Most popular college is not an Ivy League

By Jenna Iacurci, Parent Herald April 15, 01:53 pm

Stanford University, a non-Ivy League school, is the most popular college among students, according to a Princeton Review survey involving more than 10,000 students.

The California school is more sought after than its East Coast counterpart, Harvard - a trend reflected in the fact that Stanford only accepted 5 percent of its applicants for the fall of 2014, a national and historical low among the country's most prestigious rivals.

In comparison, Harvard received 2.1 percent fewer applications, and accepted about 6 percent of them, while Stanford applicants increased by 8.6 percent this year, in all drawing 8,000 more than Harvard.

Like Kwasi Enin, the New York wunderkind who has the pick of the litter, college-bound students are casting a wider net to increase their chances of being accepted.

"Kids see that the admit rates are brutal and dropping, and it looks more like a crapshoot," Bruce Poch, a former admissions dean at Pomona College in Claremont, Calif., told The New York Times. "So they send more apps, which forces the colleges to lower their admit rates, which spurs the kids next year to send even more apps,"

Another example is Isaac Madrid, who applied to 11 colleges. But that many applications take its toll.

"It was a crazy amount of work and stress doing all those essays by the deadline and keeping up my schoolwork, and waiting on the responses, and we had more than $800 in application fees," he said.

Stanford received more than 42,000 applications for the class of 2018 and sent 2,138 acceptance notices.

Stanford's increasing allure could be contributed to the rise of the West Coast tech world over the East Coast financial one. According to PolicyMic, Stanford's alumni created some of today's most popular tech programs - Yahoo, Google, LinkedIn and Snapchat. At the Stanford Graduate School of Business in 2013, 32 percent opted for tech jobs while only 26 percent went into finance. That same year, 18 percent of Harvard Business School students (compared to 12 percent in 2012) chose tech positions, while 27 percent went into finance, down from 35 percent in 2012.

Regardless of the reason, the contrast for Stanford officials from routinely accepting more than 20 percent of applicants just a decade ago to the single digits today is a stark one.

"Honestly, I'm sort of in shock," Stanford's undergraduate dean of admissions, Richard H. Shaw, admitted.

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