The 21 best fictional colleges of all time

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As the rash of fender benders within a four-mile radius of your local college might have told you, school is back in session. And while America is full of great college towns, awesome college bars, and even better college sandwiches, no school can ever measure up to the legends we saw in movies, TV, and books.

Sure, these places made us think college would be a non-stop orgy with the occasional break for a beer funnel, like Aladdin made us think the Middle East was a place full of singing blue genies, but what’s the fun of fiction if it’s not better than the real thing? Here are the top 21 fictional colleges that we all wish we could have attended.

Fresh Prince LA University

21. University of Los Angeles

Fresh Prince of Bel Air 
Yeah, Carlton ditched it for Princeton and Will decided selling used cars would probably be more fun than going there. But they had Tyra Banks working in the student center, and that has to count for something.

Monsters University

20. Monsters University

Monsters University
We give crazy props to a school that doesn’t really care how hard you work or how much you know, and will straight up kick you out of a program if you don’t look the part.

Sorry Mike, this ain’t Notre Dame, and you ain’t Rudy. 

Duke University

19. Dupont University

I am Charlotte Simmons
An almost-ivy league school in the mid-Atlantic with a legendary basketball team that serves as a launching pad for generations of finance douches might hit a liiiiiiittle close to home for some alums of a school that rhymes with “Puke”. But did that school in Durham ever have a Republican presidential candidate get caught being, um, serviced in the on-campus woods by a willing co-ed? OK, maybe; Tom Wolfe is a beast of a researcher.

Animal House

18. Faber University

Animal House
Yeah, get over the shock we didn't put Animal House at no. 1. Really, how cool is a school with a dean hell-bent on getting rid of a fraternity that gets Otis Day and the Knights to play a toga party? Sorry, Dean Wormer, but the only reason your school even cracks the top 21 is because your wife is such a team player.

Mars University

17. Mars University

“Oh, you thought you’d get far away and learn about being independent by doing a semester abroad in Spain? That’s cool. I did my exchange program on MARS“ (drops mic).

Hudson University law and order

16. Hudson University

Law and Order/DC Comics
You’d think with, like, a homicide a week, people would stop applying. Then again, you’d think people would stop inviting Jessica Fletcher to dinner parties. Superman actually applied here too, but opted for Metropolis U when he either realized he didn't wanna deal with Logan and Briscoe every day, or that the only other superhero to ever come out of here was Robin.

HIgher Learning

15. Columbus University

Higher Learning
Kudos to good ole CU for giving every single college stereotype a powerful on-campus club with a heavy presence at protests. Which happened more frequently than traffic updates. And sure, they had a liiiiiiiitle white supremacist problem, but so does Idaho and they still cracked our top 30 in beer

He's Got Game Threesome
Touchstone Pictures

14. Tech U

He’Got Game
They throw, hands down, the greatest recruiting trips ever. 


13. Pennbrook University

Boy Meets World 
This UPenn/St. Joe’s hybrid would have ranked higher if they’d have just let it slide when Cory punched “professor” Fred Savage for getting fresh with Topanga. But bonus points for recognizing the academic brilliance that is Mr. Feeny, and hiring him on as full-time faculty after just a semester of taking classes.

Indiana Jones Barnett College

12. Barnett College

Raiders of the Lost Ark
Indiana Jones is on the faculty. The student body could be made up of Mongolian exchange students and carnival workers and it'd still make the list.

Wossamotta U

11. Wossamotta U

Rocky and Bullwinkle
Look at Bullwinkle's eyes and tell us they weren't getting the good stuff at Wossamotta U. Plus, where else do you get two Russian spies as classmates, and a professor with an operative time machine? And a pet boy. But let’s not talk about that.

UC Sunnydale

10. UC Sunnydale

Buffy the Vampire Slayer
This is like Hogwarts, but with really, really good-looking people. Sure, you MIGHT encounter a demon instead of your run-of-the-mill mugger if you stay late at the library. But once you realize Buffy will always bail you out right on time, you’ll see why Willow turned down Oxford to go here.

Hillman College A Different World

9. Hillman College

The Cosby Show/A Different World
We know, Kanye. You’re gonna go ahead and let South Harmon finish, but “Hillman is the best fictional college ever”, right? Yeah, the fact you gave it a shout out and that it gave us a few more years of Dwayne Wayne’s antics after The Cosby Show went off the air put this squarely in our top 10. But would it have killed The Coz to make a few more guest appearances?

Coolidge College Van Wilder

8. Coolidge College

Van Wilder
Not that every school in the SEC won’t let you do it anyway, but this place let a dude in his mid-20s stay enrolled and do nothing for seven years, then featured him in school newspaper TWICE for being a model slacker -- AND lets you do a whole semester’s worth of work in a week.

California University Saved by the Bell

7. California University

Saved by the Bell; The College Years/Beverly Hills 90210
We’d love to have been standing in the quad that sunny day when AC Slater unknowingly made a move on Kelly Taylor only to come face to face with a really-pissed-off Dylan McKay who lowered his glasses, sneered, and slowly rasped, “I’ll give you and your friend 5 seconds to get out of here before I break that giant phone over both your heads”.

Grand Lakes University, Back to School
orion pictures

6. Grand Lakes University

Back to School
When your commencement address is given by Rodney Dangerfield, and contains the most widely taken commencement advice of the past 25 years -- “Move back in with your parents, let them worry about it” -- you’ve definitely got one of the best fictional schools ever. 

Blue Mountain State

5. Blue Mountain State

Blue Mountain State
In an era when hazing on college campuses is pretty much grounds for public hanging, Blue Mountain State bucks PC pressure and hazes the living soul out of every member of its football team, all the while keeping with the throwback ethos of letting athletes run wild on campus. No wonder guys like Bill Romanowski, Brian Bosworth, and Chad Ochocinco (all of whom had cameos) wouldn't want to leave.

Rules of Attraction

4. Camden College

Rules of Attraction (and every other book by Bret Easton Ellis)
Sure, the University of New Hampshire has one of college sports’ great traditions with their adorable fish toss. It would still be the second best college tradition in New Hampshire behind “doing lots and lots of cocaine and banging your whole school”, if this fictional New Hampshire liberal arts school -- based on Bret Easton Ellis’ alma mater Bennington College -- were real. 

Old School
motecito picture company

3. Harrison University

Old School
At most colleges, to start a fraternity you have to be, you know, IN COLLEGE. Not so at Harrison, where any middle-aged guy who catches his girlfriend in an orgy can just buy a house next to campus, throw a Mitch-a-palooza with Snoop Dogg, do a little streaking and BAM! He’s a frat star. Even killing a pledge with jello wrestling doesn’t warrant sanctions.

Revenge of the Nerds

2. Adams College

Revenge of the Nerds
Things that would land you in jail in the real world -- like burning insulting words on people’s lawns, planting cameras in sorority houses, and forcibly removing people from their dorm rooms -- would just make you president of the Greek council at Adams.


1. South Harmon Institute of Technology

If you don’t mind going to school in a converted mental hospital and having Lewis Black in charge of your academic future, this is a dream school where anybody can get in, design their own classes on a whiteboard, and teach them however they want. And while we’re pretty sure this isn’t too far off from a lot of schools in Washington and Oregon, South Harmon still takes our top spot thanks to the stellar school newspaper, the S.H.I.T. rag, and their fearsome mascot, the S.H.I.T. sandwich.