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The Ivy Coach Daily

May 22, 2023

Stereotypes of Elite Schools and Ivy Leagues

Elite Schools, Stereotypes of Colleges, College Stereotypes
Conan O’Brien shared his thoughts on the Ivy League institutions in a 2011 commencement address.

Originally Published on February 5, 2019:

Twelve years ago, Conan O’Brien delivered a commencement speech at Dartmouth College, widely regarded as one of the most memorable graduation speeches. Conan presented certain amusing stereotypes of Ivy League students in this address.

Ivy League School Stereotypes

In Conan’s own words, he said to Dartmouth graduates, “If Harvard, Yale, and Princeton are your self-involved, vain, name-dropping older brothers, you are the cool, sexually confident, lacrosse playing younger sibling who knows how to throw a party and looks good in a down vest. Brown, of course, is your lesbian sister who never leaves her room. And Penn, Columbia, and Cornell — well, frankly, who gives a sh*t.”

And if you’re not too offended already, we’ve got some more stereotypes of elite universities for our readers just for kicks. So here goes!

Harvard and Stanford Students Offer Perspective on Other Elite Schools

Joe Pinsker wrote a piece for The Atlantic in 2019 focusing on the silly stereotypes of elite colleges. And while the silly stereotypes Pinsker details aren’t quite as fun as Conan’s, they’re worth a read.

According to the Harvard and Stanford students surveyed, Princeton “is academically rigorous, but too exclusive and hierarchical.” And how about MIT? “MIT has brilliant students, but it’s socially unpleasant.”

But these students turned their positivity on for Penn, right? No. “The University of Pennsylvania is altogether too career-minded.” Leave it to Harvard and Stanford students to speak negatively about schools not named Harvard or Stanford.

As Pinsker writes, “Other schools were looked down upon for other reasons—some for being too social, others for not being social enough. Some Harvard and Stanford students said they wouldn’t have fit in as well at Princeton (‘It’s stiff’; ‘Everybody drinks too much’) or the University of Chicago (‘Within five minutes, someone was trying to talk to me about Kant and, sort of, philosophy’). Meanwhile, there were plenty of well-regarded schools—such as Johns Hopkins and public universities like the University of California system and the University of Michigan—that none of the surveyed students brought up in conversation.”

Now, that’s funny!

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