The New York Times wonders: Has Stanford replaced Harvard as the most acclaimed school in the country? According to the Times:
Stanford University has become America’s “it” school, by measures that Harvard once dominated. Stanford has had the nation’s lowest undergraduate acceptance rate for two years in a row; in five of the last six years, it has topped the Princeton Review survey asking high school seniors to name their "dream college"; and year in and year out, it raises more money from donors than any other university.
I think a more important question is: Does it even matter? The most important factor in a college search is for students to find the "it" school that best meets who they are and what they need, whether that school is in the top ten or the top 100. I know graduates from both Stanford and Harvard who are wonderful, successful people. But I also know wonderful, successful people from schools that are not so famous, from schools that never see the front page of national newspapers. What accounts for this continuing fascination with an "it" school, with the effort to align one institution with a mythic brilliance or prestige?