uchicago vs upenn vs columbia

<p>Aside from the Ivy League bias, which in my opinion could be the only real advantage Penn or Columbia has over Uchicago, how do you think these uni's compare?</p>

<p>I'm a big chicago fan, by the way; beautiful architecture, the best grad programs in the world, in chicago, etc.</p>

<p>Garner admission to all three and then post this. </p>

<p>Such discussion before a thick envelope is in your mailbox is a bit odd if you ask me. Apply and cross your fingers like the rest of grade "A" American high schoolers.</p>

<p>The non-academic differences are much greater than the academic differences. </p>

<p>For starters NYC > Chicago > Philadelphia. But NYC $$$ > Chicago $$ > Philadelphia $. And Philly is a much more student-oriented city than NYC or Chicago, where they could really care less about students.</p>

<p>Penn sports >>> Columbia > Chicago. Penn has a much bigger greek scene than either of the others. Columbia has less campus activity because NYC really sucks people out of the campus. Penn is much closer to fun stuff in Philadelphia than Chicago is to fun stuff in Chicago. At Columbia, most people live on campus because it's cheaper than anywhere else that's convenient and reasonably attractive. At Penn and Chicago almost everyone winds up off campus for at least their last two years, because there's lots of cheap, attractive, convenient housing.</p>

<p>Penn has twice as many undergraduates than Columbia or Chicago, with more diverse specialized interests. Penn is much more pre-professional in character than either Columbia or Chicago; Columbia meaningfully more so than Chicago. A quarter of Penn students go to Wharton; Columbia is in the financial capital of the world; Chicago (the city) offers business internships aplenty, but the business/financial environment is way more low key than at Penn or Columbia. Chicago doesn't have an engineering school; Columbia and Penn very much do. Chicago and Penn both have world-class hospitals and medical research facilities right on campus; at Columbia, that stuff is a subway ride away.</p>

<p>Penn, of course, has no core curriculum, and not too many general education requirements. Columbia and Chicago both have really strong, time-consuming cores. The Columbia core is completely one-size-fits-all, which means every first year is doing the same thing at the same time. Chicago is more like a limited Chinese menu (one from Column A, one from Column B . . . ), which means its core can be sculpted to individual tastes more, but provides less of a common experience for everyone.</p>

<p>Beyond that . . . the universities are really comparable academically. X department may be slightly better at one than at the others, and vice versa, but the academic quality (of students and faculty) is really not a point of distinction. </p>

<p>Columbia seems way more politicized in a nasty way than Penn or Chicago. Because Columbia thinks of itself as the top university in the center of the world, it has the delusion that what happens there matters, which means people grandstand a lot, and outsiders get involved, to the detriment of free academic discourse. Penn and Chicago are both more chill in that regard. Chicago has a strong intellectual conservative tradition. The students at Penn are probably more politically conservative, on average, but at Chicago the liberal-conservative debate is constant and very respectful, and almost no one hews to some defined party line.</p>

<p>Finally -- Columbia and Penn are 90 miles apart on the East Coast. Chicago is in the midwest. That makes a difference to lots of people.</p>

<p>I already got in and chose Penn, I just wanted to see what others think.</p>

<p>I agree with uchicagoalum. Apply. Wait for results. Then choose.</p>

<p>The differences for a lot of students will be paltry.</p>

<p>Columbia and Penn were never even on S's radar. Chicago was head and shoulders above for what he wanted. (S was a Penn legacy, too.)</p>

<p>OP -- Are you currently at Penn?</p>

<p>The only disciplines Chicago is head and shoulders above Penn/Columbia in are math/physics. Otherwise, Penn/Columbia are 2 of the best represented universities in the top 10 of the NRC rankings (the rating of departmental quality in each subject). Chicago is too, obviously, but Penn/Columbia are also at least as selective and have higher ranked undergrad programs, so I was wondering what the draw might be.</p>

<p>Also, with all due respect, Penn is far more selective at the undergraduate level than it used to be. All rankings that express this place it in the top 10 nationwide, tied with Columbia at 6th or 7th. So, although you or your husband's opinion of Penn may be somewhat negative, that is jaded by the past years of relative unselectivity, when you may have attended. Just my 2 cents.</p>

<p>For the record, I think Chicago is a gorgeous school, with an incredible faculty and an intensely intellectual atmosphere. It is every bit the academic paradigm that HYP/Penn/Columbia etc. are.</p>

<p>And yes, I am currently enrolled at Penn.</p>

<p>My H had no intention of making my S apply to Penn, legacy or not -- it was S's decision all the way. My point was that if my S had wanted an Ivy, applying ED with his stats and legacy status would have given him a very decent chance. H has no complaints about Penn at all -- his UG and grad expereiences have served him quite well.</p>

<p>S is a math major -- and the opportunities he has had already at Chicago are incredible. Without going into detail here, I can safely say these things would NOT have happened at Penn or Columbia.</p>

<p>I challenge the notion that a certain school is "better" than another is a given area-- it's all about what you're looking for, whether the program offers it, and whether there are a few faculty whom you "click" with and wouldn't feel uncomfortable asking for recommendations from.</p>

<p>My brother went to a school very "good" in its field and decided not to take advantage of all the special offerings his school had for him in his program. That was his choice, but I think it stranded him a little on his job and internship search, which he did entirely on his own even though he didn't have to.</p>

<p>Perhaps the NRC rankings help establish academic prestige, but I anticipate that after graduation the fact that the University of Chicago has academically prestigious programs will be irrelevant for me and the programs I'm looking into. I can't expect my future employers and hiring people in the field I want to go into and the specific way I want to go into it to know the U of C... although..... another part of the same field is LOADED with U of C people, SPECIFICALLY U of C people.... </p>

<p>Anyway, what intrigued you about Chicago and Columbia, what made you decide on Penn? Are you satisfied with your Penn experience thus far?</p>

<p>Having just visited all 3 schools I think JHS' descriptions in post #3 are pretty much dead on. All 3 are terrific schools and anyone would be lucky to attend any of them ... there are definately differences in the experiences in the 3 cities (although similar compared to picking a rural LAC for example) and in the educational experiences (core or not) and in the feel of the student population. Again I would think almost all students would find a place at any of the schools ... but they certainly might have a preference for one over the other.</p>

<p>At the undergraduate level one must look beyond departmental strength (though important) and rankings of various sorts to what type of undergraduate teaching and curricular philosophy best suits an individual. I do not know Penn or Columbia well, so I cannot help, but I would recommend looking into things like, is there an emphasis on faculty training for undergraduate education, has there been a systematic design of the undergraduate curriculum and what outcomes is it designed to produce, are there overriding principles of education that cut across disciplines? All of these exist in some fashion at Chicago, interested students may want to discover what they are and compare them to others. A good place to begin is with Don Levine's (former Dean of the College) book Powers of the Mind, which describes in detail Chicago's efforts in this area and recommends plans for the future.</p>

<p>I don't think I knew enough about the schools when I made my decision. I'm still very happy with it, but I just think I should have given Chicago more of a chance. That's all. It didn't really end up mattering, because I'm not a hard sciences major, but it would have been interesting to know what would have happened at the other end.</p>

<p>Haha, I play the "What if..." game with other schools all the time. It's a casualty of spending too much time on CC.</p>

<p>College is 90% what you make of it, so I have a feeling your Chicago imagined experience and Penn experience are more similar than they are different.</p>

<p>I like to think that students don't give Chicago the consideration they should, but that's mostly an ego massage on my part. You had three great schools to choose from and you could only choose one of them. You implicitly rejected two from consideration. Come back to Hyde Park for grad school if you still want to see what we're all about.</p>

<p>It's actually a bit more complicated, not that it matters. It was between Chicago and Cornell at first, but I was originally beguiled by the whole Ivy thing, which was truly a stupid move, but I was miserable at Cornell, so I transferred to Penn, and also applied to Columbia, and was thinking of applying to Chicago again... anyway. Not really interesting.</p>

<p>Need to put both shoulders behind your decisions. I know it's easier said than done, but only then you will find your niche.</p>

<p>lemme, think. I do believe that UChicago and Columbia wins nobel prizes and field medalist. Correct if im wrong, but Upenn certainly doesnt seem to do that.
If you want world class faculty columbia and Uchicago are the place to be.
Columbia copied its core from the UChicago. Forbes rated UChicago undergraduate to be 4th best in the nation behind princeton, harvard and yale. Oh Columbia and UChicago are tanked top 10 internationally, correct me if im wrong but UPenn isn't in top 10.</p>

<p>The Forbes report also ranked Wabash and Kalamazoo in its top 10, I don't think anyone really respects that. Penn also win Nobel Prizes. True, however, that UChicago and Columbia have stronger math than Penn. But Penn has much better bio-medical than Chicago and Columbia, so it's kind of arbitrary of you to name fields medals as a method of sorting universities.</p>

<p>At the undergraduate level, though, I think Penn, Columbia and Chicago are all about the same. In fact, both US News and The Atlantic monthly corroborate this.</p>

<p>Correct me if I'm wrong, but English is not your first language?</p>

<p>This all depends what the word same means in this context. In one sense student outcomes could be claimed to be the same, however, it is unlikely a common evaluative criteria could be agreed upon, in another, each is quite different from the other. Chicago has held a very special place in curricular and pedagogical innovation in higher education, and it is in the school's DNA to continue that tradition.</p>

<p>I found this quote by Robert Pippen, a U of C prof, speaking at the Zimmer announcement press conference about the search for a new president:
As we traveled... we would ask for what the view form the outside was of The University, and we would hear... The University is the purist of universities, dedicated to research, creation of new knowledge, and education more than any other, that it is a kind of intellectual hothouse, that the value of ideas and the life of the mind mean more here than anywhere else. We heard this so often that I was tempted to ask, 'So what is it you do?


<p>I think this difference is best represented in the inaugural speeches of the new university presidents at Penn, Columbia and U of C. Though each may be equally as "good" it would be difficult to call them the same, or for that matter, what a student can expect to experience.</p>

<p>Penn:</a> Presidential Inauguration: Dr. Amy Gutmann's Inaugural Address</p>

<p>Office</a> of the President Lee C. Bollinger: Inaugural Address</p>

<p>The</a> University of Chicago Magazine</p>

<p>Great summation, idad.</p>