As high school seniors anxiously await the mailman each spring with hopes for an admission letter from a college or university of their choice, an offer from Cornell would qualify as a dream come true, according to findings from this year's Princeton Review survey of colleges.
In the survey's only fill-in-the-blank question, both parents and high school students ranked Cornell ninth in a list of U.S. "dream colleges." The survey asked students and parents what college they would most like (or would most like their children) to attend, if cost or admissions standards were not issues.
For 3,890 high school students surveyed, the top 10 colleges were, in order: New York University, Harvard, Princeton, Stanford, Yale, Brown, Columbia, Duke, Cornell and University of California-Los Angeles.
When 1,012 parents answered the same question, they named: Princeton, Stanford, Harvard, University of Notre Dame, Duke, Yale, Boston College, Brown, Cornell and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
In answering the 11 questions in the survey, only 9 percent of students said they expected to choose the college with the best academic reputation, while 55 percent expected to go to the college "that will be the best overall fit."
When it came to estimating the cost of college, including four years of tuition, room and board, fees, books and other costs, 43 percent of students expected the total to top $75,000, while 62 percent of parents figured costs to rise above that amount.
When asked how far away from home, ideally, a student (or child) would attend college, 45 percent reported that 100 to 500 miles would be best.
And when it came to staying in contact with parents (or children), 25 percent expected to talk daily, 67 percent weekly, 6 percent monthly, 0.6 percent once a semester and about 1 percent expected to contact their family "only if it's an emergency."
Princeton Review is a private company in New York City known for its services to acquaint and help students with the college application process.