Yale ranks fourth as dream school

Many high school seniors and their parents are dreaming of bulldogs and “Boola Boola.”

“A Princeton Review survey released yesterday that asked high school seniors and their parents to name their dream colleges ranked Yale as the fourth school amongst students, while New York University came in first and Harvard was placed in second. Out of the 303 schools named, Stanford and Princeton rounded out the top five in the student category. Data from parents ranked Yale fifth as the dream college for their children, with Stanford in first and Harvard in second.

Last year, Yale ranked fourth among students and parents combined, while NYU came in first.

The rankings of Princeton Review’s “College Hopes & Worries Survey,” currently in its third year, were based on a self-selective pool of 2,885 college applicants and 1,045 parents of applicants, who responded by either filling out a survey online or mailing in a copy of the survey, which was published in The Princeton Review book “Best 357 Colleges: 2005 Edition.”

Yale Dean of Admissions Richard Shaw said he questioned the methodology of the rankings.

“I think it’s hard to put institutions into popularity contests,” Shaw said. “Stanford is a great university, and Yale is a great university, and the only thing I can say is that I think that these institutions are right for the kids that determine it’s the right match.”

NYU appeals to students because of its location in New York, where there are many internship and work opportunities, said Robert Franek, vice president and publisher for Princeton Review Books.

“I think there’s a wonderful, sexy appeal that urban schools have for a new student population specifically because of those connections outside of the classroom the student can have living in an urban area,” Franek said. “That without question has led to NYU’s popularity from my perspective.”

Madeline Haas, a senior at The Buckingham Browne & Nichols School in Cambridge, Mass., said she thinks that NYU ranked first among students primarily because of its location, but she also said she thinks that Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen — who are currently freshmen at NYU — also lure high school students to the university.

“Mary Kate and Ashley are in magazines every week, so that’s a lot of spotlight, and I think a lot of people know that they go to NYU,” Haas said. “So therefore by association NYU must come up a lot. Yale admissions were up when the ‘Gilmore Girls’ was on.”

Yale does not have the same sort of celebrity attraction that NYU does, Jessica Bialecki ’07 said.

“The celebrity appeal probably plays a factor,” Bialecki said. “We don’t really have a big celebrity here, no big movie stars or musicians, so probably among young males I suppose the prospect or the dream of meeting Mary Kate and Ashley would be pretty enticing.”

But Taylor Kessinger, a senior at Chandler High School in Chandler, Ariz., said he was “pretty surprised” that NYU ranked first among students.

“I definitely expected Yale or Harvard or Stanford to be number one,” Kessinger said.

The survey also asked students and parents to name their biggest concerns about applying to college and the main factor that will determine which college they choose to attend, and found that students are stressed and worried about college costs. The Princeton Review conducted the survey between August 2004 and February 2005.

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