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List of Top 10 Dream Colleges

Top 10 Dream Colleges: Students Want Stanford

While those of us in the professional world are experiencing a resurgence of college spirit through March Madness, high school seniors are rushing to the mailbox and frantically checking email to find out where they've been accepted. According to a Princeton Review survey of college applicants and parents, almost seven of 10 respondents say the economic downturn has affected their college application decisions. Nine out of 10 respondents say financial aid will be essential. So what schools do students consider "dream colleges"?

  1. Stanford
  2. Harvard
  3. Columbia
  4. Princeton
  5. New York University
  6. Yale
  7. University of California, Los Angeles
  8. Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  9. University of Southern California
  10. University of California, Berkeley

To see the schools most named by parents as their "dream colleges,"


  1. Harvard
  2. Stanford
  3. Princeton
  4. University of Notre Dame
  5. Yale
  6. New York University
  7. University of California, Los Angeles
  8. Duke
  9. University of Southern California
  10. Massachusetts Institute of Technology

What do you think is the number one dream school in the US?


MissMariaK MissMariaK 7 years
Harvard University!! I just HAVE TO go to this college!! I want it too bad... My dream college! I hope one day I'll be there...
cotedazur cotedazur 8 years
I went to Duke, and I'm surprised it didn't make the students' dream college list! It definitely had its drawbacks, but the opportunities offered in a school with so many resources were unequalled.
Meike Meike 8 years
Before going to college MIT was my dream school because of their CSEE program but Stanford definitely was great overall. My cousin is currently attending there also.
minxa25 minxa25 8 years
I went to my dream college USF ( University of San Francisco) best years of my life great education with Social Justice in minds in beautiful City by the Bay : Educating Hearts & Minds.
rosy878 rosy878 8 years
I got into berkeley but there was no way I was going to a school with 20,000+ students. and I didn't even bother applying to USC. I went with something better--Wellesley.
Colleeninator Colleeninator 8 years
I'm a UT student and I LOVE it. It's the only place I applied because it's the only place I wanted to go, and was guaranteed admission. Also, it might not be one of the "top" schools in the nation, but I'm a CS major and our CS program outranks most of the schools on that list.
aka-emilicious aka-emilicious 8 years
I was the strange one of my high school. I was the only one who chose the school that offered me the most money. That way I had fewer loans to pay off later!
margokhal margokhal 8 years
Wildegurl: I'm from Texas and the Longhorns are my favorite Texas team! Hook 'em indeed! :D That said, I didn't mean to imply that all big-name schools are diploma mills. But from what I've seen, from students that have graduated from those institutions that I've had to work and collaborate with and friends who strongly desired those schools, their education, experience and knowledge seems impersonal. It could be because of the simple largeness of the school, but some of these schools are fairly small, and are decidedly elitist - which doesn't help, either. Though I wouldn't recommend my undergrad right now at the moment, I believe I made the best decision for myself and got an education that is at least on par [and at best, more well-rounded] with a big-name school. I still think it's pretty ridiculous to choose schools to attend based on name only. Sometimes it's important [if you need connections to get where you want to go later on], but obsessing about it only stiffens the competition at those schools and ignores schools that may be better for a particular applicant simply because their names aren't nationally recognized. That's what I meant to say. Slightly-off-topic comment: As much as I wish I could have gone to UT Austin [I did get in, which is a miracle for Texas residents who aren't in the top 10% of their high school graduating class!], a big-name school, I realize now that if I had, I wouldn't have been able to make any sort of impact or rise above the competition to stand out there, at least in my field(s).
pennylela pennylela 8 years
I applied to the 'dream' art schools, but I doubt any kids' parents would dream for their child to go to an art college...even if it's prestigious, ha ha ha.
vincetastic vincetastic 8 years
USC, really? You just have to have enough money to get in. I'm surprised more parents wouldn't choose more Ivy League Schools, I would think that they would dominate the whole list. This is a really great top ten list, anyone can post their own to our site The coolest feature is you can let other people vote on the rankings of your list.
Spectra Spectra 8 years
I was my high school's valedictorian and lots of people assumed I was going to go to one of those schools. However, after I found out how much the tuition was, I decided that I didn't want to be $200,000 in debt starting out in life. I went to UW-Madison and it was a fantastic experience for me. I got a wonderful education and I met my husband as well, so I'm not going to complain. Plus, Big Ten football games are some of the best out there...go Badgers!!!
wildegurl wildegurl 8 years
margokhal: i can see where you are coming from when you make the comment about big-name colleges but the professors and instructors for most of my classes were just as passionate about teaching and connecting with the student body than at a smaller school. Going to UT Austin definitely made me feel like a small fish in a big pond (I had freshman classes of about 200), however once you get into your smaller core classes (class sizes of 5-9 students) it didn't feel so overwhelming. It may feel like students at big campuses are just cranked out every year like widgets in an assembly line, but it's unfair to say that just because you were at a smaller campus you received a better education. And here's an obligatory "Hook Em!"
divinelight divinelight 8 years
University of Texas at Austin all the way! I didn't apply to any "dream" schools, I just fell in love with Austin and UT on my first visit and I've never looked back.
margokhal margokhal 8 years
I didn't apply to ANY of these for undergrad! I went to smaller, more unknown school for my undergrad. I'm fairly sure I wouldn't have gotten as great an education at a big-name college where they care a lot more about results than developing people and future leaders/workers and whatnot.
Pets Pets 8 years
I'm from the East Coast where people often said, "Wait, you're going to StaMford... like in Connecticut?" Regardless, Stanford was pretty idyllic and definitely the best choice for me.
Carrie-Sue Carrie-Sue 8 years
I'm not a big school person. I'd rather stick to a smaller college. I suppose that's my dream school :)
bibliophile bibliophile 8 years
I've attended one of the dream schools, and I have to say that it is, in fact, pretty dreamy. One of the best experiences of my life.
runningesq runningesq 8 years
Amen, Pinklizzie. Your dream school should be the best fit for you --- not the school that will impress your parents' friends ! I went to Univ of MD College Park and loved it ! Met my husband there, too :)
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