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Chicagophile
  > > e-Bulletin: 02/08/02


LETTERS
Is Stanford really the standard?


I think the University should not concern itself about its relative status vis-à- vis Stanford [as suggested by Gautam Parikh in "Letters," December/01] and the Ivies, or whether Chicago is the first or other choice of its students.

All of the applicants to the top national universities are of the highest caliber. The acceptance rate at Stanford and the Ivies hovers around 12-13 percent. Therefore, no matter how brilliant and accomplished the student, they stand an 87 percent chance of being rejected. Yes, Chicago has proportionately increased its class size. But even so, its undergraduate enrollment is considerably smaller than Stanford's and many medium-sized research universities'.

As a parent with recent and extensive experience with the college admissions process, I am adamantly opposed to putting yet even more pressure on talented and promising young people to polish and embellish their résumés to satisfy the increasing demands of admissions committees that work for schools vying for selectivity bragging rights. The students are suffering burnout.

Chicago is a unique institution. It is not for everyone. It should not try to be Stanford. The main reason Stanford has flourished is that it is growing in the fertile soil of Silicon Valley money.

With its fabled history, the University of Chicago should not suffer from an inferiority complex about Stanford or any other top school. I attended Stanford, and I can say unequivocally that I am thrilled that my child is attending Chicago rather than Stanford, regardless of whether it was his first, second, or last choice.

Steven R. Jacobs
Bakersfield, California



  FEBRUARY 2002

  > > Volume 94, Number 3


  FEATURES
  > >
Liberal talk, realist thinking
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The winning punch line
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Physics for breakfast
  > > The young and studious


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