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Choosing between Shades of Blue (x-post with Duke forum)

madeofradiummadeofradium 5 replies2 discussions Forum Champion
Yes, this post is sacrilege, but I could really use some perspective. I'm going to visit both on Tuesday, as I was just admitted off the wait list at Duke, and have to make a decision quickly. Cost isn't the issue, but I would like to know if the price of Duke would really be worth it to me, given that my other option is Chapel Hill. Here's what I'm looking for:

1) Which student body is more accepting of quirky-ness? I've heard a few jibes at Duke on this comment, but many more complaints about UNC's "better than you" attitude. What's the REAL deal?

2) How competitive are students with each other at both schools? Is cooperation encouraged at one more than the other?

3) Are students focused more on learning to learn/be better people or are they just focused on getting a grade? (I have seen the "learning for learning's sake attitude up close at Duke but am wondering if it's pervasive there or if UNC has a similar attitude.)

4) How accessible (REALLY) are the professors, particularly in the sciences? (I've heard good things about Duke and accessibility/research and some but slightly less praise regarding UNC.)

5) What's the attitude toward diversity on both campuses? I'm a Jew originally from the North but am currently living in the South and am sick to death of the Antisemitism and other bigotry I've been hearing for the past six years. On a related note, does anyone know about Hillel for each school?

If there are any other defining factors of these schools, I'd love to hear them! Please be as honest as possible.
10 replies
Post edited by madeofradium on
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Replies to: Choosing between Shades of Blue (x-post with Duke forum)

  • phonyreal98phonyreal98 2 replies0 discussions Junior Member
    I went to UNC, but I've worked at Duke and my girlfriend goes there...so I'll do my best to answer your questions:

    1. UNC is a big enough school that you'll be able to find a group willing to accept you...whatever your quirks may be. I'm a pretty quirky person, but had no problems fitting in and finding friends at UNC.

    2. From what I can tell, Duke is more competitive. My girlfriend says that many Duke students have the attitude that they'll beat you at anything...whether it's grades, test scores, drinking, etc.

    3. I'm sure there are people at both schools who are just "trying to get a grade." I know there are plenty of people at Duke that love learning for learning's sake, but I think the opportunities for this are definitely there at UNC if you seek them out. I was able to get involved with research at UNC and from that was able to write an honors thesis, co-author multiple presentations at international conferences, and co-author a peer-reviewed journal article.

    4. At UNC, some professors have reputations for being more accessible than others. You can talk to older students to see who the best professors are for a particular class. If you want the DL on science professors at UNC, you can PM me.

    5. Chapel Hill/Carrboro is considered to be one of the most liberal municipalities in NC, and is very accepting of diverse groups of people. UNC was heavily involved in the integration of ACC sports and integration in NC. As far as I know, both schools have very active Hillel communities.
    edited May 2013
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  • phonyreal98phonyreal98 2 replies0 discussions Junior Member
    I would also encourage you to think the possibilities of what may you see yourself doing after college.

    Are you planning to be involved with public health? UNC is stronger in this area.
    Are you planning to go to a top grad program in neurobiology? Go to Duke.
    Are you planning to become a chemist? Again, UNC has a stronger chemistry department.
    Want to do biomedical engineering? Choose Duke.
    etc. etc.

    I realize that it can be tough to envision what exactly you want to do at this stage in your life...maybe it would be better if you could think of several pathways that you could see yourself going down, and considering which school has the most opportunities that match your interests.
    edited May 2013
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  • madeofradiummadeofradium 5 replies2 discussions Forum Champion
    Phonyreal98- good point! If you know anything, I'm interested in doing microbiology/virology/pathogen research a la the CDC, USAMRIID, and the NIH. Neither school from what I've read has any major inclination towards that field, but I have a feeling you know much more than I do. Do you know if either school has a stronger focus in my chosen area?
    edited May 2013
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  • AmazhonAmazhon 7 replies0 discussions New Member
    There is a report out there, and I just can't remember what it is called off the top of my head that lists the top schools that receive NIH funding for research. I know UNC is at the tippy top of the list in many areas. Not that Duke is anything to sneeze at: Was it Duke's Chem professor who won the Nobel prize last year? Or was that Hopkins? They are both near the triangle, so both have a strong research presence. Its a matter of if they are currently working on projects that interest you. I'll try to find a link to that report and get back to you.
    edited May 2013
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  • NewYawkNewYawk 10 replies0 discussions
    NIH Awards In 2013:

    UNC-CH: 304 Awards, Funding: $107,694,851
    Duke: 275 Awards, Funding: $ 97,826,038
    edited May 2013
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  • AmazhonAmazhon 7 replies0 discussions New Member
    Thanks, New Yawk! Here's the link to the data. There's another report out there that's not by the NIH which is very good, but I can't find it. I don't know what the numbers are for CDC, etc. My D's research was at NIH so we looked at those.

    Research Topics funded by NIH:

    NIH Categorical Spending -NIH Research Portfolio Online Reporting Tools (RePORT)

    Research Dollars at Domestic Universities:

    http://report.nih.gov/award/index.cfm?ot=DH,27,47,4,52,64,10000,MS,20,16,6,13,10,49,53,86,OTHDH&fy=2013&state=&ic=&fm=&orgid=&distr=&rfa=&om=n&pid=
    edited May 2013
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  • AmazhonAmazhon 7 replies0 discussions New Member
    @OP-Yes the Nobel prize winner for Chem was from Duke and as of last year, he does teach. He shared the prize with a researcher at Stanford.

    Robert J. Lefkowitz

    Born: 1943, New York, NY, USA

    Affiliation at the time of the award: Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC, USA

    Prize motivation: "for studies of G-protein-coupled receptors"
    edited May 2013
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  • madeofradiummadeofradium 5 replies2 discussions Forum Champion
    That's all really interesting! Anybody know how either school is with infectious disease research and/or microbiology?
    edited May 2013
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  • curvyteencurvyteen 17 replies7 discussions
    The researcher at Stanford spent 6 years at Duke before moving.
    edited May 2013
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  • NewYawkNewYawk 10 replies0 discussions
    The reality is that both schools are fairly strong in this area. In fact, they often collaborate and are involved in the same consortiums. It really comes down to specifically what your interest is. You might find Googling SERCEB.org interesting. SERCEB is one of the consortiums specializing in this area. You can read about their current research programs. UNC is the lead institution.
    edited May 2013
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