Columbia versus U Chicago

My son just got off the Columbia waitlist and needs to decide between that and U Chicago (he applied regular decision).

Thinks he wants to study economics and go into PE or investing.
Is a bit wary of a heavy maths related econ course
Is outgoing and social
Is not a intensely academic kid - knows how to work hard and make the grades
Has extended family / friends in New York to offer a support system

He is leaning towards Columbia

Main reservation is the lack of a large campus experience at Columbia & safety around Columbia campus (my concern not his).

He's also still on Princeton waitlist - but not sure that will move.

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Comments (14)

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
May 22, 2021 - 9:58am

Safety around uchicagos campus is worse fwiw, literally on the south side of Chicago. 

These schools are interchangeable and splitting hairs from a academic reputation standpoint. That said, they are different in terms of location and atmosphere. I'd suggest having your son visit the campuses if possible. Otherwise, if your son wants to go into finance I'd argue proximity to New York might make things easier. That said, Columbia certainly has a specific New York vibe to it that he may or may not like. Similarly, uchicago is very much known for having a student body that is at the extreme end of being unsocial. Your kid should make the call and you should tell him whatever call he makes it's his life and you will support him.

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  • Prospect in IB-M&A
May 22, 2021 - 10:24am

"Thinks he wants to study economics and go into PE or investing" - Both are honestly amazing for this, I don't think you can go wrong.

"Is a bit wary of a heavy maths related econ course" - Columbia 100%. Not that Columbia econ is easy, it's just Chicago is a different breed.

"Is outgoing and social" - Again, Columbia. U Chicago is where fun goes to die and Columbia is in the relatively undisputed capital of the world.

"Is not a intensely academic kid - knows how to work hard and make the grades" - Once again, Columbia. U Chicago is intensely academic and known as where fun goes to die for a reason.

"Has extended family / friends in New York to offer a support system" - I can't speak to your son's personality, how much/what kind of support he needs, and dynamics with friends/family, so won't comment on this.

If I was your son, I would go with Columbia (but I'm also a retard that went to Rutgers so you can't trust me too much haha)

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May 22, 2021 - 3:01pm


Both are amazing schools, but Columbia seems the easy option here. Esp given your son has a support system in NYC. Both schools are high pressure and having family in the area will really help. Also, if he goes to Columbia, there's a better chance are he'll end up working in NYC after and would benefit even further from having family in the area.

Good luck to your son! 

May 22, 2021 - 3:02pm

I have friends who went to both. Definitely Columbia over UChi. He'll be in a much better environment, whereas UChi will drain the life out of your son. Recruitment is slightly better at Columbia but honestly not that big of a difference. If he gets Princeton though, I'd absolutely choose that over these two. My friends who went to Columbia didn't like their lack of having a campus experience. 

  • Works at Perella Weinberg Partners
May 22, 2021 - 6:22pm

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