Mission: Admission

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Admission hits movie theaters today.

From what I can gather from the trailer, the plot goes something like this: Tina Fey is an admissions officer at Princeton. Paul Rudd asks her to come to talk to the students at his high school (where milking cows is evidently part of the curriculum.) He tells her that one of his students might be the son she gave up for adoption when she got knocked up back in college.  Romance ensues.  Lily Tomlin plays Tina’s gun-totin’ mom and Paul Weitz of About a Boy fame directs.

I’ve already bought tickets on Fandango.  They had me at Tina Fey.  Duh.

The trailer also includes a little montage of stressed out kids desperately trying to prove that they’re Princeton material, including a Cuban-American champion gymnast whose father is in a wheelchair.  One assumes that she gets accepted into the prestigious university.

Seeing this trailer and talking to siblings and peers who have kids in the thick of taking SATs and going on campus visits has given me the confidence to state the obvious: getting into college is way tougher these days than it was back in my time.

Here’s my admission about college admissions:  I did it all wrong.  By some stroke of luck, I did end up getting accepted into the university I wanted to attend.  But sometimes I think it had more to do with them taking pity on me than my actually deserving to be there.

Exhibit A:  I only applied to one school.  No variety, no safeties, no back ups. I “requested information” from five universities but only applied for admission to one.  Laziness?  Perhaps.  Economics?  Absolutely.  My family didn’t have a lot of money and the application fees for those schools weren’t cheap, so I put all my eggs in one basket.  I have no idea what I would have done if the one school I applied to hadn’t accepted me.  Thankfully, I’ll never have to find out.

Exhibit B:  I filled out my application in pen.  Granted, this was the early ’80s and home computers weren’t yet ubiquitous.  But still, everyone else I know typed their application forms on a good ol’ electric typewriter.  Not only did I do mine in pen, I wrote with an erasable pen (popular at the time) whose ink smudged and leaked and did all sorts of other things that weren’t pretty.  What was I thinking?  I’ve always prided myself on being a stickler for excellence in visual presentation and have no explanation for why I chose to forego that on something as important as a college application.

Exhibit C:  I didn’t exactly carry a rigorous academic schedule in high school.  I’m not going to be all self-effacing and claim that I’m an idiot — I did well academically and I’ve always been a good test taker.  That said…  I never took physics.  Or chemistry.  I was in honors math but dropped trigonometry when I got cast as the lead in the fall play my junior year.  I ended up taking it as a senior, but that set me back from being an honors math student to a “regular” student.  I was definitely more focused on extracurricular activities over academia.

As you can see, by all accounts I had no business being accepted into a decent college.  But times were different then and (thankfully) things worked out in my favor.  I went to college, graduated, got a job, and have been a contributing member of society ever since.

Tonight, however, my only contribution to society will be the twenty bucks I drop at the concession stand at my local cineplex.  I’m so glad I will be able to enjoy watching Admission without stressing out over having to go through that college application process ever again.

TODAY’S POLL:  What fictional TV college would you most want to attend?

California University (Beverly Hills 90210)

Greendale Community College (Community)

Hillman College (A Different World)

UC Sunnydale (Buffy the Vampire Slayer)

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