bigger than Haverford's. The Haverford faculty is a teeny fraction of Chicago's size, and so are its course offerings. The ability to take courses at Bryn Mawr (a 5-minute walk) or Swarthmore (a long-ish drive -- really as far away as Penn) mitigates that, somewhat, but I have the impression that works better on paper than in practice, and all three colleges faculties combined don't equal Chicago's in breadth, depth, or reknown. But you will never meet a TA at Haverford, and 100% of the faculty is there because they like to teach undergraduates. Not so at Chicago; you have to work for faculty attention.</p>

<p>They are really apples and oranges -- they are both fruit (in this case, elite, intellectual colleges), but after that not very similar. Either would prepare you fine for law school. How do you want to live on your way there? That's the important question.</p>

<p>"why would u major in math or science and go to law school?!?"</p>

<p>Very desirable in patent law.</p>


<p>Your question definitely spoke to me. I am an alum of Haverford. I am also the Dad of a daughter who just went through the college search process, narrowed her choices to Chicago and Haverford, and then decided to apply early to Chicago. (She was admitted, and is looking forward to joining the Chicago class of 2012.) So for the past several months, we have been visiting and talking about these two schools. </p>

<p>As usual, Unalove and JHS have provided some great thoughts. Here are some other points to consider.</p>

<p>Range of courses. I agree with Unalove that Chicago has a much wider range of courses than Haverford. But there are two countervailing considerations. First, Haverford students can also take course at U Penn, so if your interests evolve in ways that go beyond the Haverford offerings, you can pursue those interests at U Penn. Second, if your interests are main stream (eg physics, economics, other typical liberal arts majors) you will find that even a small school like Haverford will give you plenty of choices and dilemmas about what to take. At either school, you would only be able to sample a fraction of the offerings. </p>

<p>If your interest is science, Haverford has a fabulous new integrated sciences facility and a new president deeply committed to a liberal arts approach to studying science. The new president -- Steve Emerson -- is an alum from the class of 1974, and double majored in philosophy and chemistry. He went on to do both an MD and PhD, was was running stem cell research labs at Penn before he was selected to be the new president starting this year. He actually brought two of his four research projects with him to Haverford. So Haverford was always a great place to study science, and is probably going to become even better.</p>

<p>I think JHS makes an important point that you will never see a TA at Haverford. In fact, once you get beyond the somewhat larger freshman/sophmore classes, it quite common for discussion seminars to end up being held in the professor's home. </p>

<p>In the end, I think my daughter chose Chicago for a few reasons. First, she was concerned that after 3-4 years, Haverford would feel small. Honestly, it can begin to feel small. When I was a student, back in the 1970s, students would usually take a break from Haverford by living at Bryn Mawr for a year. (I lived at BMC my junior year.) Now that Haverford is co-ed, almost no one pursues the dorm exchange anymore. So think about what kind of social experience you want to have in college. Does the prospect of knowing everyone appeal to you or scare you a bit?</p>

<p>Second, my daughter is a serious distance runner, and really liked the coach at Chicago. She wants to run in college, and so for her finding a good match with the coach was critical. I raise this point because you should think about what you might want to do outside of class. Although there are some things you could do on either campus (eg student newspaper, student government), there are some things that would be much, much better at U Chicago and in the city of Chicago (eg performing arts).</p>

<p>Finally, and perhaps most importantly, go with your gut feel. My daughter spend alot of time just talking to students. She just loved the time she spent at Chicago -- the kids she met, and how they treated her. Chicago just felt right to her. </p>

<p>Hope this helps. Good luck with your college search.</p>

<p>Chicago for three major factors:</p>

<li><p>Breadth of course offerings as at any sizable school. </p></li>
<li><p>Relevant career prestige. Even if a LAC is comparably selective to Chicago by say SAT scores, the only ones that really stack up decently against it (or any Ivy) in corporate eyes are Amherst, Williams, Swarthmore and Wellesley. In this vein, Haverford is in a definitively lower league in terms of post-baccalaureate placement along with the likes of Middlebury, Wesleyan et al. Of course, if you go straight to a top law school this becomes almost entirely irrelevant. </p></li>
<li><p>A talented science student can max out the UG curriculum at any LAC. This is impossible at a top tier research university due to the graduate offerings. Once again, this is not specific to Chicago but research universities at large.</p></li>

<p>^"Of course, if you go straight to a top law school this becomes almost entirely irrelevant."</p>

<p>Of course, law school placement is verifiable whereas corporate placement tends to be entirely anecdotal. I would say, that on the East Coast, UChicago is viewed along the likes of WUSTL.</p>

congrats to your D on her successful college search - and welcome to these boards.</p>

<p>How about Amherst vs Cambridge (UK) for a science-oriented undergrad-to-be? If you (or your son/daughter) had a hard time choosing between them, what would be the wisest advice/guidance you would give him/her?</p>

what a fabulous choice. Assuming the $ aren't a big factor, I would look at the departments of interest in each, as well as what specific profs are up to. If you child is interested in physics or astronomy I can ask my husband about it. </p>

<p>Unless there are familiy reasons for staying close, I am a believer in the big boot out of the nest, and would choose the farther one (if your student is resilient) on that basis. As we get older, our lives tend to get more constrained. If one has the chance to do something wonderful early on ... what a fabulous gift.</p>

<p>Thanks ohio_mom for reminding me to enjoy the wonderful choice my S has. After the first joy, one gets used to it, and the toughness of the decision takes over. </p>

<p>I'm all stressed out, thinking this is so important, it cannot be taken lightly etc. Anyway, I like your big boot out of the nest theory! For us that would be the US (we're EU).</p>

<p>Amherst is my favorite of the high-powered LAC's - and should be WAY up there on the 'well cared-for undergraduate' scale - so HE should be fine whereever he goes. For us parents - its a rough adjustment only seeing our kids once every 3 months - and harder if they couldn't make it home over the quarter breaks. Be sure to check with Amherst on break arrangements. </p>

<p>A co-worker's D did a study abroad stint in France. His family went to visit her over Christmas break last year, and had a wonderful time - so you might have an excuse to visit snowy Chicago next year.</p>

<p>Don't these two colleges have about equal placement into top grad schools/jobs after graduation?</p>

<p>Will Haverford likely give me more financial aid?</p>

<p>Will I be taught by TA's at Chicago? That would be a big problem for me probably.</p>

<p>1) I don't know. I think grad school has a lot to do with what you do as an undergrad rather than the school you go to, particularly when we are talking about two excellent schools like Haverford and Chicago. You can either choose to challenge yourself at Haverford or challenge yourself at Chicago.</p>

<p>If SAT is an indicator of student strength, the two schools have similar midranges, so I'm inclined to think that the students at both schools are about equally strong (that inclination is somewhat corroborated when I think of my friends at Haverford and my friends at Chicago).</p>

<p>2) According to collegeboard.com, Haverford's FA packages average 83% grants and scholarships while Chicago's FA packages average 80% grants and scholarships. That doesn't necessarily mean that your package at H. will be better than your package at C.</p>

<p>3) I've found that grad students can be excellent teachers, and in some ways, better than the big time profs. I've had my fair share of profs here, from the top of the top names to the lowly peons in the department, and I haven't noticed much of a variety in teaching quality. (Of my two fave profs so far, one is a bigtime professor emeritus, one is a grad student). </p>

<p>I've found that grad students will go out of their way to be helpful, as many of them are about to enter an extremely competitive job field of finding tenure-track professor positions, and they will use all the support and good evaluations from students and from higher-ups that they can. Grad students are also younger and tend to empathize with students more than the older profs.</p>

<p>If you have a major objection to being taught by grad students, you could probably go your entire college career and never be taught by one (they might lead discussion sections, though).</p>

<p>Of course, there are going to be some duds, both among tenured profs and grad students. But that's where course evaluations come in handy.</p>


<p>My advice to you is to spend as much time on both campuses as you can. Do an overnight here (and if you're from the Chicago area, see if you can visit the school and sit in on classes on more than one occasion) and do as much as you can with Haverford. After you spend time with both schools, you will either a) like the schools equally, and know so much about both of them that you'll feel comfortable making a decision based on aid package, travel expenses, dorms, or some other tiebreaker, or b) like one school more than another for a variety of reasons that are important to you.</p>


<li><p>Post grad: Yes – but a qualified yes. You, as an individual, putting out a similar effort at both schools, will see very similar (and excellent) placement opportunities into law and grad programs. Job recruitment in business fields from top firms may be broader at Chicago, but it can be argued that this is compensated by perks offered by having a committed Haverford alumni base in the Northeast.</p></li>
<li><p>Financial aid: No – could fall either way. No deeper pockets at one or the other.</p></li>
<li><p>TAs: Yes - qualified. As per unalove, TAs will teach (generally) some intro/core classes as primary instructor at Chicago. Otherwise, they assume their principal role running discussions/labs. Course evaluations help with profs, won’t often help with grad students though – often no reviews to look at given their limited histories at Chicago teaching. </p></li>

<p>Addendum: Re: Ohio_mom's support for Amherst. I'm a fan as well, but actually might argue Haverford and other LACs offer a better choice for you. Given your interest in the physical sciences and math, you’ll find that places like Swarthmore, Haverford and Williams on the East Coast will generally have a stronger following with larger numbers of grads represented in those majors and more PhDs yielded. In the Midwest, Carleton, Oberlin and Grinnell are especially strong. Out West, Reed and Pomona are probably the go-to choices.</p>

<p>Six of one, half a dozen of another? Ultimately, as has been said so many times before, get to know the schools as best you can and go where you feel you’ll have your best four years. These are very different places and will offer very different experiences.</p>

<p>? Comparing UChicago to Haverford is like comparing Penn to Swarthmore.</p>