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Stanford's academic reputation definitely helped me in the corporate world, since a Stanford degree is looked very highly upon in most corporate circles. However, I think I honestly would have been happier at a smaller liberal arts college, since I was kind of lost at Stanford, and partied too much probably because it took away some of the stress. Too many giant lecture classes with TA's and professors who I had trouble understanding (didn't speak english clearly. Also it was definitely an extremely competitive atmosphere with lots of overachievers. I was used to being the "smartest kid" from a large public highschool where it wasn't cool to be smart (you had to hide it), and at Stanford I was immediateley intimidated by all the prep school kids who flaunted their intellect. I wish I had the confidence then that I do now, since I think I would have gotten more out of it educationally. However, people do tend to look at you with more respect when you tell them you graduated from Stanford, so a Stanford degree obviously carries a lot of clout in the real world. I do recommend high school students visit the school and don't get carried away by it's reputation - since if I had visited schools, I think I might have made a different choice. But it all worked out for me, so I can't complain! Interestingly none of my kids chose to apply to Stanford although I think they probably would have gotten in.