Few sentences evoke such passionate responses as the campus adage, “Yale is just like Hogwarts!” The same axiom that attracts starry-eyed high school seniors to New Haven triggers in dead-eyed senior undergraduates a gag reflex more powerful than any curse of the dark arts.
To lay bare the oft-recited comparison, YDN Mag wondered: To what extent does Yale really resemble the magical wizarding world of Harry Potter? We asked dozens of students from all 12 colleges to liken each Hogwarts house with a residential college. And according to a statistically enormous number of responses from current undergraduates, recent alumni and dining hall workers, if Yale were Hogwarts, everyone would be in Gryffindor.
Which is to say that the vast majority of respondents listed their own college as the most Gryffindor-like. As shown in the graph below, the Gryffindor distribution was nearly perfectly uniform across the 12 residential spaces.
The Gryffindor data, consistent with perennial complaints of endemic student egocentrism, supports the theory that most Yalies place themselves at the center of their undergraduate universe. In other words, Yale students tend to equate their social standing with that of Harry Potter, the Chosen One.
By contrast, in the Yale-Hogwarts universe, undergraduates overwhelmingly identify a single college as Slytherin: Jonathan Edwards.
Every JE student interviewed, including current and former freshman counselors and multiple JE student leaders, paired the oldest and smallest residential college with Slytherin.
Even the ignorant confessed the likeness. “I’ve never read or watched Harry Potter, so I can’t answer,” said one JE junior who responded to the poll. “But I keep hearing that we’re Slytherin, and from what everyone says I’d probably have to go with that.”
To many fans of the bestselling saga by J. K. Rowling, more unsettling is an association with Hufflepuff, a house connoting intellectual shallowness and characteristic flatness. Saybrook, Calhoun and Trumbull, colleges that respondents tellingly described as “underrated,” received the lion’s share.
Finally, Ravenclaw lacked a consensus sister college, having been equated with each residential college by at least a single respondent.
How’s that, Sorting Hat?