My own situation: I had three AP tests going into my senior year (Computer Science BC, Calculus BC, Chemistry) - all 5s. I would take a couple more at the end of senior year. My SAT score totals were: 1250 (age 12), 1440 (age 15), 1560 (age 17). I took the achievement tests - top scores on those, too. Oh yeah, perfect score on the PSAT. I had taken calculus in 10th grade.
My main worry my senior year, with regards to college? Getting enough in scholarships to go. There was no money saved for me to go to college. My dad died my junior year in high school, and I had two younger sisters. I applied to schools other than NC State: Ga Tech, Va Tech, and WPI. I believe I got accepted to all, but none of the scholarships offered would get me anywhere near being able to pay for college. There was no way I was going to go into debt to pay for college, as I wanted to go into academia, which meant grad school, and years of low-paying academic jobs. I'm sure that if I didn't get enough in scholarships to pay off all of what I needed to go to State, I would've either finished in 3 years, or gotten "real" jobs in the summer rather than the academic things I did.
Most seniors in the country aren't worried about getting into Harvard. Most are worried about being able to get through college and being able to pay for it. And we're talking paying for public colleges here, or even community college.
My own financial situation changed sophomore year at State, which afforded me yet more opportunities (like a nice trip to England, and a summer in Japan, which was mainly paid for by scholarship, but that scholarship didn't pay for all the nifty souvenirs!) Still, I went to State, got a really good education and had lots of interesting jobs during college. But what amused me most was that even without the jobs, I was getting paid to go to State: I had two substantial scholarships, and after I paid tuition and room & board, I'd get the remainder in a check. That remainder was usually only a couple hundred dollars, but it kept me in college for 4 years, as opposed to the 3 years I could've done (I left only 6 credits left for senior year: a PE and a humanities. I left required credits because I didn't want them to force me to graduate! Like the hero of Doorways in the Sand by Zelazny...)
Anyway, you realize the social atmosphere of the Times and the WSJ when they do all this Ivy League coverage, which is irrelevant to the vast majority of America. But then, their arts and wine coverage should tell you that, too. It's not just price that makes the Daily News or the NY Post outsell the Times in the local market-- (it's their easily readable tabloid format on the subways). The Times never had any local news of any relevance to my life. I only bought it on Tuesday for the Science coverage, and even that bored me after a while. I barely check the Times online, which I used to do every day.
It amuses me, who has a bunch of relatives in the Carolinas, some of whom live in trailers, to see these NYC provincials try to ponder the ways of the podunk mind. And =they= think they're sophisticated? Heck, most of the people in the trailer park conduct their private lives with more dignity than the NYC social elite. It is to laugh. And they don't realize the rubes are laughing at them. =snort=
Anyway, back to Futurama. I think I'll have a yogurt. I'm getting too lazy to even eat.