Parents love to brag about their kids whenever the opportunity calls for it. Chances are, if you’re away at school and somebody asks your mom or dad “how the kids are,” you can guarantee your parents will mention something about the school you go to and how well you’re doing (while hopefully avoiding mention of that time you projectile vomited in your dorm’s entrance hall).
Make no mistake; your parents are definitely talking about you and your parents’ friends are definitely judging.
To most students, “liberal arts” is that bright, sunny place where trust-fund babies from “just outside Boston” interact with Brooklyn-born hipsters in a small, classroom setting. To most adults, “liberal arts” is code for “an expensive way to get the kids out of the house”. Sure, most of the general public hasn’t even heard of your school, but hopefully, your future employers will at least have taken a glimpse at Forbes’ generous annual list, just to prove that you’re exceptionally good at bullshitting your way into a paid position somewhere.
Examples: Amherst College, Middlebury College, Hamilton College, Williams College
Thoughts: “[Your school’s name]? Never heard of it. It’s probably some tiny school with a shitty football team in the middle of nowhere. Little Timmy here will probably graduate unprepared for the real world thanks to his liberal arts safety-net, but at least he can just blame the economy.”
Now seems like the appropriate time to make a reference to our favorite NBC niche-comedy starring a rag-tag group of misfits, but most likely, if you’re going to a community college, you’re still living at home without the leadership of a Joel McHale look-alike and are probably present for this very conversation between your parents and their dinner guests. At least you can come to your parents defense about your learning experience, like how you’re currently studying the intricate patterns on the insides of your eyelids.
Examples: Maryland Community College, Hesston College, Suffolk Community College, that brick building you used to pass on your way to work in high school.
Thoughts: “Oh, I always thought Little Timmy was an odd one, what with his always lighting his G.I. Joes on fire in the driveway. It’s no wonder he goes to community college.”
Ivy League University:
When your parents aren’t making your college allegiance completely clear from the number of sweaters they bought at your school store on move-in day, they’re bragging about the fact that you go to a school people have actually heard of. Thankfully, your parents will take the brunt of all this annoyance while you live in bliss, ignorant of the hatred your success will spur within your parents’ peers.
Examples: Harvard University, Yale University, Princeton University, Brown University
Thoughts: “Okay, jeez, we get it! Your kid is ‘smart.’ Now, at least I’ll know who to call in ten years when I need to have my gallbladder removed.”
Big, Party School:
These schools are most likely another type people have heard of either due to the high percentage of football players who go pro or the high percentage of semi-functioning alcoholics that graduate each year. Anyone who follows college sports will likely ask your parents if you’re friends with that really attractive star basketball player who’s getting drafted to the NBA despite the fact that no, you don’t know that guy, nor do you know any of the other 20,000 undergraduates because you’ve spent the entirety of your college career black-out drunk.
Examples: Penn State, UC Santa Barbara, Ohio University
Thoughts: “Can Little Timmy get me free tickets to March Madness?”
Technical colleges can vary between famous craft schools (i.e.: FIT, NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts) or annoying tech/online schools that air commercials starring former students trying to convince us that their college experience was not as terrible as we rightfully assume it was. Unfortunately, it is impossible for those alums to hide the disappointment in their eyes, especially if you happen to catch one of those TV commercials on an HD screen.
Examples: ITT Technical Institute, DeVry University
Thoughts: “Thank god my kid doesn’t go there.”
State schools represent that middle ground between liberal arts/Ivy’s and community college for being medium-sized, less expensive than private schools, and most likely a few hours away from home. They’re also remarkable for being exceedingly average in every way.
Examples: SUNY Oneonta, UConn, Western Kentucky University,
Thoughts: “Wait, you have a kid who’s in college? Why have I not known this until now?”