Since the publication of J.K. Rowling’s first book, Harry Potter mania has taken the nation by storm. And as it turns out, college campuses are no exception. In a light-hearted opinion piece for the New York Times, Oregon high school senior Lauren Edelson recounts her recent experiences while on a college tour of legendary institutions like Harvard, Dartmouth, and Middlebury College. “It turns out, they’re all a little bit like Hogwarts — the school for witches and wizards in the Harry Potter books and movies,” she writes. “Or at least, that’s what the tour guides kept telling me.” She goes on to explain how the Harvard tour guide compared the freshman dining hall to Hogwarts’s Great Hall. At Middlebury, Edelson discovers that students play a flightless version of the Quidditch game, complete with broomsticks. And the list goes on. What to make of all this Harry Potter talk? Edelson contends that colleges are trying too hard to convince students that their campuses will fulfill student fantasies. “I care about diversity and need-blind financial aid — and, of course, the social life. But I don’t care about what percentage of the student body runs around on broomsticks,” she writes, and then adds. “They’re selling the wrong thing. And my friends and I won’t be fooled. After all, Harry Potter is frozen in high school, and we’re growing up.”
Categories: Continuing the Conversation
I disagree with Edelson’s opinion of Hogwarts and colleges. Personally, I romanticize the magical atmosphere of Hogwarts, and know several other people who do as well. Giving college a “hogwartian” atmosphere is certainly not a deterring factor for us, as it gives us something to relate with colleges besides the alien idea of independence.