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Penn vs Rice

PSLifestylePSLifestyle Registered User Posts: 7 New Member
Hi everyone! I'm a rising senior and I'm having a tough time deciding about which school I want to apply ED to. I would love some advice / guidance / insight into these two schools.

At Penn, I would major in biology and minor in history; at Rice I would major in history and minor in biochem. I would be on a premed track at both schools.

Things that are important to consider:
-Strength of Biology / History / Spanish programs
-Difficulty of classes
-School atmosphere / culture
-Viable study abroad options (Spanish speaking country)
-Availability of research and internship opportunities
-Pre-med advising
-Debate Team
-Dating life for a gay guy

I visited both, but the problem is that I also loved them both. Here are the unique pros and cons of each:


pros: smaller school = closer relationships between students, laid back atmosphere, happy students, OWeek, residential college system
cons: smaller school + Texas + not many other schools in the area = poor dating scene for gay people, weather


pros: I like Philly more than Houston, dedicated and hardworking student body, love the east coast, "ivy league" (fwiw)
cons: expensive, maybe a bit too intense / stressful, Wharton exists

Thanks so much!

Replies to: Penn vs Rice

  • Much2learnMuch2learn Registered User Posts: 4,386 Senior Member
    Penn's student body is very accepting of the LGBTQ community.

    Having access to a top 5 research hospital on campus presents a lot of opportunities for research and other experiences.

    Wharton is less than 20% of students and I am bet you will discover that you like many of them. Don't believe what others say.

    You can get a great experience at either school. I think you should attend where you think you will be happier.
  • Penn95Penn95 Registered User Posts: 1,989 Senior Member
    edited July 11
    @PSLifestyle Wharton is not a con for Penn it is more of a plus. It provides access to classes and internship/job opportunities to all Penn students that are really not afforded at other top schools.
    For example It offers many great healthcare management classes that many pre med kids routinely take.

    Penn overall has a better LGBTQ scene, stronger research/internship opportunities because of the top Med school and hospital.

    Penni's generally ranked higher for bio and history but that shouldn't be the tipping point especially for undergrad.

    I don't think Penn has more difficult classes or more GPA deflation than Rice. Prob the opposite is true since all the ivies are a little bit inflated ( though Penn def does not have huge grade inflation like Harvard or Brown).
  • runswimyogarunswimyoga Registered User Posts: 919 Member
    I have an lgbt son who just completed freshman year at Penn. If you have any specific questions feel free to message me; I can ask him and get back to you.

    He loved it. Best decision of his life by far... Worth every penny!

    Penn has a vibrant lgbt community that looks out for/helps one another across all schools through alumni contacts/ internship/ diversity programs etc... opening up lots of great opportunities. This has been most impressive to me.

    Penn also has many lgbtq social groups making it very easy to find your "fit". There are many avenues at Penn to get involved with the community. Philadelphia has a vibrant "gayborhood" and many avenues to get involved if you wanted to venture outside of Penn too.

    Son has many (freshman/ rising sophomore ) pre-med friends who are all doing research this summer. Very easy to get research opportunities -even freshman year! Very easy /multiple study abroad opportunities available too.

    Wharton is a plus not a con, agree completely w @Penn95 about the opportunities available to all students-You will want to take some of the fantastic healthcare management classes taught by leading academia, don't miss out.

  • Cue7Cue7 Registered User Posts: 2,239 Senior Member
    edited July 13
    How has no one on this thread (especially @Penn95 - who is a veritable fountain of knowledge for all things UPenn) mentioned the excellent Penn LGBT Center??


    This is a fabulous resource for the Penn LGBT community - it's an actual building, and the admin here are awesome. They host lots of events, and are a fantastic hub for the LGBT (and broader) community.

    Re Penn v. Rice, it's all going to come down to fit, and the schools will feel VERY different. Rice has a much more vibrant on-campus housing culture - the college houses (or residential colleges) are about the strongest you'll find for any university not named Yale. Loads of students stay in their residential college for all four years at Rice, so it gives on-campus housing a different feel.

    Rice is also a lot smaller than UPenn, and it'll feel that way. If you want a big private school, Penn will feel that way. Rice, just by virtue of being a lot smaller, will have a different, perhaps cozier feel. (For all the words one can use to describe UPenn, I don't think "cozy" is one of them.)
  • runswimyogarunswimyoga Registered User Posts: 919 Member
    edited July 13
    Funny, my son has mentioned to me that Penn feels a lot smaller than it actually is. He doesn't think it has a big school feel at all even though it is a fairly big school. If that makes sense.

    Sometimes for lgbt students, smaller is a problem as the number of lgbt students is less and its harder to find dates (op was worried about the dating scene) or a sense of community.

    I read somewhere on Penn's website a statistic that the class of 2020 had 8% who identified as lgbt. Wish I could find that demographic flyer again, but you could probably call Penn's (fantastic!) LGBT Center and ask for numbers. Penn has been one of the first to ask on the Common App for those self identifying as lgbt. To me, this shows their commitment to really supporting and including the LGBT community in the larger campus community. Its hard to support those you dont count... so Kudos to Penn!

    Yes- the LGBT center is fantastic and is a haven for any kind of info or support you would need. Lots of ways to get involved son said. They run a trip to IVY Q which is like a two day conference for all ivy lgbt students (or heaven son called it :) )

    I don't know anything about Rice- sorry.
  • Much2learnMuch2learn Registered User Posts: 4,386 Senior Member
    One thing I would add about Penn is that while they have a sizeable LGBT community, another important factor is that the vast majority of the straight students are completely comfortable with it.

    It is nice to be able to be in a place where people accept you for you. You don't need to pretend or hide it. They just don't see it as a big deal. It is like every school should be, but we just aren't there yet.

  • Cue7Cue7 Registered User Posts: 2,239 Senior Member
    edited July 18
    I agree with @Much2learn - the UPenn LGBT community (and broader support for it) is really good. The admin has also done a good job of supporting this (monetarily and otherwise).

    I don't know much about Rice, so I can't speak to its LGBT community.

    Here's an old thread on Rice's LGBT community: http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/rice-university/898085-gay-life-at-rice.html

    Unsurprisingly, just like Penn, it looks like Rice has a pretty great LGBT community, judging from that thread. (One poster called Rice "amazingly accepting," so it looks like the vibe is really good.)
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