A school inspector reports on Hogwarts

Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry was rated “unsatisfactory” by Ofsted (British government school inspectors), reports Life, Teaching and Other Distractions.

Teaching is old-fashioned. Students are weak in literacy and numeracy and poorly behaved. Students play an “incredibly dangerous” sport. “Looking at the records, the House Championship has been corrupt for some time, with clear preferential treatment given to some houses over others.”

Hogwarts College?

J.K. Rowling’s magical Hogwarts keeps coming up on campus tours, complains Lauren Edelson, a high school senior, in the New York Times. At Middlebury College, the guide touts the chance to play “a flightless version” of Harry Potter’s sport, Quidditch. A Harvard admissions officer compares intramurals to the Hogwarts House Cup, while the tour guide says the freshman dining hall resembles Hogwarts’ Great Hall.

At Dartmouth, a tour guide ushered my group past a large, wood-paneled room filled with comfortable chairs and mentioned the Hogwarts feel it was known for. At another liberal arts college, I heard that students had voted to name four buildings on campus after the four houses in Hogwarts: Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, Hufflepuff and Slytherin. Several colleges let it be known that Emma Watson, the actress who plays Hermione Granger in the movies, had looked into them. I read, in Cornell’s fall 2009 quarterly magazine, that a college admissions counseling Web site had counted Cornell among the five American colleges that have the most in common with Hogwarts. Both institutions, you see, are conveniently located outside cities. The article ended: “Bring your wand and broomstick, just in case.”

While many students are Potter fans, they also see college as a place to learn about the real world, Edelson writes.