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Penn vs. UChicago?

oatmealiaoatmealia Registered User Posts: 113 Junior Member
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!
Post edited by oatmealia on

Replies to: Penn vs. UChicago?

  • MomofWildChildMomofWildChild Registered User Posts: 22,264 Senior Member
    I think Chicago sounds like a better fit for you. My son considering transferring from Penn to Chicago, stayed and Penn and is happy there. However, he felt that Chicago had a lot to offer, and the few concerns he had about it sound like they would be positives for you. Penn has a great math department once you get past the lower level courses (which are terrible), but Chicago seems like the place for you. It is an amazing school and the price is right!
  • oatmealiaoatmealia Registered User Posts: 113 Junior Member
    Thanks, MoWC. Out of curiosity, what were the negatives he identified (that would be positives for me)?
  • CollegeDKCollegeDK Registered User Posts: 110 Junior Member
    I guess he wasn't a nerd ;)
  • RZARZA Registered User Posts: 97 Junior Member
    you sound like you'd be more comfortable and u of c. fit is the most important part of choosing a college. if you feel that you would be the happiest at chicago, go there.
  • ilovebagelsilovebagels Registered User Posts: 3,499 Senior Member
    As a relentless Penn partisan, even I think that UChicago would be a better fit for you. Penn, however, would be better for the WildChild ;)
  • Ephemeral2Ephemeral2 User Awaiting Email Confirmation Posts: 817 Member
    i'll reverberate what others have said - chicago seems better for you.
  • HoosforGTownHoosforGTown Registered User Posts: 50 Junior Member
    Penn just launched an ambitious financial initiative to replace all loans with grants for families whose annual income lies below $100,000. This initiative becomes effective this fall, so you might want to take this into consideration.
  • MomofWildChildMomofWildChild Registered User Posts: 22,264 Senior Member
    He felt that there was more to do in the vicinity of Penn than in the vicinity of UChicago. He is not a nerd. He DID feel that Chicago might have offered a more intellectual education, but he also figured out some ways to create that for himself at Penn. He felt a little more comfortable with the east coast and the relative ease of getting to other cities.
This discussion has been closed.