3 years ago
Admissions Advice

Help with comparing colleges

I got into Duke, Olin, Vanderbilt for engineering. I plan on going into graduate school. Does anyone know if there are any advantages to any one over the others or anything about grade deflation?

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@ab20043 years ago

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2 answers

3 years ago

As a young female myself, I would seriously consider Olin because they seem to be very supportive of cultivating an equitable environment for STEM girls. The fact that 53% of their students are women is an achievement in itself. On the other hand, both Duke and Vanderbilt are in the mid to high 30% range. Engineering is already a very male-dominated space so I feel that with more 'sisters' it will be easier to work in groups and develop both male and female friendships as well. If you plan on going to grad school well it doesn't matter so much which one you pick because they're all great. Olin is much much smaller like a 1/4 the size of student compared to Vandy and Duke. That means class sizes will be smaller and you'll get more personal attention.

The other thing is I like that Olin is nearby Boston which in my opinion is a superior college town compared to Nashville TN or Durham NC. Needham is next door to Wellesley College and about 20-30 minutes to Boston. There is a college consortium between Olin, Babson, Wellesley, and Brandeis so I believe you can cross-register for college courses and services. I mean if you are looking for more girlfriends, Wellesley is an awesome place. With regards to summer internships, I think you'd be able to find something around Boston real easy. Plus if you like Boston, you can apply to MIT or Harvard for grad school. I mean there are so many great colleges in the NE.


I think of Olin as the Harvey Mudd College of the East. I mean they are both small in comparison to UC Berkeley or other large schools.

My two cents.

3 years ago

So in my mind Duke is ever so slightly below Vandy in terms of engineering. I don’t know much about Olin besides it being a STEM LAC so can’t really comment on that one. But grade deflation isn’t a huge deal. I was attending a webinar with a famous LAC and they essentially said our best students only have a mid 3 GPA and when attending grad school they make sure to point out the grade deflation so Vandy and Duke would likely be in the same boat if they practice it. Also even if you go to Duke for undergrad nothing stops you from attending Vandy for grad pick the school with the best financial situation coupled with undergrad expierence.

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Duke University
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Unweighted GPA: 3.7
SAT: 720 math
| 800 verbal


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