Is There a Nice Ranking For Colleges?



Tonight Russ and I have to go to college night for parents of sophomores at Carter’s school. It seems hard to believe that it is time for me to have a more meaningful role in where Carter goes next, but it also seems like we have been talking about college ever since she was in pre-k.


When I was a kid I don’t think I really knew what college was about. I just remember one day I would have a baby sitter and the next they were gone, where and how and for how long and are they ever coming back were questions that were never answered. Every once in a while I would just here the word, “college.”


Where I went to college was a little haphazard, although I think it was a great place for me. I remember going on a couple of college tours with my whole family in tow while we were on vacation. A memorable one was at Wake Forest when I must have been a sophomore and not really ready to think about what kind of school was right for me.


Here is the background, my father had grown up in Winston-Salem and had gone to Chapel Hill so he had a definite opinion about Wake. He asked our tour guide, who was an awkward young man, “What do you do for fun around here?” Now as an ex-college tour guide myself I know that questions like that coming from fathers are a minefield. Little did this guy know that my father thought having fun at college was very important, so as he hemmed and hawed for an answer that he thought a father of a daughter would like to hear, my father leans over to me and says, “You are not going here, they don’t know how to have fun.” (For the record, I know that is not true.)


My mother and I took a trip alone to look at colleges in Pennsylvania and it was a chance encounter with a professor at breakfast at Fay’s country kitchen that sealed the deal for me to apply early to Dickinson. That and the fact that three girls I had gone to Walker’s with had gone there and loved it.


The one thing I think that made Dickinson perfect for me was that I went to school with the nicest group of people. I totally credit the admissions office for choosing people who were generally nice. My friend Tommy Hurdman who went to a different, but very good school, used to come to visit and complain that his classmates were in no way as nice as mine and he wished he had gone to Dickinson. That is how his little brother happened to come to Dickinson.


Now that Carter is about to embark on her search for her next school I wish there was a “nice ranking.” Yes, we want academic rigor, or at least her father does, but I am probably more like my father and want to know, “what do you do for fun around here?” At the time my father asked that I was completely embarrassed, but now I see I have turned into him.

One Comment on “Is There a Nice Ranking For Colleges?”

  1. edward w carter says:

    at the time you visited Wake Forest,they did not allo drinking.I could not imagine going to a fraternity or sority house and not being able to drink! I wondered how the school could possibly police such a ridiculous rule.But even more shocking was the fact that being a Baptist school,WF also did not allow dancing!!! That sealed the deal for me! I did not think that WF was a true college.So I thought they were a FAKE COLLEGE like the college in Lynchburg. That school doesn’t allow dancing or drinking either to this day. And they named it Liberty!!!I know that Falwell purposely euphemized the name to appeal to born again parents,most of whom never went to college and did not want to send their highly over protected kids from going to Sodom and Gommara {sp?}I know Liberty has no Liberty because I know a boy who was expelled in Dec. of his freshman for not making up his bed! And he never went back to college and now is an uneducated N.C.> State Cop!!! Hows that for preparing a kid for life? I totally agree with you. College should be happy because they let you dance and drink with other really nice dancers and drinkers!

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