At College, Hot Dates Are In The South, Future Husbands Are In The Northeast

There are lots of factors that go into choosing a college. The attractiveness of the student body should never be one of them. Neither should the chance of finding a good husband there, because it's 2011 and these days girls and gay men go to college to learn things.

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But that didn't stop Newsweek from compiling a list of the Most Beautiful Colleges and the Your Tango website from ranking the 10 Best Colleges to Find a Husband. Informing high school seniors of every facet of the college experience is good, right?

Except, that is, if that information is wrong. AOL Jobs has combed through these lists, picked out the missteps, slip-ups and straight-up untruths, so that college hopefuls can go memorize vocab for the SATs instead.

Newsweek's Most Beautiful College list is peculiar, as it combines both student attractiveness (borrowed from Pop Crunch's 50 Hottest Student Bodies and College Prowler's ratings of schools' "girls" and "guys"), as well as campus beauty and "local atmosphere" (is the surrounding neighborhood full of Robert Frost-worthy vistas or liquor stores and squats?).

Newsweek is essentially asking: Which colleges shower its students with the greatest visual splendor -- human, vegetable and mineral?

The answer is: state schools in the South, followed by private schools in the South. The University of Alabama, Florida State University, University of Florida, Arizona State University, University of Georgia, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, and Emory University all make the Top 10.

This makes sense, since Newsweek uses Pop Crunch's annual list, which bases its idea of hotness partly on how sunny the school's location is ("hot girls gravitate towards warm weather"), clearly favoring more southern latitudes.

Pop Crunch also factors in the attractiveness of the school's cheerleaders and the popularity of partying, tailgating, and general alcohol consumption. (Presumably because girls are hotter when they party. Or at least look hotter when you are?) Big state schools with excellent sports teams therefore get a big leg up.

The pale, bookish beauty of a Natalie Portman is clearly not what the Pop Crunch rankers had in mind.

Your Tango, in selecting the best colleges for a life partner, decided that a school's ranking in U.S. News and World Report was an appropriate proxy for hotness. Unfortunately, any correlation between smarts and sexiness was disproved by Socrates, Satre and Marx.

Also, tellingly, the top 50 colleges and universities in U.S. News and Pop Crunch's 50 Hottest Student Bodies have zero overlap (although Pop Crunch's methodology is also a little dubious, and seems to consist solely of scouring girls' Facebook profiles for bikini pics).

Still, there is some logic to Your Tango's calculations. Intelligence ranks high in the endless polls and studies that seek to answer the elusive question of what women want in a man. Money ranks high too, and so Your Tango also factored the average mid-career salaries of alumni.

Not so surprisingly then, prestigious schools that fast track graduates to high-paying jobs in business, law and finance, like Williams, Princeton, Stanford, Harvard and Amherst, top the charts. Schools that train students for careers in science, engineering and technology, like the California Institute of Technology and Harvey Mudd, also make the cut.

But Your Tango was perhaps misguided in using the rate of alumni giving as an accurate indicator of a man's generosity. More likely, a school's alumni giving rate is an indicator of how much alumni relishes their college days. Unless your idea of an ideal man involves listening to him and his college pals drunkenly sing their school fight song at every dinner party, alumni giving rate is probably a poor metric.

In compiling its list, Your Tango missed one critical thing. The trait that women most look for in a man is a sense of humor. Any college that takes its mention on Your Tango's list seriously therefore disqualifies itself.



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Filed under: College

Claire Gordon

Staff Writer

Claire Gordon has contributed to Slate's DoubleX, the Huffington Post, and the book Prisons: Current Controversies. While an undergraduate at Yale University and a research fellow at Yale graduate school, she spoke on panels at Yale and Cornell, and reported from Cairo, Tokyo, and Berlin.

Follow Claire on Twitter. Email Claire at claire.gordon@teamaol.com. Add Claire to your Google+ circles.

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