With the advent of self-care clubs, wall murals decorated with Disney characters, and writing assignments disguised as therapy sessions, most modern American colleges are now the world’s most expensive daycare centers. Ever since I dropped $100 on an honor’s society a few semesters back, I’ve gotten a lot of email ads from Big Colleges. Most describe themselves as this. ‘Here at so-and-so College, you will be agreed with by everybody. You won’t swallow any difficult ideas here.‘ From the looks of it, most modern American colleges compete on how welcoming they are rather than how intellectually stimulating.
Of course, this is nothing but marketing. However, nothing but marketing matters more than we think. Marketing sends signals to people about your product or institution. What you say about what you’re selling (and yes, college is sold) determines what sorts of people buy. The signal we’re receiving from most colleges is this. We are the most agreeable college. And the sorts of people fostered by an overabundance of this signal? People who want to be agreed with.
If you graduate from college and your brain isn’t covered in callouses, then what good was that $200,000 and 4 years of your life? And if your criteria of a good college is how welcoming it is, then waving goodbye to your parents on your first day on campus is no different than your first day at Kindercare.