CHICAGO – Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry may be closer than you think. It may even be as close as Chicago. An online college admissions counseling company recently named the University of Chicago one of five American universities most resembling the school of magic in the Harry Potter series.
ApplyWise.com lists the university’s architecture as a key similarity, with its gothic buildings and gargoyles. The student dining hall, Hutchinson Commons, is especially reminiscent of the Great Hall at Hogwarts.
It’s no surprise. Both dining halls are modeled after the one at Christ Church College at Oxford University, says Daniel Meyer, university archivist at the University of Chicago.
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The schools were chosen based on their campus culture as well as their physical appearance, says Rod Bugarin, adviser for ApplyWise and a former Ivy League admissions officer. The other schools are Cornell University in New York; Kenyon College in Ohio; Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania; and Yale University in Connecticut.
According to ApplyWise’s list, the University of Chicago’s closest similarity to Hogwarts is its residential system, with 38 “houses” that have unique personalities, traditions and rivalries. With names like Talbot, Blackstone and Chamberlain, they even “sound like something you’d hear in Harry Potter,” says Alex Poniecki, a second-year student who lives in Snell House.
“It’s not like Gryffindor or Ravenclaw, but we all eat together and all sit together and leer at our rivals,” says Matt Kearney, a fourth-year student and Wallace House resident. In their case, the rivalry involves intramural dodge ball, not Quidditch.