It's time to cast your vote! Yesterday we proposed an initial list of America's most annoying liberal arts colleges. After perusing all your comments and emails, we've come up with a much-refined initial group of contenders for you to vote on. We've also selected the best description of each college from the voluminous correspondence we received on this endlessly fascinating subject. No more write-ins please—sorry, Skidmore!—this is our list and we're sticking to it. To get you started, we turn to the immortal words of commenter LOLCait, who helpfully defined liberal arts colleges for us: "In the form it's being used here, it's a four-year liberal leaning, usually in a small town, college with no grad programs, that rich kids go to feel free and take peyote and wander around campus barefoot and shrieking into the night "I'm a real person!" and then graduate and abandon it all for a good job, only to relive it on screened in porches years later when they find an old joint pressed into a copy of the Stranger, so they toke it even though it's stale and they remember a little bit but then go to bed and wake up just the same as they were the day before." All right then! To the colleges!
First the rationale, and then the voting:
Bard: "A chick I went to HS with went there and within days was smoking opium, having cuddle parties, partaking in "body painting" parties, and majoring in some sort of art. Yeah, definitely the ho's on the Hudson."
Bennington: "Apparently, you can claim to have a degree in anything you took a class in. Or didn't take a class in."
Brown: "it's the same liberal arts bullshit plus all the extra Ivy douchebaggery. Like the students weren't even committed enough to the liberal arts cause to risk that strangers on the street wouldn't immediately recognize their superiority."
Eugene Lang: "Let's take a distinguished and progressive graduate faculty for continentally-influenced social research, and then haplessly attach a poorly run airy-fairy liberal arts college where the undergrad cool-hair kids can major in hipster fuckery and get a head-start on their farther flung liberal arts pals in New England and the Midwest by already living in Williamsburg!!!"
Evergreen: "It's Reed for dumb-fucks. All that no-grades stuff, self-entitled student body, hordes of occasionally-gay band-shirt-wearing twats, absurd classes, the most hipper-than-thou hipsters you've met this side of Williamsburg, etc. BUT THEY'RE ALL IDIOTS ON TOP OF IT. You only go to Evergreen if you got rejected from Reed and Brown. It's truly a marvel."
Goddard: "It's pretty much the predecessor to most of the institutions that you're all mentioning. They never had declared majors, tests, numbered or letter grades. To top it all off, their most famous graduates are the band members of Phish. Top that." [Ed. note: We would also like to note their slogan: "Come to Goddard as you are. Leave the way you want to be."]
Hampshire (via email): "i went there for two and a half years. i had to leave because, after wasting $80,000 of my parents money, i managed to only finish 3 courses although i was never put on academic probation, had my room explode and dorm burn down due to faulty wiring, and managed to make my way up to selling 20 pounds of weed and 50 pills of ecstasy a week. although this was a paltry amount compared to more experienced trust fund drug dealers on campus, i felt i should quit while ahead."
Oberlin: Their grads deliberately make THE most annoying contributions to American culture - Eric Bogosian, Bill Irwin, Julie Taymor, Kim France, Liz Phair, Ed Helms, Josh MacPhee, David Rees, Josh Ritter, and yea, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. It's a type."
Reed: "Sure, there's a crunchy vibe going on (it is Oregon after all), and there were a lot of recreational drugs, but generally the people I knew were too busy dropping out or contemplating suicide because of all the rain. Reed does love to talk about how everyone goes on to grad school, but as you've probably figured out, there's no money in that."
Sarah Lawrence: "Some other defining characteristics: everyone's vegan, yet still smokes and wears leather; parties have permanently been replaced by trips to Brooklyn and lots of coke; anonymous shit-talking on livejournal is a sport. Also, it's kind of a tradition that with each entering first year class, everyone complains that the school is becoming too "mainstream" and "normal."
Swarthmore: "It should be on the Most Annoying LAC list because of how sickeningly pretentious most of the students are - in the "My family can afford the $45k per year tuition, but I choose to wear grandma clothes from Goodwill, because ironic attire means I'm interesting, right?" Those emo glasses on everyone. The smugness of kids taking first year seminars on shit like "The Art of the Japanese Tea Ceremony," which is a full semseter course. The complaining about honors theses. The sensitivity. The utter lack of preppiness. The way everyone gushes about how is was his/her (my apologies for using gender specific pronouns!) first choice, that they did NOT want to go to Yale. That they are earning "the best education money can buy."
Vassar: "Naked parties, school-sponsored drinking, the Spin article. And I was constantly meeting people who I was later told were "the heir to the Colgate/Palmolive fortune," or "that guy's dad invented post-its." Also, The Bravery went there. That's gotta count for something."
Wesleyan: "So Doree, if you don't want to hear about Electic, how about all of our AWESOME naked parties!?!?!"