The top 5 best fictional schools and universities (of all time)

Your uni can sometimes feel like the best place there is, until you see others on film or television. Here are the top five fictional schools and universities that put the real world to shame.

1) Kingsman Academy

The Kingsman Academy is set up by super-secret spy organization Kingsman: The Secret Service and is where young recruits partake in the agency’s ultra-competitive training program.

In the film and graphic novel the main character (Eggsy) is turned from an unrefined street kid committing petty crimes into an elite spy, the kind who is capable of taking down supervillains, making James Bond style puns and identifying whiskey from the smell alone. All taught at the Kingsman Academy, through methods including unannounced flooding of their bedrooms which they then have to escape – possibly the hardest job interview in the world.

Entry requirements

A taste for crime that can be channeled into becoming the next James Bond, and the admiration of Colin Firth.

Why it’s better than Birmingham University:

In the film Eggsy is given access to advanced, James Bond style weaponry precisely because he's good at crime, and trusted not to do any of the crime that got him into Kingsman in the first place. Birmingham University doesn't even trust its students to operate a washing machine, and issued (incredibly detailed) instructions to all its students.

There's also a lot less exam prep at Kingsman. There isn't much revision you can do for an exam where your bedroom is flooded in the middle of the night and you're tasked with not drowning:

What they teach you

How to be a gentleman, fight henchwomen with deadly blades in place of prosthetic legs, and how to cope with eccentric supervillain billionaires played by Samuel L. Jackson:

Kingsman Academy

All essential life skills.

You can get a free ticket to see Kingsman: The Secret Service through student film first.

Main reason we want to go there:

Double-barrelled umbrellas that fire bullets at our foes, and other gadgets.

2) Xavier's school for gifted youngsters

The place

Xavier's school for gifted youngsters is the school where mutants with superpowers are trained in the Xmen series.

The second school to be brought to screen by Kingsman director Matthew Vaughn (in the excellent movie Xmen: First Class), Xavier's school for gifted youngsters is probably the place that most resembles a real life university (if you ignore the airbase underneath the grounds, you could be looking at Durham).

It's also the only college that requires its lecturers to wear a spandex uniform and fight crime (again, much like Durham).

Entry requirements

Probably the toughest entry requirements on the list, and maybe the most racist, as you will only get in if you have mutant abilities. Don't expect to get in unless you can grow wings out of your back, make drinks colder than room temperature or change the TV channel with your mind (a power sadly now useless after the invention of the remote control).

Why it’s better than the University of Gloucester:

Hull didn't really stand a chance against a mansion where most of the world's mutants go to train. In Xavier's school if you're too cold you can ask Pyro put some flames on, if you're too hot you can ask 'Iceman' to do his little trick. In Hull they only have central heating, which doesn't quite compare.

What they teach you

The curriculum in this school is pretty tailored to the person. If you're Mr Burny Man (aka 'Pyro') you'll mainly be taught "how not to set things on fire" in your first few years, and then later, in advanced class, "how to set fire to the things you want to be on fire".

It's also a school where you shouldn't expect to learn any science. Lessons in meteorology tend to get undermined by Storm, bursting into the classroom and declaring "the weather is what I demand it to be!" before making thunder outside and her eyes turn white for some reason.

Xmen academy

Main reason we want to go there:

To gain training in how to use my superpower. I can bend my fingers like this:

Mutant power hyper flexible

Without Xavier's school to guide me, I may use my power for evil.

3) Camden / Hampden college

The place

Hampden College is the setting of the critically acclaimed and bestselling novel "The Secret History" by Donna Tart, about a group of Greek students at an elite university who murder a friend of theirs in cold blood.

Camden College is the setting of Bret Easton Ellis's brilliant novel "The Rules of Attraction", later turned into a great film by Pulp Fiction co-writer Roger Avery:

Why are these two condensed into one entry? They're both based on the real life Bennington College (the most expensive university at the time in America), where both authors attended at the same time, and the works cross reference each other. Also word count.

Both authors were inspired by the disaffected attitude of the spoiled and bohemian students who attended there, as well as the endless orgies of drug taking and promiscuity that took place across campus.

Entry requirements

Buckets and buckets of parent's money, as well as a limitless appetite for drugs, parties and possibly murder.

Why it’s better than the University of Warwick:

In Camden / Hampden parties last whole terms. In Warwick the most spoken sentence is "a second low alcohol white wine spritzer? I couldn't possibly."

What they teach you

As described by Richard "Dick" Jared (a minor character in the Rules of Attraction book and film):

"Gangbang 101, Freebase Tutorial, and Oral Sex Workshop."

Main reason we want to go there

Endless partying on daddy's money, as well as the sense of superiority you'd get from being even a slightly decent human being as compared to your fellow students.

4) Barnett College (Indiana Jones)

The place

Barenett College is the university where Professor Indiana Jones rarely teaches. He's technically meant to be teaching archaeology as a full time lecturer when he's off searching for the grail, having daddy issues with Sean Connery and hiding in a fridge from a nuclear apocalypse.

Entry requirements

A love of dreamy archaeology professors and the willingness to show that love by writing it across your eyelids.Indianna Jones Barnett College

What they teach you

Virtually nothing. In this clip (the only clip of him teaching in the films) he teaches his students that "neo" means "new" and "lithic" means stone.

Then he dismisses the class, and then he leaves the university to go on his adventures, not returning for the entire term.

Why it’s better than the University of Kent:

No-one shows up to conduct seminars. Do you think Indy has time to mark your paper on 2nd Century Greek pottery? Or do you think he’s a little busy punching Nazis in the face?

That’s just the archaeology lecturer. The physics teacher probably spends most of his time in space. Even the janitor solves crime.

We have no indication that anyone at Kent does anything other than teaching and mundane, whip-less research.

Main reason we want to go there

Archaeology tutors who travel the world whipping people until they hand over artefacts.

5) Hogwarts

The Place:

You all know what Hogwarts is, so here's a video of how Harry Potter should have ended:

It's the magical castle from Harry Potter where everything from the grounds to the interior is practically designed to kill or maim its occupants, which is interesting interior design for a school.

Entry requirements

You must have magical powers and a massive lack of curiosity which prevents you from showing a physicist what you can do to see what he makes of it all.

What they teach you

Dangerous magic tricks and muggle pity.

Why it’s better than the Hull

Butterbeer tastes better than cider.

Main reason we want to go there

If Hogwarts exists and you’re a wizard, it’s pretty much your only choice. Otherwise you could go to Durmstrang where you learn the dark arts and racism (they won’t allow ‘Mudbloods’). At best you’ll learn how to be surly, and a bit of a dick:

Victor Krum Surly

Or you could go to Beauxbatons and learn to be beautiful, French and a woman. All excellent choices, but it’s not great that in the entire world Wizards only have the option of being Scandinavian and evil, French and pretty or a Hogwarts student.

As I'm none of these other things, I would definitely choose Hogwarts, especially since the risk of death is significantly lower than literally anywhere else in the Harry Potter Universe.

Special mention

Mars University from Futurama, just for their slogan:

Mars University Slogan

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This article was sponsered by Kingsman.

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