My Top 5 Favorite Colleges I Have Visited

For no reason at all, I am going to dish out my favorite colleges from the many years I was paid to visit colleges.

Just a few disclaimers:

  1. I did not say “most beautiful campuses,” although I imagine that comes significantly into play. Rather, I mean the “whole shabang” (which Urban Dictionary defines as everything including the extras—incidentally, never quote Urban Dictionary in a job interview).
  2. I have not visited all 6,632 (per the National Center For Education Statistics) post-secondary colleges/universities, etc. I am, however, working on it. In the very near future, I will visit the University of Texas-Dallas, the University of Wyoming, and Idaho State University, all for speaking engagements. If any or all should be on this list, I will immediately update.
  3. I guess I should note I am not being paid by any of these 5. Have you ever seen a similar disclaimer from Bob Morse?

So with no further ado:

#1 — Princeton University

Visiting Princeton can inspire a sense of wonderment. You feel that great minds (and I mean great, unless you think that Albert Einstein, Woodrow Wilson, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and that Russell Crowe guy were not brilliant in their own right) are in your presence and partied at the bar next door. A train station is on campus. Heck, everything you could possibly find impressive outside of a football stadium that seats 100k is on campus.

Where to visit: My favorite was The Alchemist and Barrister, which strikes me as a very fitting place for you all. No joke, I went there with an alchemist of sorts, so between the two of us we should have been given a free dinner or passed down ownership of the establishment.

#2 — West Point

I’ve been to all of the service academies, and this one takes the cake.  Of course, they aren’t allowed to eat cake there until their “Firstie” year, which oddly means fourth year.  Fun fact, “Cows” are third years.  This place is etched in history even if Wesley Clarke recently participated in Stripes Earn Stars. Every General of any note… I mean every single one (the U.S. should break up West Point for being a monopoly) went there. The best feature, though? It has the most astonishing football stadium—at least view from stadium—in the nation. This is not me talking now, this is from Sports Illustrated or some similar sports rankings.

Where to visit: The Parade Grounds during the cadet procession (my words, not theirs). If you can find someone marching out of beat/line they probably will shoot him/her/you.

#3 — Davidson College

You probably would not have heard of Davidson had it not been for Stephen Curry, who scored like a Pete Maravich a game in college.  But you should send your children there (other than the absurd cost) if you want them to be the most articulate, well-dressed, least entitled people in the nation. I am not kidding, above even their stunning campus is their mind-boggling students. I started visiting Davidson twice a year because of their students. The only school that comes even close is Transylvania (yes, there is a Transylvania College and even worse they go by “Tranny”–but they too have found the magic recipe for admitting/molding the greatest students in the word).

Where to visit: This is a hard one because the town is tiny and the Inn at Davidson or whatever it is called is way overrated, in my opinion (everyone raves about it–so I guess visit it). I think there is a magnificent lake nearby, or something.

#4 — BYU

Are you crazy, Spivey Consulting? You can’t have a beer, diet coke, or cake there (fact check, you can have cake). So, yes, aside from the snow capped mountains at your feet, the immaculately laid out landscape, and the third best students I have ever met I am crazy. I am not saying attend BYU, but I am saying you’ve missed out of you have not visited it.

Where to visit: Um, do you SKI?

#5 — William & Mary

This may be skewed by the fact I visited William & Mary 47 times as an undergraduate and had a great time 46 of them. I also like trees, a lot. If you don't like trees, you might not like it. If you do not like people dressed up like the flying nun churning butter right next door, you won’t like it. But if you like crazy fraternity parties on weekends followed by crazy smart people on weekdays, and a law school where Sandra Day O’Connor was the Chancellor, you want to check this place out.

Runners up:

Michigan: check out their law school library.

UVA: Thomas Jefferson freaking designed it.

Special Runners Up:

Vanderbilt, Washington University in St. Louis, and Colorado. I have worked at all three, so it would be unfair for me to rank them, BUT—each has an amazing campus and very new law schools.

– Mike Spivey