The Student News Site of Albuquerque Academy

The Advocate

The Student News Site of Albuquerque Academy

The Advocate

The Student News Site of Albuquerque Academy

The Advocate

A Farewell From Your Favorite Satire

It Ain’t No Zhang: Part 4

Dear Future College Hopefuls,

As someone who has gained admission to top universities*, including Stanford, Harvard, Yale, Brown, Princeton, Columbia, Cornell Engineering, U. Pennsylvania, MIT, Dartmouth, Georgia Tech, UC Berkeley Engineering, Michigan, Purdue Engineering, UT Austin Engineering, Caltech, Northwestern, Johns Hopkins, Carnegie Mellon, and similar schools, I believe that I am qualified to give you advice on how to get accepted into your dream college. Because I am so generous, I am offering this advice to you at no cost. But if you need help with your college essays—or just want me to write them for you—please email me. My starting rate is $150/hour, but I charge based on my availability, so my fees may shoot up to at least $500/hour during the fall and spring terms. With my services, I guarantee you will be admitted to your top-choice college.

First and foremost, if you even want a shot at admission to UNM—let alone any of the Ivy Leagues—consider curing cancer, ending world hunger, or finding world peace. Admissions officers are all over this kind of stuff, and failure to execute any of these simple passion projects will result in heartfelt rejections, homelessness, and eternal shame. But I suppose if you don’t have the time to solve humanity’s biggest problems, winning a handful of Nobel or Pulitzer Prizes are decent—but inferior—alternatives.

Academic-wise, there is only one beneficial thing that you can do for your application: take the SAT at least ten times. The big T20s are always looking for students who show great degrees of commitment and dedication. Of course, being an overachiever, I took the SAT 16 times, which is pretty much how I got accepted into every college I applied to. I even earned the world’s first 1610 after writing a heartfelt letter to the SAT administrators expressing my gratitude for their work in creating an intriguing curriculum and equal testing opportunities for everyone, regardless of socioeconomic status. Grades are important too, I guess, but my commitment to taking 16 SATs was far more admirable than having a 9.8 unweighted GPA.

If you’ve been paying any attention to your College Knowledge class, you should remember how CGO demands that you ask two teachers for a recommendation letter at the end of junior year. What they carelessly forget to mention, however, is that if you want a great letter, you have to bribe your recommenders. When asking my teachers, I made sure to place a $500 Amazon gift card in front of their eyeballs. It seemed to have worked because the Stanford Dean of Admissions sent me a handwritten letter about how their university had never seen such a strong portfolio of rec letters before.

The Actual Advice Letter:

In all seriousness, college admissions are a game of luck for those of us who can’t afford to donate a building, and I’m certainly not qualified to give you any college application advice. I can, however, offer two pieces of non-satirical advice (based on my Academy experiences) as a less humorous, but more genuine substitute to the questionable advice listed above and as a conclusion to this satire and the series itself.

The first should be taken with a grain of salt: sometimes grade grubbing can be a good thing. I never would’ve known I enjoyed writing satire had my sophomore English II teacher not aggressively scrawled an A- on my op-ed essay. Luckily, I was allowed to rewrite that essay per my class’s rewrite policy and decided to turn it into a satire about 10-12’s strict dining hall regimes. Not only did I end up with a glorious A+, but I also discovered a favorite writing genre.

The second piece that I seriously offer is this: you will meet a lot of people at the Academy, most of whom you will be acquaintances with. Some of whom you’ll hold a grudge against because they never did their fair share of the group project. But in time, you will find a group of humans whom you care about and who care about you. In my six years at the Academy, I’ve found that maintaining those friendships—whether through daily interactions or the occasional conversation—has been the most meaningful part of my journey at this school; I wouldn’t trade my friendships for an acceptance letter to my top choice** school or anything else.

Soon-to-be college applicants, good luck with wherever you decide to apply, and remember, don’t forget to touch some grass every once in a while.

Most sincerely yours,
Karen “K-Train” Zhang

Class of 2024 out.

*Of course I didn’t get admitted to all 20 schools listed—I didn’t even apply to 9 of them.

**To clarify, Stanford was my top choice until I had my alum interview. I’m just saying, if your interviewer talks about how great Brown University is for half the interview, that might be a small red flag. I got rejected (from both, if you wanted to know), but it’s not like I would choose a four-year trip to Palo Alto over my friends, anyway.

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