21 August 2012

WVU #1 Party School? Bull Shit, and Why the Princeton Review Can Kiss My Hillbilly Ass

The Princeton Review has just published it’s annual college & university rankings.  The Review purports to measure objectively the quality of the educational experience along several axes.

And, perhaps “in fun,” the Review ranks the “top party schools.”  For years, the editors have had great fun hoisting West Virginia University to the top of the list frequently and nearly always ranking it “high.”  This year, WVU is “Number One.”

This year, the Review cites the frequency of police citations for underage drinking, open containers and so forth, and the number of celebratory fires lit off by students. 

And let me say that the police do indeed issue a lot of underage drinking citations in Morgantown.  Also, one form of illegal celebration is lighting off junk out in the middle of the street.  The Fire Department comes along, hoses it down and leaves, game over.

The Princeton Review is not an academic journal.  It is a company which conducts review courses for people taking college and graduate school entrance examinations.  To quote their own website:
Founded in 1981, The Princeton Review has long been a leader in helping college and graduate school–bound students achieve their higher-education goals through our test-preparation services, tutoring and admissions resources, as well as through online courses and resources and print and digital books.

I have never used any such courses, and I have no personal opinion about them.  Apparently, this company has a lot of customers and has now been in business 30 years, so I must conclude that they know what they’re doing.

But ranking “party schools”?  That’s pure elitist bullshit.

Oh, that it’s the Princeton anything is not significant.  The website has the disclaimer that The Princeton Review is not affiliated with Princeton University.  Perhaps they picked the name because the founder came from the City of Princeton in New Jersey.  Or the one in Massachusetts; or Illinois; or Minnesota.  Or even the one in West Virginia.

I’m thinking of renaming our firm “Perry Mason® Legal Group.”  No particular reason, it just came to me.

This party school thing is just another jab at us poor bumpkins back in the hollers of West Virginia.

Full disclosure: Mothers & Fathers - If you send your children to WVU, likely they are going to drink a little beer.  And maybe raise a little hell.

Let me tell you what else might happen.

First and foremost, they may find themselves liking an environment where they are encouraged not to let themselves get “sent” anywhere, but where they are expected to take some responsibility and make up their own damn minds.  And then live with the consequences. 

It’s certainly possible that they’ll smoke a little weed, but I’m telling you that the odds aren’t quite as high as they are in urban settings.  Drugs are a scourge everywhere, but in West Virginia campuses, they lack the full cachet of other places.  For that matter, lots of nitwit, contra-productive habits and activities are out of style. 

(More full disclosure: Tobacco use and obesity are epidemic in West Virginia.  Not so much on campus, but generally.)

Let’s see, what else might they run into besides the idea of drinking beer and raising hell?  Oh, right, there’s VALUES.

Work, that’s a value.  Students who attend college and do little else are not considered people of leisure or true scholars.  In this culture, they are lazy bums and need to get their asses out and work.  Mommas and Papas, if you don’t want your little girl or boy to work a little or be around peers who will be disrespectful of them if they are lazy well, hell, send them to Princeton.

Service, that’s another value.  Two or three years ago, a kid got lost in the back country just west of the Blue Ridge.  There were hundreds of volunteers, MANY from WVU, who went down to hike into rough country in bad weather to search.  That willingness is a value that is characteristic of West Virginia.  We help our neighbors.  The willingness to acquire the outdoor skills to do that is another value.  Pity the poor sissy who is afraid of getting lost in the woods.

Honesty is another value at WVU.  I did not attend the business school, and I’m wondering how many Wall Streeters came from there.  Maybe not a whole lot.  I’m not sure someone honest fits into the financial elite these days.  That’s OK with us, by the way.

Now, more full disclosure: Mommas and Dads, if you want little Miss or Mr. to learn elegance, send them somewhere else.  Oh, they’ll go, someone who wants to worry about their damn hair or how well a suit is pressed probably is the sort who will let parents pick a college.

Yup, drinkin’ and hell raisin’.

Damn sight better than being some elitist debutante or pretty boy.

Hope I’ve made myself clear.

PS - It’s been a while since I’ve posted.  Rather, posted HERE.  Lots of other writing is going lots of other places.

1 comment:

Jim N said...

Thanks for the truth about the Princeton Review, Roger. That was new information. You'd think the University would do more to disassociate itself from the publication. As I've said before, sometimes we Appalachians believe the press about us, that is, until we are in settings where the so-called elite are also present. Then we discover what bloviating airbags they are, and no longer do we need to assume an inferior position. Good blog, Sir!