School is almost out, and it’s time to take stock and figure out where you will be continuing your education in the fall. This is a very important decision that will greatly influence your life (and indeed, your lifespan), so there are many factors to consider. We have therefore compiled a list of the top five institutions of higher education for the aspiring practitioner of magic.
Academics: Lessons are taught by the Nine Masters. Subjects include Epic Balladry, Wind and Weather, Changing, Herbalism, Illusion, Patterns, Summoning, Ancient Languages, and Naming.
Student Life: Recreational activities include magic boat races, invisible hide and seek, learning all three hundred verses of the Deed of Erreth-Akbe, and dueling illegally with your bitter rival, thus summoning an evil shadow that will scar you for life and seriously cramp your post-grad opportunities.
Tuition: Your true name.
Study Abroad: You too can travel to the Isolate Tower and learn the true name of every drop of water in the sea. It’s just like spending a semester in France, we promise.
Odds of Dying: Low, as long as you don’t try to prove how cool you are by summoning an evil shadow.
Prospects after Graduation: Chase an evil shadow to the far ends of the earth!
Most Protagonistic Alumnus: Archmage Ged
Academics: Majors include but are not limited to: Inadvisably Applied Magic, Virtual Anthropology, Extreme Horticulture, Morbid Bibliomancy, and Vindictive Astronomy. This is assuming that you can actually find a professor and convince him to show you any magic. Students are expected to conduct independent study in the Library, where the books are kept chained for your safety.
Student Life: Recreational activities include: engaging in absurd archaic non-magical rituals, having your form altered irrevocably, dying, trying to find your professors, recovering from book related injuries, and dying.
Tuition: Be the eighth son of an eighth son and get a wizard to die and bequeath you his staff. Or be the eighth son of a wizard. Which is kind of the same thing, but worse.
Study Abroad: Your professors will spend most of their time abroad.
Odds of Dying: High. Very high.
Prospects After Graduation If By Some Miracle You Are Still Alive: Become a professor at Unseen University. You might have to kill someone, but it’s totally worth it. Until someone kills you back.
Most Protagonistic Alumni: Archchancellor Mustrum Ridcully, Eskarina Smith, Rincewind
Academics: Majors are somewhat slippery and culminate in thesis-like final projects that do not seem to matter all that much. Students are broadly sorted into Disciplines, which include Physical Magic, Nature Magic, Illusion, Healing, and Knowledge. Each discipline may or may not have a private clubhouse.
Student Life: Recreational activities include drinking classy forms of booze, using animal transformation to overcome inhibitions, and pondering the ethics of magic just enough to have interesting conversations but not so much that it stops you from doing any.
Tuition: Everyone gets a scholarship? Maybe? It seems déclassé to talk about it.
Study Abroad: Hope you’ve always wanted to go to Antarctica.
Odds of Dying: Statistically low, but there is a distinct possibility that your hubris will cause one of your classmates to be consumed by a faceless Beast.
Prospects after Graduation: Become the ruler of the magical country from your favorite childhood fantasy novels! Foreswear magic and become an associate management consultant for an accounting firm!
Most Protagonistic Alumni: Quentin Coldwater
Academics: Majors include Sympathy, Artificery, Alchemy, History, Arithmetic, Medicine, Linguistics, Rhetoric, and Naming. Each discipline has a Master who oversees the department and teaches many of the classes. The Archives are an excellent resource for research and study, just try not to get banned your first week.
Student Life: Popular recreational activities include holding grudges, being the best at everything, and drinking in taverns.
Tuition: Individually set for each student pending an interview at the start of the term. Varies greatly depending on financial need, aptitude, and whether you’ve pissed off one of the Masters.
Study Abroad: You’re probably going to have to take a semester off to get kidnapped by pirates, work for a shifty prince, and learn how to be an awesome ninja if you want to keep up with being the best at everything.
Odds of Dying: Low, though you may be disfigured by chemical burns or lose touch with reality and spend the rest of your life talking to inanimate objects in the Underthing.
Prospects after Graduation: Become obsessed with folkloric figures and pursue the truth of their existence doggedly until it destroys everything you love! Or, you know, get a job using the practical skills you have amassed.
Most Protagonitastic Alumnus: The Kingkiller
Academics: Majors include Secrets of Nature, Language of Animals, Magic Spells and Charms, Dragon Riding, and Storm Management. All classes are taught by the Devil.
Student Life: Only ten students are admitted at a time. Housing is provided for all students: hope you like caves. Your family will think you died and will probably revile you if you turn up after graduation, so don’t count on having a couch to sleep on while you figure out what to do with your life.
Tuition: Possibly your soul.
Study Abroad: You may get to spend some time in England.
Odds of Dying: Low, but everyone will think you are dead anyway. You may wish you were.
Odds of Undying: High
Prospects after Graduation: One in ten will become the Devil’s Storm Management lackey!
Most Protagonitastic Alumnus: Dracula
Caitlyn Paxson is a writer and performer. Past jobs include being an artistic director of storytelling performances, a fiber arts consultant, a legal document and poetry transcriber, and a shepherdess. She is an editor at Goblin Fruit and can sometimes be found discussing folklore and pop culture on the Fakelore Podcast.