So maybe you thought the big news in higher education this past week was Mike Bloomberg’s gazillion-dollar gift to Johns Hopkins. Or perhaps the latest iteration of MOOCs as credit-bearing loss-leaders for a range of state university degree programs. Or the new report calling for reforming financial aid to boost college completion.
Not so. I just discovered a new tumblr called Accepted! 2017, which collects unfortunate comments made by high school seniors in the Facebook groups that have recently been formed by students admitted early to mostly elite colleges.
This being high school, each comment — whether pretentious, goofy, boastful, nerdy, embarrassing, or some combination thereof — is followed by a snarky, response from the anonymous tumblr creators. It’s unclear whether submissions, made by fellow rising freshmen at each college, are independently verified; probably not. But most seem bad enough (or obscene enough) to be authentic, or at least too good to check.
Some comments are merely eye roll-inspiring: there’s the student headed for Elon University who inquires about his future classmates’ favorite graphing calculator, and the College of William and Mary admit who hopes to meet fellow pescatarians.
Some are beyond eye-rolling, such as the Cornell-bound senior who writes:
I called USC this morning to rescind my application, got a letter from them this afternoon saying I got accepted and am a finalist for their full tuition trustee scholarship…awkward.
Then in the academic overshare department there’s this Yalie-to-be:
Currently “getting my Yale on” through the use of Dr. Donald Kagan’s book on the Peloponnesian War for my Senior Thesis on the impact of individual and national pride during the Peloponnesian War era in Greece and the Late Republic- through Julio-Claudian Empire era Rome. Any other big classical history nerds?
To be sure, some of the posts lifted from Facebook groups are probably facetious, but this rising Harvard first-year does not seem to be joking:
I am rapt in a subtle, lasting, fascinated pleasure. You are why. The change we will make, indeed experience, will, I dare to presume, be as organic as it is ingenious, as shared as it is beautiful. I thank you ahead of time. It is already a joy to be in community with (both plural and singular) you.
Additionally, I hope that a few of you can stand the kind of sophomoric soul that eulogizes an initial facebook encounter.
(Response from the Tumblr hosts: Can someone get this kid some sunlight and a few deep breaths?)
Meanwhile, a future Princetonian has a real-estate question:
My mom wants to ask if there’s anyway she can stay with me or close to me in New Jersey for the first two months when I go to college. Anyone has any idea if there’s any affordable place near Princeton that she could stay for 2 months?
(Response: Have you figured out how you’re going to get your breast milk, too?)
In the Howard University group, a future first-year issues a simple warning to future classmates:
If we’re room mates… DO NOT TOUCH MY APPLESAUCE… that is all
And a student on the way to Stanford offers an exuberant personal declaration:
Some of my favorite things are bread, books, the idea of coffee (not the taste), the sound of violins, secret agents, random deep conversations, and for some reason right now the word ARTICHOKE. I’m so excited to be a part of all this. You guys are like my dream people.
That one is pretty endearing actually, or so I thought. In fact, all these comments — even those met with acerbic put-downs by the keepers of the tumblr — are a reminder of just how exciting the run-up to college is for many students, even if they have a lot of growing up to do (and, as second-semester seniors, probably have too much time on their hands).
Serious policy implications: None. That is all.
Photo Credit: Accepted! 2017