Which is More Important?

<p>I just got back from Dartmouth, and am now trying to decide between that and Rice. However, I have a problem.</p>

<p>I liked the school of Dartmouth better</p>

<p>I liked the people at Rice a lot better.</p>

<p>I want to study languages, and Dartmouth has one of the best language programs, whereas it's said to be one of Rice's weaker departments. I am also into Linguistics, and I attended a class at both - both seemed pretty good. The linguistics class at Dartmouth had 120 students (kids wanting to get out of a math requirement take into. ling.), but the teacher seemed very nice, funny, and called on his students by name, so he obviously took the time to get to know all of them. I also went to one of the freshman seminars at Dartmouth, and really liked it. Granted, I didn't dislike the classes at Rice, I just liked them better at Dartmouth. Some of the school activities I attended (an improv show, a music performance) were awesome (but the kind of thing I would enjoy seeing, but not being it - I'm not that funny, and I don't play an instrument). I also liked the amazing study abroad opportunities, the campus, fact that its 3 hours by car from my house (i'm a new englander at heart and I also want to be able to spend time with my family), and, as much as I hate to admit it, I don't like the fact that no one outside of the south knows anything about Rice </p>

<p>My problem with Dartmouth was the social life. I mostly hung out with other 09s, and it seemed like all they wanted to do in the evenings was to find the fastest possible way to get really really drunk - it felt like another 4 years of my high school. Personally, I don't drink at all (though I have no problem with those who do), and, while I could probably find my own niche, as I did in high school, i didn't feel like most of the people were like me. While I know this goes on at every school, it seemed like there was nothing else. Maybe the 09s wanted to get it all in before going back home. I was also surprised by the behavior of the girls. At Rice, I never felt like I as on the sidelines, or just tagging along, as I did at Dartmouth. Also, Rice has Houston nearby, if I ever need to escape. Rice also has the residential colleges , which I loved (as opposed to the frats at Dartmouth, which I did not love). Finally, at Dartmouth, all the Hispanic kids were placed with Hispanic hosts, all the black kids with black hosts, etc. etc. My hostess's friends were all hispanic, and their prospies were all Hispanic, and so it seemed like I spent all my time with one group of people. At Rice, even though I was there specifically for a minority student weekend, I felt like the kids self-segregated a lot less. </p>

<p>Unfortunately, I went to Dartmouth with high expectations, and was disappointed, while I didn't expect to like Rice at all, and did, so that may be coloring my decision.</p>

<p>So, which do you think is more important? The school I liked better, or the people I liked better? Any advice would be greatly appreciated.</p>

<p>HI! My daughter is a freshman at Rice, and just finished up her 3rd linguistics class. Although she found the intro linguistics class not overly fascinating (it's a broader survey class) she loves the two (I think it's two) that she had this semester and is thrilled with the profs she has had. She is majoring in linguistics and will probably double-major in another area. In terms of lanaguages; she had 8 students in her Fall Spanish class, and thinks her prof is terrific. She was going to sign up for Portuguese or Italian next semester, but decided instead to spend another year doing two different Spanish classes - before adding another language. She is planning to spend a semester or year abroad Junior year - like over 40% of Rice students. Rice has TONS of study abroad programs - and when we went to the study-abroad presentation and fair at the Parent's weekend, we were blown-away by the possibilities. (You have to understand though, that most universities participate in consortiums that sponsor programs together, and also allow students to receive credit etc. for attending programs run by companies like ISA International Studies Abroad, and University Studies Abroad Consortium. You have as many or more opportunities for types of study abroad at Rice as you will at Dartmouth or at any other similar school. Rice does also sponsor its own programs and internships abroad, as well as offering generous scholarships for some of them. Also, your Financial aid - if you have need - can be used for study abroad, which I'm sure Dartmouth also allows.)<br>
In regards to the "strengths" of the programs, sometimes reputation just has to do with numbers. If a school has a large program in an area it gets a rep for having a strong program. Rice has a plenty great rep in all academic areas and you can't do wrong to go there. You will find that research opportunities abound. PM me, and if you would like I can try to put you in touch with my daughter and she can talk with you about linguistics.<br>
Part of the "lack of self-segregation by ethnic group" that you see at Rice may be due to the residential college system, but also because Texas is so multicultural that it's no big deal to be hispanic or African-American or Asian. Heck, more than half the kids in our school district are Hispanic...<br>
Rice may not be well known where you come from, but it is well-known by graduate schools, professional schools, government and key employers. Plus - the sky is blue and it is 75 degrees outside in Houston :)</p>

<p>It sounds to me like you'd rather go to Rice.</p>

<p>From what you've described, and the two schools involved, I think it should be "the people you liked better."</p>

<p>Reasons: [ul][<em>]both schools are excellent, you will get a great education at both places[</em>]what you have described as "people you liked better" really goes much deeper than that - it is a culture you like better at Rice [<em>] feeling on the sidelines is not what you want at a college; you want to really be able to enjoy feeling a part of what goes on there [</em>] finding more self-segregation than you want at a school is something you sound like you really want to avoid, and I would agree [<em>]you liked the classes at both schools, you just liked the Dartmouth classes a little better; once you get to a school, you will have some choices over which classes to take and can check profs reputations etc. to maximize getting the best classes[</em>]oh, and lots of people outside the South know of Rice - I am in New England, have lived in DC and California, have never lived in the South, went to Wellesley, Stanford and Berkeley, and have the highest respect for Rice as do many folks I know [/ul]</p>

<p>Good luck, both great schools; but your own outline seemed very telling.</p>

<p>it sounds to me that you like Rice better as a school, and the kids better. (perhaps you're just caught up on the Ivy label?)</p>

<p>Rice is an awesome school, and just as well regarded by grad schools and employers.</p>

<p>Rice. Trust your gut instinct. The best academics in the world won't do you much good if you are miserable. Best wishes to a future Owl!!!</p>

<p>Boy, you should have hung out with my daughter and her acquaintances at Dimensions - no wild partying there!
Many people outside the South are familiar with Rice, even though maybe not at your school ;). Go with your instinct, sounds like Rice is for you.</p>

<p>If you hate being there, it will be difficult to get anything out of your classes and to study. There is more to college than just the academics. That, you can get anywhere. And Rice's reputation is awesome! And you can, with a class that doesn't quite meet your standards do extra reading, research, etc., on your own time, just as you would for a class that you love. It's what you make of it. I am a foreign language teacher, and live in the Houston area. I have not heard a single derrogatory thing about the foreign language department, and beleive me, we hear it all! Be happy, fit in, and take control of your own education. You won't be sorry. Start out your future on a happy note, not on a down one.</p>

<p>at dimensions, they placed people with similar backgrounds together so that they would feel comfortable and see what dartmouth was like for someone from their same group, not just race but sexual orientation and religion too. dartmouth really isn't as segregated as you may have been led to believe at dimensions.</p>

<p>also, there are plenty of people who don't drink at Dartmouth. I went on the tour and the guide said that there are many who don't drink or who only drink occasionally.</p>

<p>my host had a horrible time at dimensions, but she still chose Dartmouth, and she absolutely loves it. i didn't go to a single frat party at dimensions, and i still had a wonderful time. i think once people are out of the high school environment where drinking is "cool" you will see a lot fewer people who are always looking to get drunk.</p>

<p>anyway, good luck with your decision (choose dartmouth!) and i'm sure you'll be happy wherever you go.</p>