Satire Alert! NYT 'College Admissions Shocker!' Column About Stanford University Goes Very Viral

  • by: Alan Duke

The painful sting of rejection for college applicants is apparently fueling interest in a piece by New York Times columnist Frank Bruni titled "College Admissions Shocker!"

But judging from tweets and comments, too many people don't realize the column is all satire, making fun of how universities measure their elite status by the percentage of applications they reject each spring.

Bruni reports (satirically) that Stanford University cemented "its standing as the most selective institution of higher education in the country" this year by dropping its 5% acceptance rate in 2015 to "its inevitable conclusion of 0 percent" in 2016.

"With no one admitted to the class of 2020, Stanford is assured that no other school can match its desirability in the near future. for the class of 2020."

Bruni quoted an anonymous (and fictional) Stanford administrator saying: "We had exceptional applicants, yes, but not a single student we couldn't live without. In the stack of applications that I reviewed, I didn't see any gold medalists from the last Olympics -- Summer or Winter Games -- and while there was a 17-year-old who'd performed surgery, it wasn't open-heart or a transplant or anything like that. She'll thrive at Yale."

The column suggests that other schools are firing their "underperforming deans of admission" for failing to match Stanford's 100% rejection rate. Schools would also increase efforts to lure applications from abroad, giving them even more young people to say no to.

"On campuses from coast to coast, there was soul searching about ways in which colleges might be unintentionally deterring prospective applicants.

Were the applications themselves too laborious? Brown may give next year's aspirants the option of submitting, in lieu of several essays, one haiku and one original recipe using organic kale."

The perception of Stanford's increased exclusivity immediately boosted fundraising for the university's endowment, Bruni wrote.

"In fact just 12 hours after the university's rejection of all comers, an alumnus stepped forward with a financial gift prodigious enough for Stanford to begin construction on its long-planned Center for Social Justice, a first-ever collaboration of Renzo Piano and Santiago Calatrava, who also designed the pedestrian bridge that will connect it to the student napping meadows."

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