- Dawson Casting: Justin Long is playing just graduated high school student ten years after he graduated from high school.
- "Funny Aneurysm" Moment: The entire plot can be seen as this in hindsight, given the scandals surrounding non-accredited, for-profit colleges that offered students what turned out to be expensive, useless degrees. Cracked argued that nowadays, the plot of this film would be seen as a college-set version of The Wolf of Wall Street. See Strawman Has a Point below.
- Magnificent Bastard: Bartleby, from start to finish. A minor one, but a great example:
Student: Hey, where do I get my books?Bartleby: Just order them online. We've got a deal with Amazon.
- Retroactive Recognition: Schrader's dad is Jerry Gergich!
- Strawman Has a Point: Bartleby is rejected by every college, so he ends up inventing one out of thin air. The thing spins out of control and becomes an actual, factual school set out of an old mental institution. Dean Van Horne at the more traditional Harmon College wages an accreditation war against the upstart. He's a Jerk Ass, and the new school (with its emphasis on the students) is presented as a brave bastion of new educational methods. But as he points out, the new place doesn't have a health center, more than one faculty member or even a library. One doesn't have to be a crusty old academic to argue that a college should at least have a library.
- Also in line with Protagonist-Centered Morality. We're supposed to be cheering for Bartleby, but while his speech is inspiring, he basically ranted at the accreditation council and told them that he didn't care what they or anyone else thought, which should be a surefire way to get them to rule against him completely. In addition, this is also regardless of the fact that not only was everything he did so far essentially illegal but his college — lacking both teachers and an actual accreditation program, and thus the ability to give legitimate degrees as well — was setting up all of the students for failure in the real world without that committee's approval. Even if he did make a valid argument about the failures of conventional education, he had done very little up to that point of trying to actually make his new program viable in and of itself, in favor of trying to cover up the mess that originated from him trying to lie to his parents.
- They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: Critics who didn't like the film have noted that it is still one of the few comedy films in recent memory to have a genuinely original plot.
- Well, not completely original...
- Vindicated by Cable: Thank you, Comedy Central.