rad lulz wrote:
I think the ~$30k in extra scholarship money at Duke/UVA is plenty to justify attending them over Chicago if you liked them better.
This reminds me of my undergrad ASW event experience. I went to UChicago with a really high expectations, but the students I met were troglodytes and the administrators arrogant SOBs. I didn't like the school, the city, anything. I left and never looked back, and was very, very happy with my decision. I didn't even bother to apply to UChi Law this time around. Now, my particular situation is not terribly relevant, and I'm sure there are lots of people who have gone to UChicago who had the time of their lives. But the broader point is this: you don't have to go somewhere you dislike. In fact, you'll probably be a lot better for not doing so.
The question is, how much did you dislike Chicago? Given the placement/financial aid situation, I think that Chicago is the objectively "correct" response. If you liked the school and the city, but were turned off a little by some of the people, I'd say that you'd probably be able to get over it pretty easily once you settle in and find people you feel more comfortable with. However, if you really didn't like it, take the (respectable amount of) money and run. There is no point in being miserable at UChi, when you could be happy at Duke or UVA, especially if you think that miserableness might effect your academic performance.