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August 9th, 2012,
college in movies

By Alexander Diedrick

Probably the worst part about colleges and universities are all of those rules that govern it in the real world – you can’t really bust up a school-wide parade or start your own college without actual, career-ending consequences.That’s what makes fictional schools so tempting to the average college student. You can watch a movie and see all of these zany and disastrous things happen, and everything is okay by the time the credits roll.

We’ve put together a list of the 5 best schools in movies and television that we wish we could go to. For obvious reasons, we left out the great Faber College found in the classic Animal House because it’s unfair to let pros compete against amateurs.

5. South Central Louisiana State University– The Waterboy

Once you get past actually saying the name to this school, you’re pretty much done doing any kind of work. Although college life at this school is only glimpsed in this Adam Sandler comedy, it’s fair to say that no one will really care how much effort you’re going to put in.

So why would you go to this school? For starters, you’d be able to witness the best football tackler around: Bobby Boucher. If you’re a sports fan, you’d basically have to attend SCLSU just to see him and his anger issues. Plus, you get to be taught by the Fonz and Colonel Sanders, so why wouldn’t you want to go to this school?

4. Grand Lakes University – Back To School

In this underrated gem, Rodney Dangerfield plays a rich Rodney Dangerfield and goes “back to school” to become a rich, educated Rodney Dangerfield. This is an attempt to earn the respect of his son, and he learns quite a few lessons about himself along the way.

To fall in love with this school, all you have to do is give Rodney Dangerfield a little bit of respect. He’s always complaining about the lack of such a thing, so this just might get you in his good graces. With all of the buildings he donates and parties he throws, Dangerfield is the best thing to ever happen to Grand Lakes University.

You’d also be able to see Dangerfield’s physics-defying swimming dive, Kurt Vonnegut, and Oingo Boingo. Where do I apply?

3. South Harmon Institute of Technology – Accepted

Do you hate classes, professors, and everything else that keeps college from being one big party? Then the South Harmon Institute of Technology might be the school for you. In Accepted, Justin Long plays a student who, after getting rejected from every school, starts his own college. The plan gets out of control as thousands of other rejected students apply, and Long lets them make up their own classes.

While this doesn’t start out as an actual school, Long gains accreditation by the end of the movie, so this still has a spot on the list! Don’t rule this college out right away for your fictional college career – it might actually be more useful than forcing yourself into a degree program that you hate.

Like many art schools, South Harmon probably attracts slackers who don’t want to gain an actual education, but college should also be about personal growth. And I can think of no better way to better yourself during your college years than with a degree that you’ve designed yourself.

2. Adams College – Revenge of the Nerds

Who doesn’t like an underdog story? (Besides the…overdog? Is that a word?) Revenge of the Nerds (written by one of the professors at my school, Steve Zacharias) came out before “nerd” culture hit mainstream with words such as Big Bang Theory and every comic book movie.

In a nutshell, the movie is about a group of nerds at Adams College who rise up against the “jocks” and take back the school from bullying. And they use computers to make music! Nerds are like magic!

Adams College sounds great, as long as it’s post-Revenge. College is so much more than just a drunken jock-ocracy, and this movie demonstrates this, albeit in a very ‘80s way.

1. Greendale Community College – Community

If you’re like most of the American TV-watching population, you have no clue how amazing Greendale Community College is. If I could, I’d enroll there tomorrow…and never leave.

The premise of the show Community starts off as a group of seven misfits who struggle to “make the best of things” at a chaotic community school, but they eventually grow to love how the school brings them together and what it has to offer. Sure, the fire alarms aren’t plugged in and there is an occasional ax-wielding student, but there are enough dances and costume changes for the Dean to make the school a wonderful place.

As with every school, Greendale is what the students make it to be. If you want to coast by with blow-off classes, you certain can. But if you want to become a better person and propel  your college career forward, Greendale can make that happen as well.

Alexander Diedrick is a television writing and production student at Columbia College of Chicago. In addition to producing and writing for Price of Admission, a movie and television review show for college students, Alexander is a writing intern at myFootpath, LLC.