Some colleges have a reputation for being particularly difficult. Others are supposed to be just academic walks in the park. Which colleges are most stressful?

This might be the time to figure that out. As high school students across the country make decisions about where to college next year, they might want to know which colleges have demanding examinations and low pass rates or which schools have the most unhappy students.

No doubt with this demand in mind, the Daily Beast has just published its annual list of Most Stressful Colleges. The list is disappointing.

There are 50 of them, apparently determined through some highly mysterious process. The top school is Columbia, which isn’t that surprising. I might be willing to give the publication the benefit of the doubt; perhaps it have some secret formula for determining how stressful colleges are. But the list looks a little odd.

Also included in the Daily Beast list are the University of Southern California and UC Santa Barbara, schools not really known as academic pressure cookers. University of Texas at Austin makes the list, even though it’s apparently also Playboy’s number one party school. Where’s the stress?

This list appears to be mostly made up. Brown University, a school without traditional grades or majors, is on the list (at number 17), presumably because someone thought that there had to be stress, since it was an Ivy League college.

I’m sure there’s some stress at Brown, but it’s possible to actually measure pressure on and anxiety of real college students. That’s not what’s going on here. [Image via]

Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer