The competition for admission to the best colleges keeps getting tougher.There are 12.5 million college undergraduates. Fewer than 90,000 attend the top twenty-five colleges.Ten prominent institutions -- eight Ivy League schools, Standford, and MIT -- enrolled 1 percent of all entering freshmen, representing one-third of the highest academic achievers and test-takers in the nation.There has been a substantial rise in applications to elite colleges and universities. In 1999Harvard received 19,000 applications -- including 2,900 from high school valedictorians -- for the 1,600 spaces for the class of 2003Stanford received more than 17,000 applications for 1,550 places; and Princeton received 14,875 applications for 1,694 placesBased on a survey of more than 4,000 current students at twenty of the country's top collegesAcademic reputation is the number-one reason students apply to Ivy League schools, but are they prepared for the host of other factors that will affect their success on campus? Inside the Top Colleges breaks through the "halo" of prestige surrounding the nation's elite schools to reveal what the quality of education and daily life is really like on these campuses. Every institution has its strengths and weaknesses; this book examines those factors that can result in a highly positive college experience or a potentially negative one. Students speak out onThe Top five advantages of an elite educationIntellectual confidenceFoundation for future self-educationNew intellectual and social perspectivesSocial connectionsBusiness/career connectionsThe top five student suggestionsReduce class sizeIncrease diversity Increase faculty accessibilityProvide better counselingReview core curriculumAt all these colleges, students complained about the stress of the workload and the cost.