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Why do so many try for Harvard?

PassionatePoetPassionatePoet 161 replies44 postsRegistered User Junior Member
I can't understand why so many talented teens try for Harvard- I get that they have the finest professors and best peer group, but why would brilliant individuals decide to go to a top school and become middle of the pack? Won't going to a not-so-good school, where you'll have a better class rank, be much better? Studies show that people can thrive and succeed only when they feel good about themselves. A person has to be seriously brilliant if they want to be the best at Harvard. On top of everything else, if a person doesn't get financial aid and applies for a loan instead, by the time they graduate they'll have a huge debt to pay off. Won't a slightly lower ranked state college be a much better option?- where a great individual will thrive, not incur any debts, remain top of the pack, and altogether have a higher self-esteem?

So my q- why do people make it their life goal to go to the best of the best, when they may not even do that well once they start college?
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Replies to: Why do so many try for Harvard?

  • JustOneDadJustOneDad 5726 replies119 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    I think it involves having faith in themselves and their abilities despite anything in their past history.

    Interestingly enough, a number of the alumni interviewers my kids have had over the years have expressed some regrets that they made the choice they did.
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  • dblazerdblazer 2191 replies13 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    There's really no sort of class rank in college so even if you were at the top of a less-known school, you wouldn't really know. On the contrary, you might end up associating with other people who are really bright and end up comparing yourself to them (a lot of state schools have really smart honors college students who go for the money). Bottom line is that no matter where you go, you will always find people who are smarter than you and end up comparing yourself to them if that's how you determine self-worth so going to a name brand school becomes more meaningful.
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  • boolaHIboolaHI 1942 replies14 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    In short, in no particular order: top shelf academics in most every department, high name value--and that relates to employers and graduate school aspirations, diverse and internstional student body, compelling history and narrative, real depth in class and cohorts, and if you are in range (more or less under 150k family income) probably on average the best FA package you can receive, all things being equal, all grants, all need based, and no loans.
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  • dblazerdblazer 2191 replies13 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    @JustOneDad Stanford would be even worse to get stuck in their heads with its lower acceptance rate than Harvard.
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  • VctoryVctory 1151 replies39 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    There's really no sort of class rank in college so even if you were at the top of a less-known school, you wouldn't really know.
    Summa cum laude, magna cum laude, cum laude?
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  • dblazerdblazer 2191 replies13 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    @Vctory Those designations are not based on percentile like rankings are in high school
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  • VctoryVctory 1151 replies39 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    @dblazer Depends on the school, but most do it by percentile rank/GPA for the percentile rank. At mine, it's top 2% are summa, next 3% are magna, next 5% are cum laude.
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  • rubberfallrubberfall 289 replies0 postsRegistered User Junior Member
    Won't going to a not-so-good school, where you'll have a better class rank, be much better? Studies show that people can thrive and succeed only when they feel good about themselves

    This may be your opinion, but you can't speak for others. For the kids that want to go to Harvard, or any school for that matter where they may not be the top of the class, it was never about having to be. They don't need a high GPA to feel good about themselves, it's a different perspective where playing it safe isn't what they thrive on. Learning is more than a reflection of a GPA, Those that go to Harvard for the name or prestige are going for the wrong reasons. Those that go to stretch and challenge themselves, are looking for something more. And Harvard offers a deeper and broader pond for them to swim in, even if it means they may be the small fish.

    If you are afraid of risking your GPA in college, then don't go to Harvard,or any of the schools where you will be the small fish in a large pond. That goes for state schools too.
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  • austinmshauriaustinmshauri 8723 replies321 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    From passionate poet's Harvard chances thread: I am currently a sophomore. I'd like to know my Harvard chances. Can you tell me if I'm on the right track?

    Why do YOU want to go to Harvard? Other students reasons are probably not much different from your own.
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  • rubberfallrubberfall 289 replies0 postsRegistered User Junior Member
    edited April 2015
    I can't understand why so many talented teens try for Harvard-

    For the same reasons you have consistently posted Harvard chance threads repeatedly. You seem obsessed with Harvard. It is unhealthy to be so focused to the point of asking people to 'Reply Fast' in earlier threads, urgently seeking responses to your obsession. Get a grip.
    edited April 2015
    Post edited by fallenchemist on
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  • JustOneDadJustOneDad 5726 replies119 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    Because it's in Boston? Boston is nice.

    If you will note, MIT is in Boston, too and quite a few students try for that one as well.
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  • MWCDSSMWCDSS 135 replies3 postsRegistered User Junior Member
    Question:
    why so many talented teens try for Harvard

    Answer:
    they have the finest professors and best peer group

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