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Harvard came out first among the boys in the annual National Merit Scholarship Corporation poll of college choices, but Radcliffe had to take a back seat to Stanford among the girls.
National Merit asked the top two percent of present high school seniors, as determined by Merit tests, to name the colleges they would most like to attend. About 35,000 seniors were polled.
Among the 21,000 boys, Harvard was the most popular with 1476 choices and M.I.T. was a close second with 1400. Then came the following: Stanford, 713; California Institute of Technology, 597; Yale 481; University of California at Berkeley, 428; Cornell, 398; Princeton, 387; Columbia, 376; and Rice, 361.
Four hundred forty-eight of the 13,000 girls picked Stanford as their first choice, while 403 named the 'Cliffe. Cornell was third with 303, followed by Wellesley, 274; California, 231; Michigan, 230; Duke, 218; Smith, 162; Barnard, 156; and Oberlin, 151.
The results were reported by John Stalnaker, president of Merit Corporation. Stalnaker emphasized in a New York Herald Tribune article that the results do not mean that Merit considers the top choices as the country's best colleges.
"They are merely the most popular with our boys and girls," he said. "Most of them also happen to be the most expensive."
Stalnaker told the A.F.L.-C.I.O. conference on equal opportunity in Washington that most of the $100 million a year available for college scholarships in the hands of "a small group of private colleges--three per cent of the colleges control over one-third of the scholarship funds." Stalnaker said this small group of institutions uses these funds to compete for the best students.
The Merit president said it is no longer true that "any ambitious student can get help to get a college education if he really wants one."
"There is a relatively small amount of scholarship money and the applicants for each scholarship of any value are numerous and growing. In general, the competition is fierce."
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