I'm transferring next fall, and I just got my letter of acceptance to Penn (I was accepted to Chicago several months ago). I'm trying to decide where to go. It's likely that financial aid will be pivotal to the decision. Chicago has offered me almost full tuition without loans, which is very attractive. I have no idea what Penn's reputation for financial aid is, and am waiting for their aid letter.
Anyhow, I've already posted a topic like this on the UChicago board, but I'd like to get some perspective here. A little background: I've already done a year at my current school as a math major, and plan to continue to pursue math. I'm also very interested in the hard sciences, and creative writing (specifically poetry). I hear that Chicago has a stronger and more "mainstream" math department, and that they send a lot of their undergraduates to prestigious grad schools. I don't really know what the math department at Penn is like. I have heard that the creative writing program at Penn is great, however.
I've also heard that Chicago is a better place for nerds, and a nerd I am. I'm a bit intimidated by the pre-professional/wealthy vibe I get from Penn, and feel that I would be more comfortable at a school like Chicago, where things are a little more laid back. Penn is difficult to turn down based on such intangible factors, however, and I haven't had the chance to visit either campus (financial woes). I'm not interested in business, law, or any similar pursuits-- mostly in potentially attending grad school.
So, any advice/opinions would be wonderful. What is Penn's financial aid like (for a student probably in the lowest income bracket), what is the campus vibe like, is there a comfortable nerd contingency, what is the math program like, what is the writing program like, how does the "prestige" benefits, etc. Thanks!