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BU One of Nation’s Top 10 “Sexiest, Smartest Colleges”

Buzzfeed says students have brains and sex appeal


BU has been impressing any number of academic evaluators of late, from London’s Times Higher Education magazine to the godfather of all ratings, U.S. News & World Report. But does the world know that those brains come packaged in magnetic sex appeal?

It does now. Manhattan-based website BuzzFeed has declared the University the 7th “sexiest, smartest college in the country,” beating Carnegie-Mellon, the University of Virginia, and Harvard in the top 10.

Our purportedly smarter, sexier peers, in ascending order: Boston College (but BC just edges us out, BuzzFeed says reassuringly), Columbia, Penn, Princeton, Dartmouth, and number-one—Brown.

“Sexiness has been tragically ignored by most college ranking systems (we’re looking at you, U.S. News & World Report),” BuzzFeed’s editors note. The site illustrates its rankings with photos of putatively attractive alumni, male and female, who once sashayed, laden with books, across each campus. Actress Alfre Woodard (CFA’74, Hon.’04) graces BU, while fellow thespian Emma Watson represents Brown.

BuzzFeed assembles popular items posted or shared on viral media while adding some serious content to the mix. It says it came up with its scores by plotting Forbes’ college ratings (which put BU at 98th in the country) against the “hotness index” from dating website DateMySchool (BU scored an impressive 16th place). The latter site determines “hotness” by how much interest students from various schools attract with their online profiles. BuzzFeed gave equal weight to both measures in calculating its top-10 list.

Of course, that’s hardly a scientific calculation, as noted by several readers who weighed in on BuzzFeed’s comments thread. That doesn’t deter the site’s editors.

“The statistics have spoken,” the article declares. “These schools combine the highest intellectual standards with the hottest scholars. Brag accordingly.”

Rich Barlow

Rich Barlow can be reached at barlowr@bu.edu.

44 Comments on BU One of Nation’s Top 10 “Sexiest, Smartest Colleges”

  • anon on 05.03.2013 at 5:59 am

    Ok and the point of being one of the “sexiest college in the country” is…?

    • Anon on 05.03.2013 at 7:45 am

      I’m with you anon. I’m so glad this made the front page…

      • Mike on 05.03.2013 at 9:20 am

        I suggest reading the article again. It says smartest and sexiest. Take a compliment.

  • Natalie on 05.03.2013 at 6:49 am

    I agree with Anon. What does it matter whether a university is considered to have a “sexy” student population? Further, I find it repugnant that BU would publicize such an “award.” The images being used with the findings are sexualized images of women. Would it not make more sense to use images of motivated and intellectually mature women AND men? Isn’t the message BU wants to send to students is that a higher education will pay off in the long run, not whether or not you have sex appeal? I am seriously baffled by the university’s decision to publicize this media refuse.

    • Jspoinolrty on 05.03.2013 at 11:09 am

      Just take the damn complement!!!

      • anon on 05.04.2013 at 2:30 am

        it might be a compliment to us but a very cheap way to baost an academic institution’s image to the public

      • Jim in NOLA on 05.04.2013 at 9:19 pm

        Ummmmmmm, that would would be “compliment”.

        Okay, so I’m a high school English teacher. It’s an occupational hazard.

        I agree with you btw. The university decided to publicize this because it’s complimentary and for heaven’s sake it’s FUN!!

  • Grad student on 05.03.2013 at 7:23 am

    It is embarrassing that the BU paper would consider this news.

  • BU Alumnus on 05.03.2013 at 8:04 am

    Agree completely

  • Anonymous Alumn on 05.03.2013 at 8:10 am

    Oh, come on people, lighten up. As a 2-time alumna (BS and MS), I think this is hilarious. One more reason to be proud. Besides, if you look at what they’re using as criteria, there must be a lot of students who use “DateMySchool,” whatever that is, by choice. Clearly, it matters to some current students. Do I think this is front-page news? No, but after a couple of really sad weeks around campus, it’s refreshing to read some lighter stuff.

    • BU undergrad on 05.03.2013 at 10:04 am

      Haha~agree with you. I don’t think this should be a front-page news either, but this is an interesting news!

  • Alumni on 05.03.2013 at 8:16 am

    Is this something to be proud of? Next award will be what? Drinking? Drugs? what else?
    Very embarrasing.

    • Anon on 05.03.2013 at 11:55 am

      Because “being sexy” is now on par with drinking and doing drugs? I mean obviously this isn’t the most serious story, but honestly in the light of recent events it’s nice to have something a little light hearted. Even on the front page.

    • tony on 05.03.2013 at 6:52 pm

      maybe safe?

  • LightenUp on 05.03.2013 at 8:35 am

    Oh, for heaven’s sake…relax! A little bit of humor injected in to our day is a good thing. You act as if you are miffed that we didn’t win “Stuffiest, Driest, Most Humorless.” If you couldn’t detect the tongue-in-check tone of the piece, I fear you have far greater issues. In light of recent activities, I for one, am quite pleased to find this little tidbit in the “news” about BU. THANK YOU BU TODAY! This snippet made me chuckle….and including it made me realize that a playful spirit is alive and well at BU.

    • Anon on 05.03.2013 at 12:30 pm

      Really? It just had me wonder what BU really cares about.

  • Mimi on 05.03.2013 at 9:06 am

    I’m with Anonymous Alumn. I thought the way Rich Barlow wrote it up was clever and clearly implied it was just for fun. Are we so obsessed with finals that we can’t laugh our sexy little laughs?

  • Grad Student on 05.03.2013 at 9:09 am

    Holy cow, people. Lighten up! This is fun…that is the purposed. I would much rather be considered smart and sexy than perceived as dumb and ugly. How is this list embarrassing?

  • Mimi on 05.03.2013 at 9:12 am

    Oh, and Brown had the story on their equivalent of “BU Today” on May 1.

  • danlidz17 on 05.03.2013 at 9:14 am

    If these comments are any indication of the collective opinion of the BU student body, I would assume we’re soon to appear on the top 10 list of humorless, overly-sensitive colleges as well.

    • GradStudent on 05.03.2013 at 10:48 am

      I could not agree more. I think this article is very funny. I feel bad for the students, faculty, and alumni that don’t have a sense of humor and can’t take a joke.

  • danlidz17 on 05.03.2013 at 9:24 am

    The real victims here are the people of Wayne State University — the ugliest and stupidest folks in all the land.

  • Anon on 05.03.2013 at 9:29 am

    I don’t see anything funny about this story, I understand that BU has been through a lot but really this is embarrassing talk about education something more important are students being selected by how they look really is shameful.

    • Jake (alum) on 05.03.2013 at 10:20 am

      Sexiness has as much to do, if not more, with self-confidence as it does with looks. BU has helped me develop that confidence, and I am grateful for it.

  • David on 05.03.2013 at 9:45 am

    1) It’s Friday
    2) It’s the end of the semester
    3) It’s nice to have a story that is not about robbery, bombs, or fire

    This is an appropriate story for BU Today. It would be inappropriate if it were posted the day after the marathon.

    • Mary on 11.03.2014 at 12:24 pm


  • CheerUp on 05.03.2013 at 9:55 am

    Agree. Lighten up. It’s clearly meant as light, fun, feel-good reading!

  • ChillOut on 05.03.2013 at 11:12 am

    I heartily agree with everyone who said to “lighten up.” A little humor does not hurt anyone. Happy Friday!

  • Not anon on 05.03.2013 at 11:16 am

    Leave it up to the comments section of bu today to be mad about this article. It’s a compliment, chill out. Or is it offensive to you feminists that someone said you look good?

    • Anon on 05.03.2013 at 12:33 pm

      You assume no males are feminists. Way to go.

  • Also Graduate Student on 05.03.2013 at 11:52 am

    So we’re pulling stories from BuzzFeed now to fill the empty spaces? If you’re so desperate for clicks, BU Today, load up a bot instead of embarrassing yourself by pulling from aggregate websites that offer absolutely nothing to the conversation.

    Don’t be so foolish again. You’re usually packed with pretty good stories and information. Go back to doing that.

  • Richard on 05.03.2013 at 1:15 pm

    I can tell from the comments who the people were that brought us down in the sexiness rating.

    • Mimi on 05.03.2013 at 2:46 pm

      Love this, Richard!

  • BU Dad in LA on 05.03.2013 at 1:45 pm

    Yep, the sour-pusses lose this one. Lighten up and happy Friday. Once you all get out in the “real world”, you’ll realize how special the light-hearted,fun days in college were. (and also how they are a thing of the past)

    • anon on 05.03.2013 at 5:25 pm

      Yes, all BU fathers should want their daughters (and sons) to be judged by their peers on their appearance.

    • Jim in NOLA on 05.04.2013 at 9:24 pm

      Ya Go, BU Dad! I’m right with you! I’m a BU dad as well and I think the article is refreshingly lighthearted, especially in light of recent events and upcoming finals. My daughter in Neuro is thriving in and loving this awesome university. It is definitely possible to be extremely smart, humorous, and attractive!

  • Magz on 05.03.2013 at 2:00 pm

    I’m not roaring with laughter and light-heartedness over this, but we’re honestly allowed to see one non-serious news article every once in a while. I don’t look to BU Today to greatly increase my intellect and inform me about all things deep and “worthy” of my intelligence, whatever that means. Chill out! I’m not fond of this declaration of BU’s acclaimed sexiness, but I also don’t see you guys going around telling our girls to stop walking around with more skin and cleavage than clothes showing and our guys to stop jogging around campus with their shirts off. If you’re gonna take a stand on this for real, then do it for real and not on the comment section of BU Today. If anything, that’s more embarrassing. Change the culture, not the one reporting on it.

  • Ed Kelly (SED 73) on 05.03.2013 at 2:31 pm

    anon, Natalie, Grad Student

    The placement was for being “sexy AND academic.” I realize the BU community has been experiencing immediate psychological and spiritual trauma these past few weeks, but we’ve got to move on.

    Lighten up, guys.

    Ed Kelly

  • Pete on 05.03.2013 at 4:20 pm

    I know I did my best to help score our sexy level high. C’mon guys..these same people complaining are the same ones who complain about sad stories as well. The rest of us will enjoy it and continue to be sexy.

  • Va Native on 05.03.2013 at 11:02 pm

    Wow! Some cranky, stuffy people commenting, but I find you’re (sadly) usually the ones with the biggest proverbial chips on your shoulders. Take that load off for awhile. The article is for fun and why oh why do some people have to get so bent out of shape over a compliment? Just because you’re intelligent certainly doesn’t mean you have to go around looking unattractive. That’s an old sterotype. Take pride in your appearance. Confidence, intelligence and the grace to accept a compliment and move on…. now that is sexy.

  • cin on 05.04.2013 at 7:10 am

    Sexy and Smart? A winning combination.

  • Natalie on 05.06.2013 at 7:37 am

    Telling people who care about serious social issues to “lighten up” is akin to saying, “let it go- no one cares” or more specifically, “let it go- I don’t care.” It’s clear from the board that some people were offended by BU posting this BuzzFeed article while others were not. In response to those who say “lighten up,” I’d like to say “Be more critical of the media. It is more powerful at shaping our attitudes towards men and women than you think!”

  • Don on 12.11.2013 at 9:11 am

    ‘Sexy and smart’ is not only good, it kills. Congratulations!

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