Cattle Rustlin’, 2020-Style

The ethics code of the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) used to prohibit institutions from recruiting students who were enrolled in other colleges or universities.  In other words, you couldn’t engage in “poaching” — actively soliciting transfer students.  Last fall, NACAC removed this prohibition (The Chronicle of Higher Education, February 14). 

Now, all hell has broken loose, as admissions offices around the country develop customized approaches that target specific groups of students.  Consider the following emails that were sent to second-semester freshmen at three different schools in early February:


TO:  Griffin LaFleck, Darmouth College 

Griffin, are you tired of freezing your ass off in Hanover, New Hampshire, pooping chunks of ice every time you sit down on the toilet?  Does it take so long for you and your Saturday night hook-up partner to shed your parka,  fleece-lined ear-flap winter hat, cable-knit sweater, flannel shirt, ski pants, thermal underwear, snow boots, and wool socks that you’re too exhausted to have sex once you’ve undressed?

If so, then consider transferring to Princeton University, the Ivy League school with the sultry climate and social ambiance of the Deep South.  Close your eyes as you sit on a bench on our magnificent campus, and you’ll swear that you’re surrounded by majestic plantations, fragrant magnolia trees, and bottomless pitchers of sweet tea.  Even in February, all you’ll need to wear are flip-flops, khaki shorts, and a T-shirt.  And be sure to ask our admissions staff about Naked Wednesdays, a Princeton undergraduate tradition that started in 1967!  Please join us…..and thaw out.


TO:  Bobby Trakel, University of Alabama

You’re a Vermont native who thought it would be fun to attend a big-time football school where tailgating is a way of life on fall Saturdays.  But your poor math skills didn’t serve you very well, did they?  Those home football games only occupy about six days during the entire school year.  The rest of the time you’re still in….oh my God….ALABAMA!  How’s that workin’ out for you, buddy?  What’s it like living in a state where the nighttime lows in January are in the mid-80s, and you spend every evening dodging mosquitoes that are the size of U.S. military drones?  

Bobby, in the name of all that is good and holy, please transfer to Temple University in Philadelphia, where you can at least get a decent cheesesteak sub that doesn’t have caramelized skeeters mixed in with the grilled onions. We’ll even give you a bus voucher so you can travel to Penn State football games in the fall, if that’s what it takes to get you here.  


TO:  Beatrice Rowflausen, Williams College

It seemed like such a good idea at the time.  Attend Williams, a small liberal arts school in the Berkshires, where you would discover the “real Beatrice” and write the first chapter of your coming-of-age novel that would become a New York Times Notable Book of the Year.  But then you arrived on campus and found that your fellow students were so, so weird, including all those white guys wearing blond dreadlocks.  They were even more self-absorbed than you.  The professors were equally strange; both the male AND female faculty members smoked pipes in class, and every course you took — including 19th-Century British Literature — required you to write a paper on climate change.  

Had enough?  Perhaps it’s time for you to take a look at the University of Alabama, where the students are as normal as ladybugs sittin’ on a picnic basket, the professors chew tobacco rather than smoke it, and the only “climate change” we care about is what happens when you turn on an air conditioner in Tuscaloosa in August.  C’mon down and pay us a visit, y’all!


Streaming Alert:  Coming to HBO in 2021 — Admissions, the sequel to Mad Men.