I’m often surprised when I read a newspaper article that says a high school student applied and was admitted to all eight Ivy League universities. I am surprised not because they were admitted, but because I wonder why would anyone apply to all eight of the Ivy League colleges. It makes me wonder if the student applied primarily for prestige or really didn’t take the time to learn about the colleges they applied to.
While these eight universities have some things in common like low acceptance rate, high graduation rate, strong need-based aid, no merit aid, a high ranking in US News and World Report, and the same sports conference, they are more different than they are the same.
I am left questioning how “smart” the student really was who applied to these eight schools. I ask myself, would someone who:
- Liked Columbia University’s strong core curriculum, like the lack of a core curriculum at Brown University?
- Liked college in a big city like The University of Pennsylvania, like being at a college in a town like Dartmouth University?
- Liked the focus of the university being on the undergraduate students like at Princeton, be happy at Harvard where there are more graduate than undergraduate students?
- Wanted to live on campus in a residential college system like Yale’s be happy at Cornell which only has housing for about half of its undergrads?
- Wanted to go to a college with a semester system, be happy with Dartmouth’s quarter system.
- Wanted a smaller undergraduate student body like Princeton’s be happy at Cornell where the undergraduate student body is more than three times as large?
Last, but not least these universities have strengths in different majors and some have majors not offered by any/many of the others.
What’s your reaction to my pet peeve? What do you think makes these 8 schools similar or different?