Would it be dumb to turn down Princeton for Dartmouth?

I got into Princeton in the early round, and I'm starting to have second thoughts. The only reason I didn't apply to Dartmouth early is because I wanted to keep my options open, and not make a firm commitment to the school.

I visited Dartmouth last year, and felt like I'd fit in really well. I liked the fraternities, the close-knit community, the laid-back environment, the outdoorsy interests, etc. I liked pretty much everyone I met too. I come from a pretty competitive high school, and it'd be nice to be in a place where kids aren't so cutthroat, which Princeton, with its grade deflation and mandatory senior theses, might be..
Would I be foregoing any opportunities in the business world by going to Dartmouth over Princeton? Does Princeton really have better recruiting?

Also, I know that getting in to Princeton does not necessarily guarantee getting in to Dartmouth.. I'm just really hoping I do.

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Comments (32)

Dec 19, 2015 - 6:45pm

Princeton? It's a noticeable name brand advantage but you're still in the ivy league.

You also don't have to make the choice yet it sounds like. Apply and see if you really have the choice. If you don't, I'd take Princeton.

And yes the school as a whole may be very cutthroat but both colleges are large enough that I guarantee you'll be able to find a niche there.

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Dec 19, 2015 - 6:46pm

Also for future reference should have been posted in the schools section, sicne the question doesn't pertain directly to IB.

Dec 19, 2015 - 6:55pm

We all know that that 90% of the post was filler. "Better recruiting" for IB is what he's concerned about ;)

"Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt." --Abraham Lincoln
Dec 19, 2015 - 6:58pm

But he's asking about IB recruiting at each school. This is also for undergrad, not b-school.

OP, I would apply to Dartmouth and attend admit days for both schools before making a decision. It's okay if you're still set on Dartmouth--you can always go to a place that closely resembles Princeton if you choose to go to b-school in the future (the resemblance being closer to HBS/GSB).

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Dec 19, 2015 - 7:31pm
undefined:

yes it would be dumb, though not nearly as dumb as the guy who turned down all ivy league schools for U. Alabama..

Not sure I'd consider it dumb. He had a full ride to Alabama, and was wanting to live in the South after graduation and work in a field where "preftige" matters considerably less than it does in finance. If you're going to be able to get the opportunity you want either way then why on earth would you think that 400 grand in debt is worth prestige? It's very literally the difference between this kid living like a baller after he gets out of med school vs. him penny pinching in a shitty stuido apartment.

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Dec 19, 2015 - 8:05pm

"why on earth would you think that 400 grand in debt is worth prestige"
---> This explains the underlying misunderstanding in the "full-ride vs. name school argument". This makes sense if you are turning down a full ride to your flagship state school to go to some non Williams/Amherst liberal arts school in rural Virginia for 65k per year no financial aid. The simple fact of the matter is that he chose Alabama free over like 50k in loans to Harvard (cuz the Ivys give a ton of money to literally everyone and this kid obviously didn't come from money).

It's actually been examined in a paper I read about how decisions in choosing college attendance and extracurricular participation in college exacerbate economic inequality.

The simple fact of the matter is no one cares if you turned down an Ivy, they only care about the school you go to. Furthermore, people from lower socioeconomic backgrounds (being far away from where the wealth, power, etc is), often don't have the luxury to be infused with the idea that 50k debt coming out of Harvard (I GUARANTEE you he got like 60+% off the sticker price at least) has a 100x return on 0 debt coming out of U of Alabama...it's an "investment', which many people in that kid's situation don't have the luxury to be informed.

This doesn't even include the generation benefit of your kids having an amazing shot at these schools due to legacy, and their kids, and their kids....

Best Response
Dec 20, 2015 - 7:46pm
undefined:
Furthermore, people from lower socioeconomic backgrounds (being far away from where the wealth, power, etc is), often don't have the luxury to be infused with the idea that 50k debt coming out of Harvard (I GUARANTEE you he got like 60+% off the sticker price at least) has a 100x return on 0 debt coming out of U of Alabama...it's an "investment', which many people in that kid's situation don't have the luxury to be informed.

This doesn't even include the generation benefit of your kids having an amazing shot at these schools due to legacy, and their kids, and their kids....

Did you not even read what I said? If you did, are you even capable of analyzing things from the perspective of a college kid desperate to get into IB? The kid is dead set on becoming a doctor. Not the researcher kind, the patient-seeing kind. If he performs fantastically academically(which he would at either school), he's not going to have a problem getting into a top tier medical school.

The usual metrics by which someone like you would evaluate schools, like MBA recruiting and the availability of On campus recruiting for "prestigious" finance jobs simply don't apply to this kid. Not everyone has a career path that will directly benefit from "prestige", whereas others do.

Or let me put it a way you MIGHT be able to understand: If he wanted to go into finance I would agree with you 100%. But he doesn't. He's going into a career where you're going to make the same amount of money whether you went to undergrad at Harvard or any ranked state school. It depends on med school, and it's not like any med schools are going to turn down a bio/pre-med major with a 4.0 GPA from a flagship state school, perfect test scores, and leadership extracurriculars.

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Dec 23, 2015 - 8:10am
Bigass_Spider:

undefined:yes it would be dumb, though not nearly as dumb as the guy who turned down all ivy league schools for U. Alabama..

Not sure I'd consider it dumb. He had a full ride to Alabama, and was wanting to live in the South after graduation and work in a field where "preftige" matters considerably less than it does in finance. If you're going to be able to get the opportunity you want either way then why on earth would you think that 400 grand in debt is worth prestige? It's very literally the difference between this kid living like a baller after he gets out of med school vs. him penny pinching in a shitty stuido apartment.

work on that passive voice

“Elections are a futures market for stolen property”
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Dec 20, 2015 - 10:48am
undefined:

yes it would be dumb, though not nearly as dumb as the guy who turned down all ivy league schools for U. Alabama..

You don't work in IB and didn't got to a either undergrad school. What made you decide to reply?

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Dec 19, 2015 - 7:52pm

They're both ivy league schools so really it isn't as pronounced of a difference as some may claim. I'd go to Princeton if given the choice though for personal preferences because they also have a world-class masters in finance program. Maybe IlliniProgrammer can offer some advice on Princeton.

Dec 19, 2015 - 8:30pm

If you can't get a good job coming out of Dartmouth, then the problem would be you and not the school. Do whatever you want, if you get accepted. Both schools are great.

Dec 19, 2015 - 8:39pm

Go to whoever gives you better financial aid. No point taking out debt or more debt than you have to for undergrad.

If that is not an issue, go with whatever school you like more, the difference between recruiting at Princeton and Dartmouth would be pretty negligible. Dartmouth is one of those few schools that has megafund PE and major Hedge funds OCR, you won't limit yourself by going there. Eventually you will see that getting a good job is MUCH more a function and reflection of you as a candidate than the school name on your resume.

In many ways, Princeton and Dartmouth are much more similar to each other than the other Ivys. Both are more rural and much more undergrad focused, where the schools resources aren't getting funneled off to support the big grad schools.

Alumni networks are also very receptive at both places, so no advantage at either. You can't go wrong, so this is a rich man's problem, but also remember that college admissions are such a crapshoot that there is no guarantee at all that you will get into Dartmouth. Just apply and figure it out from there.

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Dec 20, 2015 - 9:08am

No offense, but this is a pretty retarded question. The drop off in OCR/alumni benefits are not at all significant enough to warrant this question - a few searches should've revealed that.

Go to the school where you'll kill it. That's seriously what matters. Being unhappy and unfulfilled - traits that manifest in your GPA, ability to network with alumni, extracurricular accomplishments (that often require support of your peers), etc. - matter much more than marginal increases in prestige. I can attest for a fact that if you do well at Dartmouth, anything is possible.

The only caveat may be if you're looking to study something like engineering. You may be better off at Princeton in that case, but I could be wrong. (Pretty sure engineering requires another year at Dartmouth.0

Dec 20, 2015 - 11:53am

Pick Dartmouth. Princeton has a brand advantage, places better, and probably will have better academics. That being said, if you are happier at Dartmouth, that is where you should go. This would be different if you were deciding between a non-target and Princeton, but Dartmouth does get recruiting (albeit less so than Princeton). Dartmouth also has some of the most loyal alumni in the country. On paper, Princeton is the clear choice here, but some times what's on paper does not matter as much.

Dec 20, 2015 - 1:44pm

A few questions just to vet the preference for Dartmouth:

1.) Have you visited campus at Princeton?
2.) Any difference in financial aid?
3.) Have you looked at a top tier state school like UVA, UMich, UT Austin, Berkeley, UW Madison, or Illinois? If it can save your parents some money, all of these schools have engineering programs that outrank most of the Ivy League. Students there will be even more down to earth, the opportunities coming out of engineering at a school like UIUC would be comparable to Princeton (at least in tech and trading), and it could save your parents a couple hundred thousand dollars if one of those schools is in-state.
4.) Competitiveness does not end in college. If you go to a Big Ten state school or even to Dartmouth and wind up in banking, you will have to deal with a culture that is a little bit tilted in favor of Harvard and Yale. It may bug you or it may not.

Coming from UIUC undergrad, I honestly think that the differences between Dartmouth and Princeton are pretty subtle. Namely, both are very elite schools with lots of rich kids and lots of competitiveness (this is more true at the undergrad level than in grad school). The crazy competitiveness will get a little bit nuttier among kids who are aiming for consulting and finance (however this is true at every school, even UIUC). Both have really big networks and both can get you into finance. And the actual differences in outcomes are minute to the extent they exist.

But before you turn down Princeton, visit campus. Climb Cleveland Tower. Drive down Mercer Road. Have lunch in the cafeteria. Imagine how much fun we have at Halloween-- or what it's like to have a motorcycle around campus with all of the roads to check out. Take the train to NYC, and imagine going clubbing with a bunch of classmates or going to an interview at a bank.

There's really little difference between Dartmouth and Princeton in terms of culture, career outcomes, and prestige. They're both Ivy League schools. One is in an NYC suburb; the other is more rural. Both have competitive assholes and douchebags; both have awesome people, too. I don't think you can choose wrong-- you're deciding between a Wisconsin Granny Smith apple and a Michigan Granny Smith apple. Very slightly different flavors but basically the same apple.

This is an important decision but don't overthink about it. And... if you'll excuse my reach over your grocery cart, I need to pick up a few red delicious apples. Have a nice day.

Dec 20, 2015 - 10:09pm

What exactly would you say was bad advice in this? Even if I don't agree with all of it it doesn't mean it wasn't insightful or well thought out.

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Dec 20, 2015 - 10:50pm
undefined:
Since you're smart enough to get into Princeton, I hope you're smart enough to also ignore the majority of this post

If you're talking to me, I guess I am smart enough to get into Princeton. More importantly, I went to school there and feel I have some insight to offer on the campus.

I have no idea why I would ignore my own post.

I haven't seen your thoughts on the decision OP is facing. Did you go to Dartmouth or Princeton? Let's help the OP out here.

You have a nice day, now. I have a shopping cart full of produce to walk back to my rusty honda.

Dec 21, 2015 - 6:14am
IlliniProgrammer:
I honestly think that the differences between Dartmouth and Princeton are pretty subtle.
Totally agree.
IlliniProgrammer:
Namely, both are very elite schools with lots of rich kids and lots of competitiveness (this is more true at the undergrad level than in grad school).
Hahahaha....self-serving parenthetical statement much?
Dec 20, 2015 - 11:15pm

Pick the one with better financial aid and which you like more after visiting. Princeton may have the slightest brand advantage if you decide to leave finance, but other than that you should pick on $$ and culture.

FWIW, when I was applying to colleges I toured the Ivys and personally thought the ones with the biggest tools were Harvard, Wharton, and Princeton. Dartmouth kids tried a little too hard to be "fratty", but were good guys.

Moral of the story is: same opportunities at both.

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Dec 20, 2015 - 11:51pm

I am perfectly happy to throw the undergrads under the bus as being pathologically competitive, but among the MFins, I was probably the most competitive person in that program. By definition, anyone more competitive than me is pathologically competitive, and anyone less competitive than me is laid back, lol. At the graduate level, nobody cares about grades and there's a little less uncertainty about what job you'll wind up with. It was also a small program, and at the graduate level you don't spend all day going from English class to Calculus to Physics and interacting with 1000 other students-- you see the same 40 people every day (or fewer in some PhD programs), and you'd better play nice.

I remember going to a recruiting session at McKinsey and we form groups to talk to some of the employees. One of them goes around the circle asking folks what they enjoyed doing for fun. Someone mentions crew, lacrosse, the guy ahead of me says he's into aviation and cessnas and the like. I'm up- "no kidding I'm into aviation too- I fly hang gliders." The kid panics like it's some sort of competition, butts back in and starts talking about aerobatics and how he's about to fly this 1960s french fighter jet trainer to Oshkosh (but he hasn't flown it yet). Ok, whatever. And congrats, you must have a really rich Dad.

I think there are people like that everywhere, especially in undergrad. It's probably worse at the Ivies, and I'd argue it might be worse at Columbia than it is at Princeton.

I do get the whole competitiveness thing. I think there is some risk of banking turning into a screwed-up William Muir chicken experiment.

https://www.ted.com/talks/margaret_heffernan_why_it_s_time_to_forget_th…

Dec 21, 2015 - 2:05am

OP- I went to Dartmouth and successfully went through recruiting. Message me if you have questions.
While I don't know much about Princeton's recruiting, I can assure you that you won't be foregoing any opportunities by going to Dartmouth. The quality of firms that interview at Dartmouth and the alumni network is top tier.

Also, I'm obviously incredibly biased, but if you felt like you fit in when visiting, you'll probably have the time of your life here.

Dec 21, 2015 - 10:52am

FWIW, if you DO get into Dartmouth know that it is one of the most represented schools on Wall Street and in IB (I'm assuming you knew this and have already done your research). Since the network's also killer you'd be at no disadvantage. I understand the allure of a once in a lifetime brand (HYPSM + Oxbridge), but trust me, as someone with a rather pedestrian background and a non-target undergrad-getting the best grades and having the career you like > incremental differences in school prestige. That's why it's almost always more important to pick the school where you'll be happiest (assuming the gulf between them isn't cavernous).

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Dec 21, 2015 - 11:20am

As the rest of the posters said Princeton may have a slight brand advantage but Dartmouth is absolutely one of most represented schools on Wall Street. Some people might disagree with me, but Dartmouth actually has better finance recruiting at the undergrad level. That said, if you go to Princeton knowing you want to do finance, it shouldn't be too hard to position yourself for what you want after graduating if you put in some work.

Dartmouth also has a quarter system so there is advantage of doing off-cycle internships which can turn into summer and full-time offers. Take the one where you fit in best. No one will fault you for picking Dartmouth.

Dec 23, 2015 - 3:08am

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