07 April 2008

Dear Applicant

Each year at this time, it is the sad responsibility of the Committee on Undergraduate Admissions to crush the dreams of thousands of young people like yourself.

That’s right, Einstein, you didn’t get in.

In the unlikely event that you don’t kill yourself on the spot, you will doubtless look back on this as the worst day of your life. Yet it is only the first step in a long march toward desperation, the beginning of your ordeal. You are henceforward an outcast, a pariah. We would like to tell you that things will look up, eventually. But come on. Be realistic.

This is what truly qualified scholars look like. Notice that they have their backs to you.

And from now on, intelligent people like these will talk about you behind your back. In fact, that’s what they’re doing here. It’s a seminar on how stupid you are. We’re sorry to have to tell you this. Really.

Exacerbating* your misery is the realization that, even as you’re crying your eyes out, we’re all drinking champagne and celebrating the last time we’ll ever deal with you again. (*That’s an SAT word. Remember the SAT? That’s the test you needed to ace in order to attend the College. Too bad you were stoned that morning.)

It may be some comfort to you to consider that at least you’re only getting a form letter — cranked out by a database in order to ruin the greatest number of young people in the most efficient manner. “At least,” you will tell yourself, “the Committee on Undergraduate Admissions never writes personal letters.”

Ordinarily, you would be right. But in your case, we felt compelled to make an exception.

You see these doors? Majestic, aren’t they? They are closed to you.

Frankly, we found your application overwhelming. And not in a good way. We thought we’d never get to the end of it. Mainly because you kept sending us more shit. Bad enough that your transcripts and teacher recommendations revealed you as a grade-grubbing suck-up (though we were surprised the grades weren’t better, considering what a little toady you are). But then the updates started to flow in.

What made you think we would care whether you placed All-State in marching band? Marching band? You might as well letter in hacky-sack. We didn’t really want to know that you’d been named recording secretary (a post somewhat less distinguished than hall monitor) of the Young Future Indicted Businesspersons of Corporate America Association. Or voted Senior Most Likely to Injure Himself. Or elected President of “Str8 Talk, the speech club for students who aren’t gay, lesbian or transgendered.”

And we certainly didn’t want to see your prize-winning essay on Ethan Frome. Trust us, there is nothing we don’t already know about that book.

Your life will never look like this.

Our initial and lingering negative impressions were compounded when we finally met you. The sophomore who gave you your campus tour was embarrassed by your repeated inquiries, in lecture and dining halls, and in the library stacks, whether “people ever do it here,” and she was bored by your rambling explanation why you feel this University needs a Department of Madonna Studies.

When it came time for your one-on-one interview with Bob Mathers, Class of ’57 — let’s just say he was already recommending a rejection before you offered to sleep with him, in exchange for a good review.

We are trying to build a community of minds here, buster, and not simply taking your parents’ life savings in exchange for room and board and a piece of high-quality deckle-edged vellum (suitable for framing) at the end of four years. We really mean that.

Regardless of whether they are on Spring Break, have Gone Wild, or are blind drunk, women like these will be forever out of your league.

So how could we possibly permit you to return to the College? During your Prospective Student Stay-Over Weekend, you drove the whole dorm crazy by acting out Monty Python routines, refusing to let anyone else join in or even to say “Ni.” You interrupted an art-history lecture on Classical and Hellenistic Statuary by singing “Milkshake” and “Sexyback” at what we sincerely hope was the top of your lungs. You asked the Dean of Students to buy you a bottle of vodka, and you threatened him with an egg-beater if he didn’t comply. You set fire to the laundry room. You stole the iPod of one of your roommates, and as for the other one, we’ve been told that services will be held on Thursday.

We could go on, but we are tired of thinking of you. It is time to heave your application file into the recycling bin. So be off!


The Committee on Undergraduate Admissions

P.S. April Fool! We were just jerking your chain a little. Eventually, you had to know that the pressure of sending out acceptance and rejection letters this time of year would get to us. But seriously, you’ve been admitted to the Class of 2012. We’re looking forward to seeing you in the fall. Send us a check.