Elite colleges and universities take pride in their low acceptance rates. Indeed, achieving rates in the single digits has been known to make admissions directors scream louder — in ecstasy — than a howler monkey during foreplay.
And now this: William Fitzsimmons, Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid at Harvard, announced at a press conference on Tuesday that his university had accepted no one for the fall of 2018. That’s right — an acceptance rate of zero.
Fitzsimmons noted that this year’s applicant pool of nearly 43,000 was the most highly qualified in the school’s history. However, Harvard wanted to send a clear message that it was no longer simply seeking to enroll “the best of the best.” As he put it, “we’ve decided to accept only the best of the best of the best. We’re not looking for the inspirational high school valedictorian with perfect SATs who was raised by wolves in a dumpster next to a razed Wendy’s in the inner city. Hell, kids like that are everywhere these days. What we want are the kids who were abandoned by those wolves, and who then had to home-school themselves in the street while discovering a cure for pancreatic cancer using nothing but tweezers and a one-legged Norway sewer rat. We’re all about performance, not just promise.”
When a reporter asked the Dean about the financial implications for Harvard of not accepting an entering class in 2018, he scoffed. “Are you kidding me? We’re not some tuition-driven trailer park. God actually borrowed money from us last year to remodel his deck overlooking the firmament.”
What about all those highly qualified applicants who were turned away? “Not a problem,” says Fitzsimmons. “We encouraged them to attend a safety school like Yale, Princeton, or Williams for a couple of years and then reapply to us. We’ll even accept a few transfer credits from those places, though we need to be careful, because students occasionally try to sneak in courses that were not taught by Nobel Prize winners. What’s up with that?”
As the press conference came to a close, the Dean was asked if he thought a 0% acceptance rate might be viewed by the public as the sign of an insufferably snobbish, narcissistic institution.
“I certainly hope so.”