Students and parents were asked to name their ‘dream school’ — and the same college topped both lists

Students and parents both considered Stanford University to be one of the best colleges in the US.

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Students and parents both considered Stanford University to be one of the best colleges in the US.
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Linda A. Cicero/Stanford University/Facebook

  • The best colleges appeal to students and parents alike.
  • The Princeton Review asked thousands of college applicants and parents to name their “dream schools.”
  • Their answers didn’t always overlap, but there was consensus on the No. 1 college: Stanford.

Applying for colleges is a significant milestone in any young person’s life.

But when it comes to choosing the best college, prospective students and their parents don’t always see eye to eye.

The Princeton Review released the results of its annual “College Hopes and Worries” survey on Tuesday, and it included a ranking of the top 10 “dream schools” for students and parents alike.

The survey asked more than 9,000 college applicants which school they wished they could attend if acceptance or cost weren’t an issue. It also surveyed more than 1,600 parents of college applicants to ask which school they wished their child would attend under the same circumstances, and compared the results. More than 800 schools got votes, the Princeton Review said in a statement.

Among the top 10, there’s plenty of overlap – including the No. 1 rank, Stanford University – and plenty of disagreement, too.

Read on to see what students and parents considered the best colleges in the country, listed roughly in order of least to most desirable:


Cornell University

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upsand/Flickr

Students’ rank: Unranked

Parents’ rank: 10


University of Southern California

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University of Southern California/Facebook

Students’ rank: 10

Parents’ rank: unranked


University of California, Berkeley

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Shutterstock

Students’ rank: 9

Parents’ rank: unranked


University of Pennsylvania

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Flickr/skinnylawyer

Students’ rank: unranked

Parents’ rank: 8


University of Michigan

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Facebook/universityofmichigan

Students’ rank: unranked

Parents’ rank: 7


Brown University

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Tupungato/Shutterstock

Students’ rank: unranked

Parents’ rank: 6


University of California, Los Angeles

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Shutterstock/Michael Gordon

Students’ rank: 5

Parents’ rank: unranked


New York University

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Melia Robinson/BI

Students’ rank: 3

Parents’ rank: unranked


Columbia University

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Columbia University in the City of New York/Facebook

Students’ rank: 7

Parents’ rank: 9


Yale University

Students’ rank: 8

Parents’ rank: 5


Massachusetts Institute of Technology

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Shutterstock/Marcio Jose Bastos Silva

Students’ rank: 6

Parents’ rank: 2


Princeton University

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Princeton University/Facebook

Students’ rank: 4

Parents’ rank: 3


Harvard University

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Jannis Tobias Werner / Shutterstock.com

Students’ rank: 2

Parents’ rank: 4


Stanford University

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Shutterstock/MintImages

Students’ rank: 1

Parents’ rank: 1