Admissions Problems

no, your kid isn't special at all actually...


Well well well. It’s good to back. And we hope you enjoyed some responses from the inbox over the weekend. To give you some idea, we have 534 inbox messages currently. We’ll get there… eventually. Hang in there.

New year, new rules. We’re going to do only a couple of posts a day - one of your all-time favorite animated gifs and one of our tried and true:

MONDAY: Monday Mourning

TUESDAY: Questionable Questions

WEDNESDAY: Excerpts from Essays

THURSDAY: College Fair Musings

FRIDAY - SUNDAY: Cheers and Jeers from the Inbox

And with that commitment, let’s get to our first Monday Mourning of 2013. We found this story in our inbox, and to say we were shocked is an understatement.

Please tell me why, during my interview the male high school student sitting in my office blatantly stuck his hand down the front of his pants and left it there for 10 minutes before taking it out and then keeping both hands over his crotch the rest of the time?? I thought I saw everything but this was definitely a first. I am a fresh out of college female admisisons counselor and he was a prospective computer science major… i’m not sayin, but i’m just sayin…

See what we meant? How could you NOT say something? We think we probably would have excused ourselves from the room for a couple of minutes with saying “We’ll be back in 10. Just finish up whatever you need to do by then”. And then promptly asked his parents for money for a haz-mat team to obliterate every microcosm in that office.

Gross. Hopefully you denied him so you don’t have to see him around campus…

Back tomorrow with Questionable Questions.

Anonymous asked: The more recent way to start a conversation with another rep: "Have you heard of that tumblr page?" Well done, Amoeba. Please stay sane during this travel season because you keep the rest of us sane.

WOW. Are we that much of a cultural phenomenon? We’re honored! Thanks for reading.

Anonymous asked: I understand the sarcastic disdain for subpar students and annoying parents. But what about the interesting, motivated kids that work hard and do something tangible with their lives? Do they get the same attitude from admissions counselors? I'm a high school senior, and this blog makes me terrified.

FINALLY! A high schooler that fears the wrath of Admissions Officers!

You know what? You being terrified of us is how it used to be in the olden days. And we like it.

Yes, we all have our little darlings that we fall in love with during the admission process. We choose to keep ours in a file called “Tap That App”. It’s totally appropriate.

If you are a bright, articulate, clearly best-fit student who has real potential for being successful at our institution, we will shower you with attention, prompt email return, gifts when you’re on campus, meals in our cafeteria or food court, and more. But if you (or your parents) act like idiots, you’re dead to us. You’ve been warned.

Anonymous asked: I know how reluctant you are to reveal your identity over the internet, and with good reason, but say we happened to be at a fair together and happened to talk about AP and how fabulous it is, would you be willing to admit to someone face-to-face that it is you who writes it?

We’ve had at least two dozen conversations with people about this blog, and never once did we have the nerve to admit it. Believe us - it’s hard to hold it all in.

Maybe one day, you will all know the truth. Until then, thanks for reading.

Anonymous asked: If you ever decide to identify yourself, you realize you will NEVER pay for another drink on the road, right? Tell me that's not tempting.

This was us for just a moment, before we remembered that you’d have to pay our rent, car payment, vet bills, cable, gas, food, … … … …

Should we install a PayPal link? We expect to make just as much on this as our real job (pennies on the dollar and a lukewarm catered lunch at Christmas).

Anonymous asked: This may be a little too serious a question, but I'm a college student interested in the selective admissions process and was wondering what your thoughts on the Abigail Fisher case were and how you could see the court's ruling influencing the work you do?

Oh wow. This is a really serious question. We’re not entirely sure we want to get into this political debate, but whatevs. Let’s do this.

In case there are those of you who do not know who Abigail Fisher is, here is the little princess that started this big hoopla:

"I’m white, so I deserve special treatment and attention!"

Abigail Fisher applied to the University of Texas at Austin for the Fall 2008 semester. In the state of Texas, public institutions automatically admit high school seniors who are in the top 10% of their graduating class. In the fall of 2008, UT Austin admitted 81% of their freshmen class automatically based on this policy.

There has been quite a bit of controversy surrounding this top 10% policy. Many students believe it puts students from high performing/competitive high schools who happen to fall in the 11 - 100% of their graduating classes at a disadvantage for admission to state institutions. If you look at a student in the 11th percentile of a competitive high school, this can be a student that still outperforms a student in the 5th percentile of a non-competitive high school. How would you feel if a student who never took one AP course in high school was automatically admitted to UT Austin against a student who took 15 but happened to fall in the 11th percentile? It can make you angry. Especially when you’re 18 years old and cannot see the larger issue at hand. 

Land grant institutions, like UT Austin, were created with the intent to provide affordable, accessible education to the masses. If UT Austin fills their university with only “top” students from “top” high schools, they are not fulfilling their obligation to the state or the residents it promised to educate. The top 10% rule ensures fairness, diversity, accessible, and equality. And when we say diversity, please don’t think we just mean race - because that’s what Abigail Fisher did.

Abigail Fisher was in the top 12% of her graduating class at a Texas public high school, Stephen F. Austin High School in a deliciously-sounding city called Sugar Land, Texas. Not sure how competitive this school is - anyone? Since she was in the top 12%, she fell into holistic review at UT Austin. Abigail had an 1180 SAT, 3.59 GPA on an unweighted 4.0 scale, was in orchestra, math competitions, and a volunteer for Habitat for Humanity. And surprisingly with such an impressive academic record and some haphazard extracurriculars (read: AVERAGE), she was denied admission.

Her reaction? “I HAVE BEEN DENIED BECAUSE I AM WHIIIITTTEEEE!”. Seriously. Homegirl claims she was denied admission to UT Austin because she is white. How she made this jump, we have no idea.

She went on to enroll at Louisiana State University, from which she graduated this past spring. She filed this lawsuit in 2008, and it’s been through two lower courts - both sided in favor of the University’s admission policy. The lawsuit has made it’s way to the US Supreme Court.

If the Supreme Court decides to overturn Grutter v. Bollinger, we could find ourselves without affirmative action policies that allow race to be a factor in the college admissions process.

So, to finally get to your question, how do we think this would influence our work?


People have written countless articles and had countless discussions about this very topic, but what school wants to be like:

"YES! We can be all white, rich people for realz now! No more pretending! WOOO HOOOOO!"

We sit behind closed doors and make these admissions decisions, and how will students ever know if race is really a factor? Bless our  holistic review process that is so magnificent at protecting our colleges and universities. Take your pick. Which of the 8 - 10 factors that all play a part in an admission decision did we really deny you for? There are 100 different combinations too, so we can backpedal those all day long. We can hide race way down in there in the dark depths of our decision (even if i plays more of a role than we care to say).

And this is why Ms. Fisher won’t win. Two verdicts against her should already tell her this. What we have here is an old-fashioned case of “ME, ME, ME!” millennial thinking. The icky sense of entitlement that drips across this case leaves us at Admission Problems feeling disgusted and loathsome toward an entire generation. The fact that dear little Abigail feels she is more deserving to attend an institution over another student simply proves her misguided elitism. Perhaps she should have spent four years at LSU thinking about how she could have worked harder in high school to break into the top 10% of her senior class. That hard knocks lesson would have taught her more than this lawsuit.

Dearest Abigail, welcome to Big People World. Sometimes you don’t always get what you want, even if you really try. Deal with it, and grow the fuck up. Congrats on graduation. Get a real job now.

Dearest UT Austin Admissions Officers, CONGRATU-FUCKING-LATIONS on your incredible foresight into this girl. $100 (her application fee that we’re sure you’re glad to refund) says one of her parents (or both) wrote her a recommendation letter… let us know when our check is in the mail.

Thanks for the serious moment! Back to our regular scheduled programming.

Anonymous asked: ahh, i sent you a question about what you would do if a student who wrote an essay found your blog. but no, i was so wrong to question you. you, sir or ma'am, are awesome. i'm in high school and WOW people are stupid. you deserve food, hugs, time off and smarter/more worthy applicants. good luck amoeba.

There was a lot of controversy last semester about us posting pieces of essays on this blog and then picking them apart. Some called us “unethical”. We don’t know what that word means, but it sounded bad.

Here’s our thought process: If a student really wants to come forward and claim one of these essays as their own, BRING IT. Would you come forward? Doubtful.

So, yes, you were wrong to question, but that’s ok. We’ll offer forgiveness since you provided so many wonderful compliments. Thanks for reading, little one.

Anonymous asked: Got any gifs for counselors blowing their brains out? Because I swear to God that is gonna happen in this regional's home office if he has to answer one more God forsaken email about why we cannot waive application fees. We're not trying to pull a fast one on you, you little pumpkin pie haircutted freaks. We need that app money to help fund our broke ass office. You think $50 bucks sucks? Wait until you get your bill for tuition, fartknocker.

We get it, bro. But whoa. Hang in there.

Anonymous asked: Do you ever feel like you miss your life during travel season? Or wonder if you'd even have one without travel season? Part of me thinks of everything I could do with my evening and free time if I wasn't a traveler, but I know I'd hate being in office every day.

Once you’re a lifer in this field (2 or 20 - it’s your choice), you start to have a difficult time imagining a life that DOESN’T include travel season. Scary, but travel season becomes our life, so you really don’t have the opportunity to envision a different kind of life.

We think the more difficult part is coming home and being left with these instances:

* Leaving used towels on the bathroom floor waiting for a housekeeper to come replace them with clean, fluffy ones

* Sitting in your house at 7:00PM wondering why you feel you should be somewhere else (and racking your brain trying to remember if you forgot an event)

* Trying to COOK. Ugh. It’s great the first couple of weeks you’re home from travel (let’s be healthy!) and then you spend the rest of the fall obsessing about Panera and whatever other alluring restaurants haunt your travel season memories (let’s be lazy and eat junk food in a Hampton Heavenly bed).

We could go on. Don’t judge us, but…last year… after travel season… we purchased a new Hampton Serta Cloud 9 mattress.

"Hello lover. We’ll see you in a few hours."

That’s how desperate and ingrained travel season becomes. There is no other life than travel. Hashtag, lifer.

Anonymous asked: Thank you for taking a break with posts. Your recent posts have been extra sassy. Yeah, I said sassy. Thank you for making my return to work that much better.

Our pleasure. Thanks for reading.

Anonymous asked: If you hate your job so much, why do you do it?

Anonymous asked: I love you AP - from a Career Services individual who's most commonly asked question is, "so like, you can get me a job right?"

Anonymous asked: If a parent doesn't file tax returns {tax evasion, not because of especially low income}, what does the student do in regards to financial aid/applications?

Uh, aren’t there larger issues at hand? If your parents are evading taxes, shouldn’t they have enough cash on hand to send you to college? It’s not really the kind of situation most Financial Aid Offices have policies for….

If you’re seriously asking this question, our best guess would be to file your FAFSA as an independent (if you’re parents aren’t filing taxes, chances are good they aren’t claiming you as a dependent child anywhere).

If you want to go more risky, you could always send your tax evading parents into a Financial Aid office like this:

We’re sure that will work out really well. Good luck!

Anonymous asked: When I first came across this blog, i thought you were a cocky asshole. Now, I kind of love you. Call me maybe?

Isn’t that the way it always is? Young doe falls in love with the big, bad, cocky amoeba?

Application to our heart (read: ego): ACCEPTED.