“The summer before senior year of high school is a great time for students to make progress on the college application process.”
— U.S. News & World Report

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Dear Allison,

According to our records, you have started an application to attend our university. Good job getting a jump on the “process.” In case you’re wondering what that word actually means, consider the way hot dogs are made. Now imagine you are the hot dog. That’s basically what happens. By the time this is over, your insides will be mush, but you’ll be nice and snug in the tube casing that is a college sweatshirt with our name on it.

Our file indicates that you are an outstanding student. You got a 35 on your ACT, which isn’t bad, especially since you’re from Indiana. If you were from New York or Boston, we’d probably have to reject you faster than publishers rejected my tell-all memoir. Fortunately, though, your “rural” upbringing gives you a “unique” perspective that will really “enhance” our campus. So please, score as low as you want (not less than a 34, we have an image to uphold) and feel free to write your application essay about milking cows or sexing chickens. We eat that shit up.

Down to brass tacks. You’re going to have to pay a lot of money to come here. We, of course, review all applications need-blind, which means we won’t “know” if you need assistance. Honestly, though, it would be nice to get a sense upfront because we really like our money. So if you can include little hints about how poor you are (maybe which off-brand shoes you wore in middle school?) that would be great.

Despite asking for every penny you have, one of our institution’s most distinct features is our endowment. Oh, you know our endowment! It’s that enormous sum of money­­ — something in the billions — that we have tied up in things like fossil fuel, venture capital, and private prisons. If you happen to be one of those activist types, you are more than welcome to make a sign condemning said investment. You can spend all Saturday thinking of a catchy phrase for that sign, or even all Sunday. Honestly, you can spend all four years thinking of a phrase for a sign no one will read. What I just wrote was actually our original motto, but we settled on something in Latin.

Most importantly, the options for your academic study are limitless. You can take classes on things so cool you’d think they were made up, like Nordic folklore, Shakespearean astrology, or racism. And have you looked at our majors? We actually call them “focuses” (it’s a trademark thing). English for English Speakers, Science of Math, the History of History. These are real words that could appear on your diploma. Now I know what you’re thinking, How will I get a job? Not to worry! The real reason you attend this college is for our brand name value, kind of like how you’re more inclined to buy a Coke than something called “Pip” or “Bib” or “Reed.” No matter your major, you’ll get any job you want — so long as what you want is consulting, investment banking, or running for a political office you are unqualified to hold.

This brings me to my final point. Even after you graduate, this college is going to be part of your life forever. For one, you will have reoccurring dreams that you forgot to take your calculus final and never graduated — your therapist will have a ton of thoughts on that one. But we don’t just exist in your mind forever; we also brand ourselves to your body. Twenty years in the future, what are you wearing to your son’s tee-ball game? Studies from our alumni office show that there is a 52% chance you’ll still be wearing that old college sweatshirt. What can we say? You look good in green. But it’s not just the color, is it? You want people to know you went here. In fact, it could be the last thing you’re proud of. Your job is a joke, oil pretty much lobbies itself, and it’s clear your son won’t get in here. Legacy, you say? Ha! By the time he applies, our acceptance rate will be 0.0002%. We will have achieved our goal of only admitting people with actual superpowers. So what does little Joey have? Telepathy? Extrasensory perception? From the looks of him, he’s kind of a runt and already has a receding hairline like his father, the man you married. Sorry if we’re not interested in another kid who can kind of hit a stationary ball.

Once you sign your commitment to attend this university, you’re going to think you “chose” us. But the fact is, we’ve been watching you since you sexed your first chicken. We knew from your head shape and dry scalp that you’d be just self-hating enough to devote your entire adolescence to attending our hallowed institution as if it would give your life some kind of meaning we both know it doesn’t have.

We look forward to reviewing your application this fall. We sincerely hope you will visit our beautiful campus this summer and every summer until you die, and your body is used — much like the autumn leaves featured prominently in our brochure — as the natural fertilizer that keeps our grass green and the world on fire.

Eugene Fitzmonger
Dean of Admissions