Dream College Rankings - Stanford

As high school seniors eagerly await word from their desired college, The Princeton Review releases its annual dream college rankings through the “College of Hopes and Worries Survey.”

The survey looks to college applicants and parents of applicants in order to gauge stress and the worries associated during the college acceptance season, as well as hopes in finding the most sought-after U.S. universities.

According to this year’s findings, 69 percent of college applicants face high levels of stress. Financial aid is a huge concern among applicants, as 89 percent reported it being “very” necessary to pay for school. An additional 66 percent of surveyed applicants said financial aid is “extremely” necessary, an increase of five percent from 2012. Only 3% of those surveyed reported feeling no stress from the college application process.

Faced with large amounts of student loan debt in a discouraging job market, Millennials are more affected by stress than older generations.

However, the future class of 2017 is hopeful that college will pay off in the long run. Fifty-one percent reported a potentially better job and income as the main benefit of attending college.

On the dream college front, Stanford dethroned Harvard as the most desired school in the country, by both students and parents.

Top 10 Dream Colleges (according to applicants):

Top 10 Dream Colleges (according to parents):

  • Stanford University
  • Harvard College
  • Princeton University
  • University of Notre Dame
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Yale University
  • New York University
  • Brown University
  • Columbia University
  • University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

In February, Harvard faced a very public fallout from a cheating scandal involving a take-home final exam.

Image: Ali Almossawi