Mar 24, 2011

Parents and Students Differ Only Slightly on Top 10 Dream List

For the third consecutive year, Stanford University is No. 1 on the list of top 10 “dream schools” among college applicants, according to the Princeton Review’s 2011 College Hopes & Worries survey.

But parents disagree. For them, the No. 1 dream school is Harvard, with Stanford coming in second.

And with admission rates dropping low into the single digits, both schools are likely to stay just just that—dreams.

In a survey they’ve conducted annually since 2003, the Princeton Review asked 8,219 college-bound seniors and 3,966 parents to answer a series of questions related to the application process and what they hope—or are afraid—will happen as the process draws to a close. The 15-question survey was contained in the Princeton Review’s Best 373 Colleges: 2011 Edition and attracted responses from all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Answering the survey’s only open-ended question, “What ‘dream college’ do you wish you or your child could attend if acceptance or cost weren’t issues,” respondents filled in the names of more than 545 institutions. Yet when all the adding was complete, the results varied little from last year—or most previous years for that matter.

The schools most named by students as their “dream colleges” were (last year’s rankings in parentheses):
  1. Stanford (1)

  2. Harvard (2)

  3. New York University (3)

  4. Princeton (4)

  5. MIT (8)

  6. Yale (6)

  7. UCLA (7)

  8. University of Pennsylvania*

  9. University of Southern California (9)

  10. University of California—Berkeley*

The schools most named by parents as their “dream colleges” were:

  1. Harvard (3)

  2. Stanford (1)

  3. Princeton (2)

  4. MIT (4)

  5. Yale (5)

  6. Duke*

  7. Brown (8)

  8. New York University (10)

  9. University of Notre Dame (7)

  10. Northwestern*

*Not in the top 10 for 2010.

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