I think it should be clarified that the electoral college is only for voting for the President of the United States, which is merely one of many offices and issues people in the U.S. vote for. For other elections, everyone´s vote is the same.
I am guessing that the reason you heard that a univerisity professors vote is worth more is that it is commonly accepted that university professors have a lot of influence over the developing political attitudes of their students. The professor´s vote itself isn´t worth more, but having the support of a university professor may influence more other voters than the average person would.
In all public elections all votes are equal. The complication with votes comes in when you're talking about the "electoral college" which is not an actual college; rather it refers to the fact that different states get different portions of votes and a nominee can either get a portion of the states' electoral votes or all of them if they get the majority in that state and each state has it's own rules. To further complicate the matter, both the Democtractic Party and Republican Party has different voting methods for selection of nominees for election to the President - it's quite complicated and I don't fully understand it myself.
It really is over complicated and many people believe it's intentionally made that way to keep average people out of the process or give elites more advantage in manipulating the system. (Much like the tax system)
Not really. United states has a pretty complex system for voting but it is not based on merit. I would say the complexity is because in the old days (around 1800) given the size of the United States, it would have been very hard to conduct voting throughout all the united states at the same time so they had to devise a voting system in a way that is logistically feasible while still everybody in every state votes before results from other states are out.
The way they solved the problem is through "electors". A a person who has been elected from a state to represent people of that area in to elect the president and vice president. Each state elects a few electors relative to it's population by direct vote. Then all the electors (collectively known as "the Electoral College") vote for who is going to be the next president and vice president. A candidate has to get a majority vote (more than 50% of the votes) from the Electoral College to become the next president.
Nowadays, electors pledge (promise) their vote before they are elected from their state so people know which delegates will vote for what candidates. So they have more or less a ceremonial position with people voting to whoever is pledged to their candidate of choice. For example if I lived in New York state, I probably wouldn't know who these people that I'm voting for (my electors), but I would only need to look in front of their names to see which party they are pledged to vote for. While there has been cases of electors voting for someone other than what they said (known as "faithless electors") this usually doesn't happen that often. In 2004 one elector (I would guess under influence of alcohol) instead of voting for John Carry for president and John Edward for vice president, wrote "John Eward" (yes! Eward) on his ballot for president.
To the best of my knowledge, the election system in US is slightly different from some other presidential election in the world. The number of all voters in a state accords to the number of electoral "representatives" , that is to say, if a president candidate win mreely a ballot in a state, even that is only a vote, he can win the whole number of all "electoral representatives" (that can amounts to much more than 1).
There was once (to my knowledge) that the general votes is not in accordance with electoral representative votes (Bush Vs Gore?)