WashU or Northwestern... can't decide

<p>okay i got accepted as a Chemical Engineering major at both schools. Now I'm kind of leaning towards changing to some sort of biology/biochemistry major though. </p>

<p>I havn't visited either school (parents said it was pointless and refused to pay), but i hear WashU's campus is really nice. dont know about northwestern though.</p>

<p>i read on one of these topics that washU's biology program is at or near the top in the rankings. is that true? how does northwestern compare in the biology rankings? </p>

<p>also, what is the process for switching majors either before or after arriving on campus? is it the same for northwestern? i heard its pretty easy to transfer from engineering to the sciences... is that true? can i just call the admissions office during the summer if/when i decide to switch majors?</p>

<p>also for WashU i read on the website that they offer a special major in biochemistry and molecular biology? the description of it makes it sound like a second major added onto the normal AB degree in biology. is acceptance to the double-major really competitive or is it more like if you can meet requirements ur accepted?</p>

<p>how are the research opportunities at either school? can you get involved if you want to as a freshman/sophomore? </p>

<p>any suggestions/comments on why i should pick one school over the other would be great. oh yea and does anyone know a current undergrad at WashU in biology/chemistry/engineering that i could email with questions? im also deciding between which school on my waiting list i should make my first choice: cornell or hopkins.</p>

<p>For cornell/hopkins, I say go hopkins definitely.</p>

<p>Wash U / NW were tied for the ranking of 11, so they are both excellent.</p>

<p>Wash U offers a research prog called summer scholars in biology something, but you should know whether you're in or not already. Did you apply to any special programs at NU, like ISP or MMIA? Wash U also offers special academic programs there. Both are excellent. Wash U campus is prettier than NU's. You should do fine at either. Go find rankings of your intended major and just use that. Oh, and I would highly recommend a visit, contrary to your parent's opinion.</p>

<p>no i didnt apply to any special programs at NU. the only one i saw was ISP, but i didnt like it cuz you had to take classes in geology and also i didnt take the SATII in chemistry or physics so i wouldnt have been eligible.</p>

<p>"Wash U also offers special academic programs there. "
such as?</p>

<p>and where can i find rankings of my intended major? </p>

<p>i would visit but it's a bit too late now.</p>

<p>any info on the procedure to change majors?</p>

<p>I know a chemical engineering prof at Northwestern.......its a far better school for chem engineering than Wash U, but i dont know much about the rest of the school.</p>

<p>I would go to Northwestern.</p>

<p>Go with Wash U!</p>

<p>Deffinately Wash U</p>

<p>how is it too late to visit? I'm going on thursday.</p>

<p>I say Northwestern!!! First of all, NW has such a better national reputation than Wash U, which is basically only regarded as a good school in those US News Rankings and for their shady admissions policies. NW is in the BIG 10 and its campus is gorgeous and has stronger academics. GOOD LUCK!</p>

<p>Dog 87, where are you from? Cuz where I live (Miami, FL), Wash-U has much better reputation in academics and simply in general than Northwestern. Also, Wash-U has an incredile biolology/bio-engineering program. In fact, in terms of bio-engineering, I believe it ranks in the top 5 in the country. Also, if you are interested in medicine (as many bio/bio-engineering majors are), Wash-U's medical school is consistently ranked in the top 3 in the country, along with Harvard and Johns Hopkins. Although I am not going to Wash-U, I was accepted there, and visited twice (Fall Weekend and Scholars Weekend). The people there were incredible, and a freshman I met there took us to the lab where she was researching at the Wash-U medical school. So yes, freshmen are given opportunities to research at Wash-U. Anyways, as you can tell, Wash-U would definitely be the choice for me--Northwestern simple doesn't compare in my book. </p>

<p>Good luck!</p>

Princeton c/o 2009!!!</p>

<p>I say go with Wash U...</p>

<p>MightyChip26, with all do respect, I do not think that you are giving the above poster accurate advice. I mean, your observations of the school and students is one thing and Wash U is a great school. In the world of academics, and you can go check any list or rankings, whether it be Princeton Review, US News, Wall Street Journal Feeder List, NW consistenyl ranks higher in terms of academics. Even on US News, look closely at Wash U's peer assessment score out of 5.0, and you see it is only at 4.1 compared to 4.4 at Northwestern which is tied with Dartmouth. Also, doesn't it seem quite odd that the school recently changed its name to Wash U in St. Louis b/c no one even knew where the school was located. I mean the school uses shady admissions policies, but that is besides the pt. Go to whatever school you feel more comfortable with. The fact that this guy says Wash U is regarded more highly in his native S. Florida is just a pure observation, not a fact and do not take it as a fact. Ask any employer or someone who is involved in the academic world, and you will find that NW is by far the more prestigious of the two. GOOD LUCK!</p>


<p>I believe you are the one that's misinformed or giving false information. First of all, Northwestern has been well-regarded for much longer time. It's peer assessment score is 4.4 whereas WashU is 4.1. I just don't see how in Miami, WashU has better name. WashU has med school but Northwestern has Kellogg (well-known in the world) plus a lot more top-20 programs in the nation. Secondly, WashU bioengineering is not at #5; it's actually ranked lower than Northwestern. It's very young (established in 1997) however and it's possible that its bioengineering will rise rapidly in near future. But for now, NU's bioengineering (actually called biomedical engineering) is better ranked and is quite good itself. Despite what promoters may tell you, I doubt an undergrad get much chance to get involved in anything in the med school unless he/she is really exceptional.</p>

<p>I don't know of anywhere on the planet where WashU is more regarded than Northwestern, except maybe St. Louis.</p>

<p>It's a tie.</p>

<p>Because of geographical considerations and other similarities, so many kids year after year face exactly this same dilemma. And so many suffer the proverbial "paralysis through over-analysis" by trying to objectively distinguish between two fine institutions.</p>

<p>NU is an excellent school. Always has been. Do well there and most jobs of your choice, professional schools, and grad schools are open to you. NU has long been a favorite of the East Coast'ers, when they want/need to get away from their own schools, and accordingly NU has always received respect from the largely East Coast biased rankings.</p>

<p>WU? The prevailing "Wash-U is a sham because it manipulates the ranking" sentiment is so amusing to those who know Wash-U well. Since at least the late 1960's, this school has been an unknown gem, particularly in the sciences, and was favored by many academics when sending their own kids to school. After years of being known as one of the best "lesser-known schools," Wash-U clearly devised an entire marketing scheme to become better known. Say what you will about the mass-mailing practices of their office, they have shot up through the rankings. But, here's the key point -- the school is fundamentally the same outstanding school it's always been -- only better as the higher profile has brought in even more money for better teachers, better facilities, not to mention that the higher selectivity has taken an already impressive student body and made it truly (or nearly) elite.
Like NU, do well at WU and options open for you to the same extent as with NU (perhaps one exception might be for those interested in the heavy business arenas like investment banking, where WU will simply not generate the same foot-traffic for recruiters in those arenas).</p>

<p>My advice would be to spend less time agonizing over which school is "better" on any kind of objective measure (because there IS no answer here -- they are similar enough that somebody can always make a good contrary point), and spend more time truly considering which school FEELS better for you. Off the top of my head, I can think of at least six kids I know well (including my son) who have made this choice in the last 3-5 years. Of these six, three chose NU, three chose WU. Each seems happy with their choice. But, ultimately they chose on entirely subjective factors.</p>

<p>For my son, the reasons he chose WU included: he liked the idea of semesters more than quarters; he liked less frats and less sports emphasis over more; and he simply felt that WU seemed "happier" and "sunnier" than NU. There are many who believe that a very high percentage of students who attend WU are simply delighted to be going there. This is a "feel" issue of course, but I've been a life-long Chicago area resident and know hundreds of people who have NU connections, as undergrad students, grad students, professional students, faculty, and administrators. This can be debated, of course, but I believe that NU is afflicted with a greater percentage of kids who are attending NU as a "second-choice" to somewhere they didn't get in. I'm purposely not using the term "Ivy reject" because NU is a world-class institution and no kid going there is a reject in any sense. But, some people do believe that a campus simply "feels" different when a higher percentage of kids are there by default rather than by choice.</p>

<p>Having said all of that, my son was debating this decision until the 11th hour. Then, WU chimed in with another difference between the schools -- merit aid. It's funny how a hefty merit package can act as a tie-breaker.</p>

<p>Best of luck with your choice. In my opinion, you can't go wrong.</p>


<p>"Then, WU chimed in with another difference between the schools -- merit aid."</p>

<p>Do you mean that WU gave your S merit aid before the decision deadline that broke the tie? If so, do you have to ask for it or it just came down from the sky?</p>

<p>Thanks for the great post.</p>

<p>He applied for a particular merit scholarship. At some schools, merit money does fall from the sky -- i.e., they make decisions on offering merit automatically as part of the admissions process -- but I believe Wash-U requires additional applications (additional recs, essays, etc.) for their various merit scholarships.</p>

<p>He found out about the scholarship at the same time he found out about his acceptance -- about a month prior to their published acceptance date. NU's acceptance came a month later. Clearly, WU uses merit money as an enticement and a way to break ties. In my son's case, even without merit money, he was leaning towards WU, but we somehow didn't feel the need to turn down their kind offer.</p>

<p>wow thank you all for such thorough answers... especially you DudeDiligence. i don't plan to join a frat and im not big into sports so i think WashU may be better. </p>

<p>also does anyone know how Tufts compares in the rankings for biology/chemical engineering/biotechnology?</p>

<p>oh puh-lease</p>

<p>NU is the clear best choice.
I'm not sure about tufts biotech though.... eh, why would you pass up NU and the city of Mayor Daley. Heck... since I am a politician I will evaluate it in terms of political events. </p>

<p>Dick Gephardt, representative from Missouri was House Speaker when Gingrich took over in 1994.... loss of power from nat acting to discipline the dems</p>

<p>Mayor Richard Daley... while being critisized for his yelling of expletives during the 1968 Democratic Party Convention in Chicago(which was accompanied by massive protests). He was an effective leader. In fact, the current mayor Daley was picked as one of Time magazine's best mayors</p>

<p>I dont know if that helps you, but, eh, I would pick NU.</p>