of Benito Cereno wrote:
http://colleges.usnews.rankingsandrevie ... s-rankings
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Times_High ... y_Rankings
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Academic_R ... iversities
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_No ... ffiliation
http://grad-schools.usnews.rankingsandr ... es-schools
not to be overly obnoxious, but by most measure (especially if you're looking at the quality of research, faculty awards, departmental rankings, etc) there isn't too much difference between stanford and schools like Columbia and Chicago. I tend to think Penn is something of a paper tiger as a research university but its undergradute college is certainly in the same class as Stanford. Duke or Northwestern or Hopkins clearly aren't.
i was thinking more in terms of prestige. i wouldn't argue that your academic experience at chicago or columbia or penn would be markedly less good than at stanford, but i still put stanford in a higher tier than those schools (esp penn). i am a northeasterner, and i didn't go to stanford. i guess it is just subjective.
also, it is noticeably easier to get into chicago, penn, columbia, duke, etc than it is to get into stanford.