Three representations of College

April 4th, 2012

Danna Galed

Professor Alvarez

English 110

April 4, 2012

American College Life

There are many various representations of college. To each person college has a different purpose. Some people view college as one big party, studies and academics being only a secondary factor. Some attend college mainly hoping to join a fraternity or sorority and to be a part of something. Others see college as a means of furthering their education and preparing them for good career opportunities in the future.

In this essay I will argue that there is more than one American representation of college. In fact, there are three different representations, college is all about the fraternity and sorority, college is all about partying, and college is all about the education. The first two representations entail a lot of partying and not taking college seriously however the reality is that college and the academics are taken seriously even with the parties going on. The first two films show how college is not taken seriously by the students who rather drink instead, although this may seem true in the Hollywood world it is not in the real world. The third film depicts high school students looking at college with the intention of gaining a better education. The most accurate representation is that of the third film, where students attend college for the education.

Three Different College Representations

In the trailer for the film “Fraternity House”, the senior boys of a fraternity called lota Gamma Chi and who are due to soon graduate are determined to stay in college another year. In order to do so they seek help from students beyond the age of college seniors who have successfully managed to stay as college seniors for as long as eight years. The students are so determined to remain in college as long as they possibly can to enjoy all the benefits of the amazing fraternity experience. Membership in a fraternity or sorority automatically includes college parties, girls/guys, and a great social life and the students of lota Gamma Chi are just not ready to give it up.

For the students in the film, “Fraternity House”, it is apparent that their main focus in college is the fraternity which entails constant partying. The experience of being part of the fraternity has such a strong impact on the students they choose to put their lives on hold to do whatever they can to stay in the same fraternity and remain in college. Upon giving advice to the students who were intent on staying college seniors, the student who managed to stay a senior for eight years stated, “The more you drink the more you get out of your college experience” (“Fraternity House”).  The representation of college to these students in the film is evidently about how long one can stay in a fraternity as a senior and party their whole way through. This representation of college from this film is, in fact, not reality. Academics are an essential component of college. Though fraternity and sorority houses do exist and there are many parties, college is not simply about just that. A big part of college is about learning for the future and getting ahead in life. In this film college is seemingly not taken seriously in the academic department. A student was ill-advised by another to fail his last, explaining that it didn’t matter at all, as long as he gets to stay back in college for another year. Although the glorification of college today seems to revolve solely around fraternities and partying, it’s not the reality of college life.

There is a song called “I Love College” by Asher Roth. The music video begins with a boy who wakes up the morning after a college party and sees a CD in his hand with the title “last night”. After viewing the CD he relives the college party.  Teenagers attend college thinking that it’s going to be one big party. College is all about whose party you get invited to, how many parties you go to or how drunk you get. What is seen in this video is a bunch of college kids partying and drinking and dancing.

In the video, the enjoyment of the college students at the party is visible. Most of the students have drinks in their hands and are dancing with their friends and members of the opposite sex. According to the lyrics the students love college because of the party and don’t ever want to leave. “That party last night was awfully crazy I wish we taped it I danced my ass off and had this one girl completely naked. Drink my beer and smoke my weed but my good friends is all I need. Pass out at 3, wake up at 10, go out to eat then do it again. Man, I love college” (“I Love College”). The students would party all over again because of how much fun it was and how amazing their perception of college is. College is associated with drinking, smoking weed, and getting together with girls or guys, all encompassing a party. This is exemplified by the lyrics in the song, “Man, I love college, ay! And I love drinking, ay! I love women, ay! Man, I love college” (“I Love College”). Only towards the end of the video was class even mentioned, when the singer reveals that he has to go to class for a little bit. In last line of the song, Roth states, “Do I really have to graduate? Or can I just stay here for the rest of my life?” (“I Love College”).  It is obvious that the students in the video do not take any other part of college seriously besides partying. To some, college would be much easier if it was exactly the way depicted in the music video however in actuality college is not like that all. Part of college is hard work and making an effort to go to class and getting good grades. To some students college is taken so seriously the academics become their main stress in life, not like in the video where the students are illustrated as not having a care in the world.

In this film titled “We Are Going to College”, the perspective of college is completely different than the first two films. Many high school students at Global Citizenship High School had no interest in attending college, let alone applying. The main reason being that they were so uneducated to the point of being unable to apply to college and unaware of all that comes with it, such as financial aid and college level writing. Everything changed when the school joined with College Summit, a program that works with schools and their students to teach them all about college and what it entails.

The students’ initial thinking was that they would go straight to work and make some money instead of going through the hassle of applying to college. Given the fact that some students heard that applying was such a stressful process most students didn’t attempt it. However, after attending College Summit’s workshop about college their approach towards college completely changed. Just by attending the voluntary workshop you can see how passionate the students were about going to college. It’s not all about partying for these kids but instead what they can make of themselves, and how they could get a chance at a better future. One of the students stated, “It’s important to get your education” (“We are Going to College”). This girl’s representation of college was all about getting a good education, unlike the students from the first two films who viewed college as one big party. After the workshop the students became more proactive about college. The workshop seemed to have such an impact on one student in particular, Tiffany, that she influenced her friends and the people around her to do better in school and even went as far as to help them apply to college. The students in this film don’t decide on which college to apply to based on which one is known for the best parties, they base their decisions on the colleges with the best education. To these students doing well academically in college is what really counts. After partnering with College Summit, Global Citizenship High School’s college application rate went from sixty percent to nearly one hundred percent.

Reconsidering College Films and and the QC Experience

My representation of college and my experience at Queens College is similar to the students of the film “We are Going to College!” When applying to Queens College I researched the academics they offered and I checked their ratings. I did no research into the party life or the sororities. My only interest was getting a good education and maintaining a high GPA. If I could change Queens College I would change the classes to be more hands on. Where the students are not just coming into classes taking notes and tests and leaving but instead the professor do more hands on work. For example, bringing in models of what they’re learning instead of bringing in pictures and maybe creating a contest of some sort for extra points to motivate the students about their work. This is pretty similar to what the College Summit did with Global Citizenship High School. They had teachers who were interactive with the students who personally showed them what to do and held their hand through the whole process. In addition, I would also increase the school spirit of Queens College. Even being a student here and spending a lot of time on campus I don’t ever hear about their sports teams and hear about pep rallies. A way to increase school spirit is to publicize the sports around campus or the different events going on. I would make flyers to be handed out to the students and I would give out free t-shirts with the college team on it which would maybe motivate students to become more involved in school activities.  College is a combination of many different elements. It involves serious learning, maintaining a social life, and also having a good time. Many students do come to college just to join a fraternity or sorority but it must come with a balance between partying and education. This also applies to the representation of college as one big party. While a part of college is about the parties, it should not become the main focus. Education should be the focal point of the college experience and many people do view college as a tool for gaining a good education and aiming to do better and achieve higher.


Work Cited

“Fraternity House Trailer”. YouTube. Alpha Theta Chi Films, n.d. Web. 22

Jan.  2008.


“I Love College”. Asher Roth. Universal Records & SRC Records Inc. Web. 16

June. 2009.


“We are going to College!”.YouTube. College Summit, n.d. Web. 20

August. 2009.


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