High school students and parents typically receive numerous well-designed brochures seeking to attract prospective students with their brand. Observers note that most schools tend to say the same thing and obscure the real distinctions.
Former English professor at Yale, William Deresiewicz, in Excellent Sheep: The Miseducation of the American Elite takes up some of the significant differences in American universities. A central difference centers on the reason students go to particular colleges. He typifies the difference by citing a student from Yale who claimed, “It’s hard to build your soul when everyone around you is trying to sell theirs.”
Deresiewicz explains that at many schools students seek only to get wealthy at any cost and to party to any degree. Students who seek a “real education” claim they are made to feel like freaks.
While all schools want graduates to do well in careers and to enjoy the college experience, a few schools focus on building souls.
What is Deresiewicz’s conclusion? “Religious colleges…even obscure regional schools that no one’s ever heard of…do a much better job” addressing “the larger questions of meaning and purpose.”
That’s not what you will read in most glossy college brochures.