MIT certainly has a reputation to be proud of, but its admissions department went a little over-board, I think. The first letter is an honest-to-goodness mailing from MIT, the second is one prospective student's reply:
Mr. John T. Mongan
123 Main Street
Smalltown, California 94123-4567
You've got the grades. You've certainly got the PSAT scores. And now you've got a letter from MIT. Maybe you're surprised. Most students would be.
But you're not most students. And that's exactly why I urge you to consider carefully one of the most selective universities in America.
The level of potential reflected in your performance is a powerful indicator that you might well be an excellent candidate for MIT. It certainly got my attention!
Engineering's not for you? No problem. It may surprise you to learn we offer more than 40 major fields of study, from architecture to brain and cognitive sciences, from economics (perhaps the best program in the country) to writing.
What? Of course, you don't want to be bored. Who does? Life here *is* tough *and* demanding, but it's also *fun*. MIT students are imaginative and creative - inside and outside the classroom.
You're interested in athletics? Great! MIT has more varsity teams - 39 - than almost any other university, and a tremendous intramural program so everybody can participate.
You think we're too expensive? Don't be too sure. We've got surprises for you there, too.
Why not send the enclosed Information Request to find out more about this unique institution? Why not do it right now?
Michael C. Benhke
Director of Admissions
P.S. If you'd like a copy of a fun-filled, fact-filled brochure, "Insight," just check the appropriate box on the form.
May 5, 1994
Michael C. Behnke
MIT Director of Admissions
Office of Admissions, Room 3-108
Cambridge MA 02139-4307
You've got the reputation. You've certainly got the pomposity. And now you've got a letter from John Mongan. Maybe you're surprised. Most universities would be.
But you're not most universities. And that's exactly why I urge you to carefully consider one of the most selective students in America, so selective that he will choose only *one* of the thousands of accredited universities in the country.
The level of pomposity and lack of tact reflected in your letter is a powerful indicator that your august institution might well be a possibility for John Mongan's future education. It certainly got my attention!
Don't want Bio-Chem students? No problem. It may surprise you to learn that my interests cover over 400 fields of study, from semantics to limnology, from object-oriented programming (perhaps one of the youngest professionals in the country) to classical piano.
What? Of course you don't want egotistical jerks. Who does? I *am* self-indulgent *and* over confident, but I'm also amusing. John Mongan is funny and amusing - whether you're laughing with him or at him.
You're interested in athletes? Great! John Mongan has played more sports - 47 - than almost any other student, including oddball favorites such as Orienteering.
You think I can pay for your school? Don't be too sure. I've got surprises for you there, too.
Why not send a guaranteed admission and full scholarship to increase your chance of being selected by John Mongan? Why not do it right now?
P.S. If you'd like a copy of a fun-filled, fact-filled brochure, "John Mongan: What a Guy!" just ask.
Question: Are there any significant experiences you have had, or accomplishments you have realized, that have helped to define you as a person?
I am a dynamic figure, often seen scaling walls and crushing ice. I have been known to remodel train stations on my lunch breaks, making them more efficient in the area of heat retention. I translate ethnic slurs for Cuban refugees, I write award-winning operas, I manage time efficiently. Occasionally, I tread water for three days in a row.
I woo women with my sensuous and godlike trombone playing, I can pilot bicycles up severe inclines with unflagging speed, and I cook Thirty Minute Brownies in twenty minutes. I am an expert in stucco, a veteran in love, and an outlaw in Peru.
Using only a hoe and a large glass of water, I once single-handedly defended a small village in the Amazon Basin from a horde of ferocious army ants. I play bluegrass cello, I was scouted by the Mets. I am the subject of numerous documentaries. When I'm bored, I build large suspension bridges in my yard. I enjoy urban hang gliding. On Wednesdays, after school, I repair electrical appliances free of charge.
I am an abstract artist, a concrete analyst, and a ruthless bookie. Critics worldwide swoon over my original line of corduroy evening wear. I don't perspire. I am a private citizen, yet I receive fan mail. I have been caller number nine and won the weekend passes. Last summer I toured New Jersey with a traveling centrifugal-force demonstration. I bat .400. My deft floral arrangements have earned me fame in international botany circles. Children trust me.
I can hurl tennis rackets at small moving objects with deadly accuracy. I once read Paradise Lost, Moby Dick, and David Copperfield in one day and still had time to refurbish an entire dining room that evening. I know the exact location of every food item in the supermarket. I have performed covert operations for the CIA. I sleep once a week; when I do sleep, I sleep in a chair. While on vacation in Canada, I successfully negotiated with a group of terrorists who had seized a small bakery. The laws of physics do not apply to me.
I balance, I weave, I dodge, I frolic, and my bills are all paid. On weekends, to let off steam, I participate in full-contact origami. Years ago I discovered the meaning of life but forgot to write it down. I have made extraordinary four-course meals using only a Mouli and a toaster oven. I breed prizewinning clams. I have won bullfights in San Juan, cliff-diving competitions in Sri Lanka, and spelling bees at the Kremlin. I have played Hamlet, I have performed open-heart surgery, and I have spoken with Elvis.
But I have not yet gone to college.
These are two of my favorites. If you've got any to add, feel free.