What do they dream of us? I’m sure plenty of aspiring students do not think of our institution in such a mercenary way, and might have real reasons to regard Stanford as a “dream” school. Yet even the phrase “dream school” sounds so tawdry. It brings to mind prom queens and tiaras and pink frosting. It also reeks of entitlement. For those who can afford it, dreams aren’t silently wished for, internalized hopes whispered into the sky. Instead, they are conversation pieces passed ostentatiously around the dinner table, with hearty backslapping and the expectation they ought to be fulfilled.

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