10 Fictional Schools That We’d Love to Attend


We’re huge fans of the campus novel, and this morning we’re adding another great one to our collection: Don Lee’s The Collective , which hits shelves today. The novel, which follows a group of young artists during and after college, got us thinking about all the wonderful houses of learning from books that we wish we could have attended — from grade schools to high schools to college. Though The Collective is set at a real-life school, Macalester College, we’ve narrowed our choices to fictional schools (though some of them may bear more than a passing resemblance to extant houses of learning) to make it a little more fun. Click through to read about ten literary schools where we’d love to study, and let us know where you’d go if you had the chance in the comments.

Jordan College, The Golden Compass

Though Lyra didn’t actually go to school here (any more than she could help it, anyway), it is the unparalleled destination for studies in experimental theology, which sounds rather fascinating. We’d probably be just as keen to skip the scholarly life and experience Jordan like Lyra, scampering across the roofs with Roger the kitchen boy, waging grand plum stone wars against the townies.

Battle School, Ender’s Game

Sure, they’re all being groomed to fight aliens, but still: weekly laser tag battles in zero gravity playgrounds, advanced video gaming during every free moment, and a social system based on how good of a warrior you are all sound pretty fun to us. We’ll skip the fist fights in the showers, though.

The Unseen University, Discworld

The exploits of the staff aside, we’d attend the Unseen University for its high-caliber facilities: the Tower of Art, oldest (and perhaps strongest) building in the Discworld, and a library so stuffed with magical knowledge that its space and time have become warped into a locus of L-Space where you can find every book ever written, whether in past, future, or only existent in other realities. No one has a better library than that.

Wayside School, Sideways Stories From Wayside School

We’ve always wanted to go to an absurdist grade school. Now if only Mrs. Gorf would stop coming back as potato salad, everything would be peachy.

Image credit: Christopher Shy

Brakebills, The Magicians

Yes, another wizarding college — can you really blame us? Except, well, there’s a lot more sex and drugs going on than in your typical fantasy novel school — you know, just like real college, except that from where we’re standing, it looks like the classes are a good deal harder. Plus, we hear some crazy stuff goes down at that Brakebills South campus. Just saying.

Ms. Frizzle’s School, The Magic School Bus

We couldn’t dig up the name of the school in this series classic educational children’s books, but wherever Ms. Frizzle is teaching, that’s where we want to be. How else would we be able to explore the clouds, the human body, and the age of the dinosaurs? Plus, all we know about the waterworks, we learned long ago from the first book in this series — so we think that says something for Ms. Frizzle.

Llanabba, Decline and Fall

Sure, the fifth-rate public school at which poor Paul Pennyfeather is forced to teach is staffed with misfits and drunkards, and there was that time Mr. Prendergast shot a student with a starting pistol, but much like the good Doctor, we think we would “look forward to each new fiasco with the utmost relish.”

Hampden College, The Secret History

This is sort of cheating, because Hampden College is pretty much Bennington, but Bennington sure is a nice place. But more importantly, we’re huge word nerds, so pretty much any college where deadly cliques form over ancient languages is a college we’d like to attend. We’d just stay out of the woods at night.

Crunchem Hall Primary School, Matilda

Okay, so there’s that whole Mrs. Trunchbull thing, which might make this school kind of unpleasant. But then there’s Miss Honey, the most perfect and beautiful teacher ever created in a work of fiction, who Matilda was moved to compose a poem for at first meeting. Sounds like someone we’d like to have teaching us our times tables.

Hogwarts, Harry Potter

Well… obviously.