Anyone who has ever read (and presumably understood) Sartre's "No Exit" will have no problem understanding how this "powerful school that finds itself on fertile ground for students with imagination, innovation, and motivation" functions in the real world. Notice, first, that everyone who offers a good definition of Case here offers only idyllic platitudes.
Case is the ultimate institution of absurdity.
1.Academics -- Case's academics are actually pretty good. When you compare it with other institutions, however, the workload is mind-numbing. The problem isn't necessarily that you have to work hard. However, this conversation illustrates the problem:
A: the first year is the worst by far.
B: how come?
A: because after the first year you are mentally acclimated to the fact that your professors will give you more work than you can physically do. By the second year you realize that you can't do everything, so you feel more comfortable in your inability.
The academics are not ivy-league. But the workload is more than comparable. The ratio should be even, but it's lopsided.
2.Social life -- parties at Case have a customary policy of "girls only" because if boys can get in, the ratio will always be lopsided. The amount of girls that party is already low, but the amount of guys who want to meet girls and get laid without remembering the morning after is astronomically high.
Michael Chrichton, in Airframe, wrote that little boys reach a crossroads around the age of 13. Most boys stop playing with their toys, start socializing with girls, and date. The engineers didn't get the memo, and keep playing with their toys. Case is an engineering school, and the boys love their toys. Many Friday and Saturday nights involve (at least in this dorm) six guys piling into one room to play XBOX or WoW while a couple girls lay on the floor, tacitly watching in complete boredom as they listen to "WHAT I TOTALLY JUMPED YOU WERE SO DEAD OH MY GOD YOU'RE SO CHEAP."
3.Size -- it takes almost 30 minutes to walk from one side of campus to the other. There are only 4,000 undergrads (compared with 20-30,000 at University of ______) and the number of buildings makes absolutely no sense.
4.Administration -- the administration at Case is concerned with finding the best non-solution to problems. As you can read in other definitions, they spend a bunch of money (raising that tuition!) on something completely erroneous that has nothing to do with the problem.
If you have a good sense of humor, you can come to Case, observe that literally nothing works in the way it should, that there is an absurd "solution" to every problem, that you have "one of those days" every single day...and laugh about it. You accept it soon enough, and it's funny to laugh at the purely miserable state of everything, and how people try to pretend that it's still a world-class institution. A surface-level look at things shows that it's a cool school, but closer examination will only reveal the dysfunctionality of every facet of the campus.
But it's a namebrand education, and it has a reputation which precedes it by leagues. The bottom line is this: if you want an education that only involves you training for a specific job, come to Case. If you want an education that has a less myopic focus, Case probably isn't the place for you.
Isn't it ironic that our Case Western Reserve University English class is reading "No Exit" this week?