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Do top universities seem to have a preference for a certain type of student?

CU123CU123 3676 replies73 threads Senior Member
It seems to me that top universities each have a flavor of student they are looking for (in reference to there potential).

Harvard/Yale seems to look for students who are future political leaders.
Stanford looks like they favor leaders in technical fields.
UChicago looks to favor leaders in academics.
Brown seems to favor students with artistic talents.

I realize there are many overlaps and many of the desired students have overlapping characteristics (e.g. artistic talents and political ambitions), but there definitely seems to be a tendancey with the top schools and what they are looking for. I also want to point out that a tendency is not an overiding desire so maybe only 20% of the student population would share a particular characteristic in order for that school to have that tendency.
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Replies to: Do top universities seem to have a preference for a certain type of student?

  • happy1happy1 23342 replies2310 threads Senior Member
    Every admission officer I have heard, including a number from very elite colleges, say that they look to create a well rounded class.
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  • jzducoljzducol 778 replies14 threads Member
    It seems to me that top universities each have a flavor of student they are looking for (in reference to there potential).

    Harvard/Yale seems to look for students who are future political leaders.
    Stanford looks like they favor leaders in technical fields.
    UChicago looks to favor leaders in academics.
    Brown seems to favor students with artistic talents."

    Those are oversubscribed majors at these school. If anything, the schools are trying very hard to look for students with profiles different from the above stereotypes.
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  • CU123CU123 3676 replies73 threads Senior Member
    Again I reemphasize from my original post, this is not a majority characteristic of the types of students at each school. This is more of a flavor (or leaning) that maybe only 1 in 5 share in common. Of course Harvard's cohort isn't all made up of future politicians. They just spent a boatload of money on there engineering center.
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  • blossomblossom 10165 replies9 threads Senior Member
    I'll bet 20% of Harvard students are artsy (1 in 5). I'll bet 20% of Stanford students are politically active. I'll bet 20% of U Chicago students are interested in tech.

    Every college leans in the directions you've outlined.
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  • CU123CU123 3676 replies73 threads Senior Member
    edited February 10
    blossom wrote: »
    I'll bet 20% of Harvard students are artsy (1 in 5). I'll bet 20% of Stanford students are politically active. I'll bet 20% of U Chicago students are interested in tech.

    Every college leans in the directions you've outlined.

    OK, But I don't agree with that opinion based on outcomes, Harvard has far more politicians than Stanford in D.C. (and historically) while Stanford has more leaders in the tech start up business.
    edited February 10
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  • CU123CU123 3676 replies73 threads Senior Member
    Actually I think UChicago has more economic majors than any other but I'm not talking about majors (e.g. Poly Sci, Econ, etc.).
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  • blossomblossom 10165 replies9 threads Senior Member
    I'll bet you lunch that there are more politicians/elected officials in Sacramento who went to Stanford than went to Harvard.

    Should we order wine?
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  • CU123CU123 3676 replies73 threads Senior Member
    edited February 10
    Yes we should, but I'm talking nationally, obviously local politicians tend to come from local colleges. I'm betting there are other CA universities that beat out Stanford in # of local politicians in CA. Still you did kind of verify my point with your statement:

    "If I had a dollar for every kid I interviewed for Brown who thought they belonged there because they were "artsy"- well, I'd have a large stack of dollars."

    Brown seems to attract the artsy types, whether they get in or not is another story but I imagine more than there fair share do.
    edited February 10
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  • Eeyore123Eeyore123 1655 replies22 threads Senior Member
    I have heard UChicago describe themselves as interdisciplinary by design. Because of that I don’t think they would have as much interest is someone that is singularly focused. YRMV.
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  • MWolfMWolf 2051 replies14 threads Senior Member
    edited February 10
    Re: politicians. Since our country, for the past 100 years or so has had many political dynasties, and majority are from the East Coast upper class, you also have many political families who are legacies at Harvard and Yale. Senators in DC sent their kids to the Ivy League pipeline high schools, and from there they went to Harvard or Yale. That's why you have organizations like "Skull and Bones" at Yale.

    It's not that most kids who attend Harvard or Yale are interested in politics. It's that many kids who are groomed by their families for high level political positions are usually also legacies, and have other connections with those universities.

    You also have the political connections which are helped by attending Harvard or Yale. It's not that more kids who are interested in politics attend these schools, it is that the kids who attend these schools who are interested in politics are more likely to succeed in national level politics, either because they are of the SES who make up a substantial number of our politicians, or because they make the connections which make their path in politics that much easier.

    But, as @blossom alludes, local politics tends to be local. That also means that local politicians tend to attend local universities. One just needs to look at the better known alumni of state flagships to see many well known local politicians. While graduates of Harvard and Yale may be very common in Congress, there are only 535 members of Congress. On the other hand, there are 7,383 state legislators, and these are more likely to have attended a local college, with the state flagship likely being the most highly represented.
    edited February 10
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  • CU123CU123 3676 replies73 threads Senior Member
    So, you do agree that HY cohorts have a political leaning.
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  • CU123CU123 3676 replies73 threads Senior Member
    You can certainly say that if you want to be a Federal or Supreme Court judge then Yale (or Harvard) law school is the way to go. However that is a graduate school not the H or Y College, and I still think the Colleges do have flavors associated with them.
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  • blossomblossom 10165 replies9 threads Senior Member
    My statement verifies that 17 year old kids believe what their friends tell them, i.e. that Brown "favors" Artsy kids.

    That doesn't make it true. And I've interviewed enough kids whose passion was soccer or fencing or ice dancing or computer programming or robotics to know that just because applicants THINK Brown favors the arts, does not make it so.

    The one preference I can tell you is real- if you are a first Gen kid with a distinctive academic profile, you will find some very receptive readers in the admissions office.

    And CU- I've met enough kids from American and GW and Georgetown to assure you that HY cohorts have no more of a political leaning than many other universities in the US.

    What point are you trying to make here? There are kids with political leanings all over the country.
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  • CU123CU123 3676 replies73 threads Senior Member
    Eeyore123 wrote: »
    I have heard UChicago describe themselves as interdisciplinary by design. Because of that I don’t think they would have as much interest is someone that is singularly focused. YRMV.

    Again, we seem to be focused on this all or nothing argument. Outcomes at UChicago tend toward a higher number of PhD's then other top colleges, except MIT/CT which tend to have many more STEM PhD's.

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  • CU123CU123 3676 replies73 threads Senior Member
    I agree that GW and American have strong political tendencies in there cohorts.
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  • MWolfMWolf 2051 replies14 threads Senior Member
    CU123 wrote: »
    So, you do agree that HY cohorts have a political leaning.

    No, since there are 3,000 students coming in every year, and the ones who are interested in a career in politics make up a small percent of that whole. There are more who are interested in a law or business career, the life sciences students, the huge number going into English, engineers, etc. The fact that the HY graduates who go into politics tend to succeed doesn't mean that they dominate the student body in any particular manner..
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  • CU123CU123 3676 replies73 threads Senior Member
    Ok I'll disagree with that based on the fact that HY have connections into politics that aren't available elsewhere which would naturally attract those types of students.
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  • roethlisburgerroethlisburger 2989 replies161 threads Senior Member

    Ok I'll disagree with that based on the fact that HY have connections into politics that aren't available elsewhere which would naturally attract those types of students.

    The outcomes are more mixed than you’re letting on. If you look at where House members did their undergrad, Yale doesn’t make the top ten list.
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