The Ideal College

Meena Raman

What are the makings of the ideal college? A tranquil environment? An active social scene? Large lecture halls? Small, hands-on courses?

Factors in the perfect university seem to differ from person to person. And is there one sole aspect that students look for or dislike in a college?

To investigate this further, BCA students were asked to choose and explain the worst and best features a college might have. When polled on what they found most important in a college environment, students had the options of : a high ranking (i.e. Ivy League), as well as good locations and school size, quality professors, an active social scene, affordability, or a diverse student body.

In Anne Li’s perspective, the “general perception and status, as well as official Ivy League ranking, gives a college prestige and is an indicator of the institution’s quality.” Additionally, she believes that stating attendance at such a school is “attractive” on a resume. Anne Li. She believes that, like BCA, Ivy League schools have a high standard of teachers and resources, and are naturally schools of good quality.

It’s important to note that affordability and high ranking typically don’t correspond to one another- Harvard University, the oldest of the Ivy Leagues has a high cost, generally above $50,000. One student whose opinion differed regarding the matter was Jordan Goldberg, who felt that the cost of the school would most largely affect a person’s choice of a college. He stated that, “most colleges have the same level of academics, professors, and student body, but the price tag is where many schools differ.”

Differing in opinion was Olivia Park, who saw professors as the greatest characteristic of a college was the quality of professors, who noted that the passion a prof has for the subject will most heavily influence his or her desire to learn. “…if Professor A is passionate about but limited in his knowledge of a certain subject whereas Professor B is extremely knowledgeable but not passionate about the same subject, Professor A will be much more likely to inspire his students to want to learn more about that subject and therefore his students will end up learning more from him than they would from Professor B.”

Simply put, enthusiasm outweighs information about a subject, because it is, according to Olivia, “contagious.” In terms of negative features in a college, professors were also named.

According to Anne Li, they are “one of the most important things at any learning institution. Without teachers the ‘education’ one is attending the college for becomes nothing more than a self-taught course based off the textbook.” Anne stated further that , “to a large extent, the subjects I enjoy are determined by my teachers- having a good chemistry teacher has made me far less adverse to the subject. In college the course material is likely to be more complex- all the more reason to want good teachers to guide me.”

A unique and accepting array of students was another notable issue that could enable or prevent a student from coming to a college. In Jordan Goldberg’s words, “I think diversity is important too, and that would repel me if there was not a lot of diversity in a school.” As shown by BCA’s unique student body, there isn’t one feature that fits all; students need a multitude of positive features to persuade them into applying and going to a school, and a quality in both rating, teaching, and socializing is always requisite.