A recent study ranked colleges based on their cult-like behaviors.

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From a afar it probably sounds goofy but there are colleges in the U.S. that have their own handshakes or hand signs, like a gang might. There are initiation rituals for Greek life, secret societies and even group chanting sessions.

Broke Scholar published the study in April (2023) in an effort to find America's "cultiest" schools and at CT institution was right near the top.

Yale University ranked #13 in the nation, here are the Top 10:

  1. University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
  2. University of Virginia-Main Campus
  3. University of Florida
  4. Texas A & M University-College Station
  5. University of California-Los Angeles
  6. Duke University
  7. Ohio State University-Main Campus
  8. Stanford University
  9. Harvard University
  10. University of Southern California

This bit of information should not come as a surprise to anyone that knows anything about Yale. The prestigious New Haven school is home to no less than 7 secret societies according to Business Insider.

Phil Nye/TSM
Phil Nye/TSM

That has to be a real kick in the d-- for a parent. You work your whole life to get your kid to a college as costly and prestigious as Yale and once your kid is there, they won't tell you any of what they are up to.

Broke Scholar's Method to the Madness

How did they come to these determinations? They started with a list of 148 public 4-year universities that top, US News College rankings, added 18 more schools to ensure each state had two schools representing and added another 50 private universities.

It took a ton of examination of some key factors like:

  • Community Loyalty
  • Social Prestige
  • School Spirit
  • Academic Excellence

The publishing author, Dr. Jessica Share explained how the line between loyalty and cult behavior can be blurred, saying:

"Different universities come with their own brands of “cult”-like loyalty. Academically-minded universities may subtly remove students from their everyday support systems, wrapping them in an insular study hall for four years and making them feel so privileged to be there that leaving can feel like failure. If they transfer, they lose the prestige of an elite degree and all their hard work.

Other universities are easier to leave. Yet they keep students in the fold with a mix of local pride and the promise of belonging. While tailgating, festivals, and face painting seem like more fun ways to be coerced into a chanting mass than 15 hours of studying per day, the result is the same: students feel themselves becoming part of the school community as their past priorities, friends, and family drift away.

Being proud of your school’s academic traditions can feel amazing. It should go without saying that getting into an elite school is a privilege and an opportunity. And joining Greek life can mean instant friends and a smoother ride through college.

But losing yourself and prioritizing any group over your own well-being should be where you reassess how far you’re willing to go to belong.

And if you’re about to steal a cow, maybe it’s time to banish the groupthink and follow that voice inside your own head instead." 

The study also revealed Yale was #3 in the nation for Academic Attachment.

Fun Facts about Yale's Skull N' Bones:

  • The Skull N' Bones society was the subject of the 2000 Hollywood thriller "The Skulls" starring Joshua Jackson and Paul Walker.
  • Former members of Skull N' Bones include George W. Bush, George H.W. Bush, John Kerry, William Howard Taft and Paul Giamatti.

Want more CT News? Check out the Ethan, Lou & Large Dave Podcast on Apple and Spotify 

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Photo Credit: Aurora Photography
Photo Credit: Aurora Photography

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