Originally Posted by CFK
There are pockets of intelligent people at just about every university. There are majors that by definition attract more intelligent people, there are honor societies, honors programs, clubs, etc.

This is true, especially at flagship state schools, but here are the 25-75 SAT percentiles for U Mass Amherst, the Massachusetts flagship, and Harvard:

U Mass Amherst
SAT Critical Reading: 530 / 630
SAT Math: 560 / 660

SAT Critical Reading: 700 / 800
SAT Math: 710 / 790

The 25th percentile at Harvard well exceeds the 75th percentile at U Mass Amherst. In our affluent Boston suburb, the average SAT scores at the high school are about the same as the mid-range for U Mass Amherst. We'd like our children to have smarter peer groups in college. There are of course schools intermediate in selectivity between Harvard and U Mass Amherst, but many of them cost almost as much as Harvard.