N.B. For those just joining us, the following material was written this [last] summer, originally intended as part of a book (the complete Snark Ascending guide to college admissions). Sadly, the idea had to be scrapped for artistic reasons, namely that there's really not that much to say about college admissions. Furthermore, I find it harder and harder to remember what it was like to be an applicant. (Though naturally I have vivid memories of meeting the Kool-Aid man at Food-4-Less as a two-year-old in Lincoln, Nebraska. Ah, Kool-Aid man.) But it took me 100 pages to figure that out, hence your snarks for the next few weeks. Oh, and my apologies for the increased number of asterisks. Just take my word the book was to be in a hugely altered format. And now.....
SNARK YOUR WAY IN: INTRODUCTION
To best understand the intricacies of the college admissions process, we must first consider its prehistoric origins. The first college application dates* from the Upper** Paleolithic, when one day a fresh-faced young Cro-Magnon took stock of his life, and realized that while rich in certain elements, such as poop, it was sorely lacking in others, such as knowledge, leadership, and culture.*** Many moons he spent in silent yearning to fill the void. Then one day, in a burst of inspiration, he took a small sharp rock, knelt in the dirt, and - calling upon the courageous pioneer spirit that had earned him his name**** - threw the rock at a bird. Nine thousand years later, the first college was founded.*****
Times have changed since the Upper Paleolithic, of course. Nowadays, colleges and universities proliferate.****** They can be found in big cities, small towns, airports, Canada, California Pizza Kitchens, your local Department of Motor Vehicles, etc. And with this explosion of institutions has come a concomitant splat of literature advising you, the Hopeful Applicant, on how to be admitted to these institutions. Such volumes, assembled by teams of Experienced College-Admissions Professionals with credentials such as hair, aim to "demystify" the road ahead by acquainting you with the following Hot Points of the admissions process:
1. Getting into college is hard.
2. But with effort, dedication, and just a smidgen of luck, you too can get accepted into your top-choice school!
3. Well, okay, not you personally.
Some guidebooks take a more optimistic view, appending the following conditions:
4. Okay, okay, maybe, provided you mutate into a homogenized Frappuccino-brained community-servicing platitude-spewing little Rotary-bot who spends his summers in impoverished nations with names like "El Burdizzo," teaching American swear-words to disadvantaged schoolchildren.*******
5. You must have evidence of this in the form of multiple color photographs.
6. For best results, it is advised that you photograph yourself with only the attractive children.
7. Additionally, you should apply complete with the sponsorship of the National Honor Society, the DAR, NASCAR, the International Olympic Committee, and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
8. ...and Viewers Like You.
9. But take heart, Hopeful Applicant! Studies have shown that even unendorsed gobs of ear wax such as yourself are just as likely to be admitted to college as sheep with brain damage!********
10. Remember, it's bad to feel good about yourself.
This guide serves an entirely different purpose. Only we are not entirely clear, technically speaking, on what that purpose is, seeing as our research process consisted largely of looking at Internet photographs of male figure skaters, in between which - let it never be said that we are anything less than an indefatigable go-getter - we consumed large quantities of Lucky Charms. This is the sort of bullet we are prepared to take in the name********* of higher education.
Which is not to suggest that our research team is without its own credentials. On the contrary, we boast many fine qualifications, such as:
- Discreetly referring to ourself in the plural;
- Having personally attended college, where we once saw a lizard;
- Also, we went bowling, personally achieving a score of "53."
You name me ONE TEAM of college-admissions professionals who can top that. And if you remain skeptical, consider this: in assembling this guide, we have enlisted the services of none other than the venerable Ephram M. Cloaca (1521 - ), president of our alma mater, prestigious Aarkvard University. President Cloaca has graciously agreed to make appearances throughout the guide, for to provide Helpful Hints such as the following:
ALWAYS WIPE FRONT TO BACK. NEVER BACK TO FRONT.
We trust this allays any uncertainty you may have had apropos getting the desired "bang for your buck" out of this guide, and, if not, it is from the bottom of our heart that we say: tough shit.
So take our hand, Hopeful Applicant, and if, as we lead you through the wild and woolly world of college admissions, we may impart but one message to you, let it be this: your hand is sticky.
*It has been linked with Tom Cruise.
**Around 78th and Broadway.
***Not knowing the words for any of these, he called them all "poop" as well. But in his heart, he knew which poop was which.
*****Look me in the eye and tell me this was a coincidence.
******This is an academic word. Example of usage: "STOP PROLIFERATING IN THE RESTAURANT! WAIT UNTIL WE GET HOME, THEN PROLIFERATE!"
*******They are too poor in El Burdizzo to have swear-words of their own. When a man in El Burdizzo drops an anvil on his toe, he just looks around thoughtfully. It is the saddest sight you will ever see.
********Source: Yale University Student Alliance of Sheep with Brain Damage.
©2008, Nicola McEldowney
The Snark Ascending