FoxBravo, while my posts make me seem like I don't know much about the situation, the reality is that I am pretty well-informed. I just didn't want to take up twenty lines for each of them. If my parents disagreed with me, then they would have made me apply to the schools that I crossed off my list. Let my defend my point further when I say that my decision and opinion on the schools in question was made after at least talking to my college counselor at school as well as my parents.
I visited Dartmouth, and found it way too rural for my liking. Again, my liking, not somebody elses. I told my parents how I felt, and they both said that if I didn't like Dartmouth because of its rural location, then I shouldn't waste my time visiting/applying to Cornell, because I wouldn't like it either.
I unofficially visited Princeton, as I did not take the tour or go to an info session, mainly because I knew that I had next to no chance at getting in, from looking at patterns as to who they have accepted and rejected from my high school. I just had no desire.
I already mentioned before why I disliked Columbia, and that was its core curriculum. Once I saw that, I was entirely turned off by the school, regardless of the students.
Harvard, Yale, Penn, and Brown share the first, and main, characteristic that I used to cut schools off of my list: They all are medium sized schools that are physically urban or suburban oases, with a definite campus to them. If you follow this criteria, it thus comes as no surprise as to the eight other schools I applied to: Stanford, Southern Cal., Emory, Wash U. STL
, NWestern, and Georgetown. The only exceptions to that main criteria were Claremont McKenna and Pomona, which are smaller schools, but are actually larger due to the Claremont College Consortium.
When I talk about the "people" at certain schools, most of the time I am referring to graduates from my high school that are students there.
For example, the kids who wind up at Harvard, Yale, and Penn are all fairly similar types, while the ones at Brown tend to be more into the arts.
I assure that I have this entire process under control, even though it may seem like it, and I have already decided to wait until the last possible day to make my final decision as to where I will go (after I am rejected from some places, of course), so as I can make as best informed decision as possible.