I stumbled across this interesting article called Most Academic Advertising Is Immoral Bullshit. It makes the interesting point that most of what university advertises has very little actual evidence for it. The authors invite you to compare this with a medical treatment and ask you to imagine a drug called “Collegra”:
Collegra is a drug unlike any other. If you take Collegra 256 times a year for four years, Collegra will improve your critical reasoning, moral reasoning, analytic, and quantitative skills. It will transform you into a better person with a global mindset. […] Further, it will help you make more money! Indeed, Collegra users on average earn an extra million dollars lifetime income compared to non-users.
[…] Warning: Taking Collegra is more like undergoing chemo-therapy than like taking a pill. Users need to spent at least thirty hours a week for 30 weeks a year over four years for it to be effective. Most users will be unable to work at a job while taking Collegra.
Side effects include increased tendency to engage in binge drinking, and a tendency to acquire tens of thousands of dollars in debt.
The problem with that: For most of these claims, universities don’t have a way to test them. This might be less problematic in a country like Germany were university is “free” (of course it isn’t), but for other countries this is a deep concern.