Re: NY Times: Young, Gifted, and Not Getting Into Harvard
If you are interested in Harvard's admissions policies - read the New Yorker article written by Malcolm Gladwell (sorry - I don't remember the issue). He cites university sources talking about open anti-semitism in the 1920s, and how Harvard currently is looking for student-athletes, not academic superstars as ideal students. Harvard is only a ideal for those who want to believe there are perfect schools, where all students' dreams come true and life is fair.
You apply to enough schools, so you can get admitted to at least one, and then you choose your school, and get on with the task of learning what you are paying to learn. You can pay a lot or a little, what matters is how much you learn and how much you retain.