Michigan State, Dartmouth, Pacific Lutheran, Drew, and UT Austin are five very different colleges. But it would be hard to tell the differences from the descriptions I pulled from their websites below. The only editing I did was to delete anything that mentioned the school's name or state. Can you tell which is which?
1. But we’re more than just a collection of schools—we’re a community like no other. Our alumni, faculty, students, and staff share a passion for this institution that is unparalleled. At [ ], people forge close connections. Intense involvement in athletics, service, and other activities fosters collaboration and camaraderie. Our students enjoy personal contact with faculty both in and out of the classroom. Undergraduates have the opportunity to conduct original research and work one-on-one with faculty who are at the leading edge of their fields. This unique level of personal interaction and the opportunity to create new knowledge is a signature of our graduate and professional programs as well. With two-thirds of [ ] students taking part in our 60 foreign study and exchange programs, the world is our campus. Our intimate setting encourages focus.
2. The heart of a [ ] education is the free exchange of ideas that comes from close mentoring relationships with faculty and deep intellectual engagement with peers. With 50 areas of study and three pre-professional programs, [ ]'s rich and varied liberal arts curriculum encourages exploration and invites students to take learning out of the classroom. And the curriculum at [ ] is carefully constructed to shape certain competencies—in writing, quantitative reasoning, information literacy and foreign language—essential for success in the contemporary world.
3. Ours is a diverse learning community, with students from every state and more than 100 countries. We are a world-class research university. Last year our faculty and their research teams attracted more federal research grants than any American university without a medical school, except MIT. We were one of the top five universities in the number of U.S. patents awarded to our researchers in 2009.
4. [ ] is dedicated to developing ethical, educated, thinking leaders by challenging students to identify and ask questions of meaning and value in their own lives. [ ] offers a full range of liberal arts academic programs – such as psychology, history and the natural sciences – anchored by a college of arts and sciences. The university also provides students the opportunity for professional study in business, communication and arts, education, nursing, social work, and physical education. Each of these programs maintains a strong liberal arts emphasis at its core. Master’s degrees are offered in business, education, marriage and family therapy, nursing, and writing.
5. Together, we tackle some of the world’s toughest problems to find solutions that make life better—from alternative energy to better food safety to breakthrough medical and environmental applications achieved through rare isotope research. We teach. We explore and we discover. We collaborate and lead. We innovate, inspire, and empower. We achieve our potential and create circumstances that help our students and others achieve theirs. Home to nationally ranked and recognized academic, residential college, and service-learning programs, we’re a diverse community of dedicated students and scholars, athletes and artists, scientists and leaders.
Why is it so hard to differentiate between them? Is it because colleges could do a better job of describing who they are, what they do, and what's unique about them? Or is it because there are hundreds of great colleges from which to choose, any one of which will give you four years of learning, growth, and self-discovery?
The answer: A little of both.
- UT Austin
- Pacific Lutheran
- Michigan State