TODAY   |  March 31, 2013

Getting your M.R.S.? Princeton alum's controversial advice

An Ivy League graduate and mom has caused a stir by offering up free advice to college girls, suggesting they start searching for a husband when they are freshmen, and that Princeton, or a top tier university, will provide them their best shot. NBC’s Michelle Franzen reports.

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>>> now, a story that's got a lot of people talking this morning, it's received quite a bit of backlash online. a princeton alum is telling women that finding a husband should be right up there with getting straight as.

>> reporter: when susan patton wrote a letter published in the daily campus paper --

>> here's my advice for the young women of princeton , the daughters i never had --

>> reporter: she didn't think her how-to guide on how to land a husband would cause such controversy.

>> for most of you, the cornerstone of your future and happiness will be inextricably linked to the man you marry. you'll never again have this concentration of men worthy of you.

>> reporter: the mother of two sons and princetonians offered her advice to students, saying princeton and other ivy campuses are the best place to find prince charming .

>> here's what nobody is telling you. find a husband before you graduate. yes, i went there.

>> reporter: patton says her maternal-like advice was aimed at a specific group of college girls she met after attending a women's leadership conference on campus, those in search of a family as well as a career.

>> look at your opportunity here at princeton to do not just learn about your subject of interest, or learn about your major, but look at life planning from a more holistic perspective.

>> reporter: reaction was swift and mixed, online and on the street.

>> i would not agree with that -- that comment. i think you'll have lots of opportunities, you know, in life. you know, depending on what path you go in terms of working, you know, to meet whoever your ideal partner would be in life.

>> yes, i think it's elitist.

>> reporter: a recent graduate of princeton , who now writes for the " huffington post " fired back in an onleinart kl.

>> i think the university is about much more than trying to get a ring on your finger before the time you graduate. you shouldn't get married to someone just because they're smart and went to princeton . you should probably love them, too.

>> reporter: opinions and controversial advice on when, where, and how to find mr. right. for "today," michelle franzen , nbc news, new