We’ve taken the Dude to see four of the Big Ten universities. We are now at number five. We have our bingo cards ready, and I’ve got my good-luck Trolls lined up. This time, I’m sure the jackpot will be mine. Let the calling begin.
Next to me is a former alum. The sweatshirt is a dead giveaway. It’s 95 degrees out. Everyone in the family is wearing one. That’s what I can dedication. I shake my Troll to summon the mojo.
The woman on my other side has a set of bingo stamps in fluorescent colors. This is not her first trip to the rodeo. I should have gotten more cards.
Unfortunately, in college admission bingo there is no “free” space, but the center spot on my card has DIVERSITY, which bodes well for me. Every college touts the breadth of its student population. In other words, there’s room for you! Maybe.
The perky woman from admissions quiets the soundtrack of the marching band intermingled with the male A Capella group and welcomes us all to campus. She’ll be talking for roughly 45 minutes. It’s always 45 minutes. She asks if there are alumni in the room. Hermione in the sweatshirt’s hand shoots upwards. Her sweaty daughter slouches further into her chair.
The admissions director talks about the school’s population. Every county in the state? Check. Every state in the Union? Check? Every continent except for Antarctica? Check. Diversity? Check. She asks if anyone in the audience is from Montana. Apparently they need a replacement for a graduating senior or next year they’ll have to change their slide. Maybe we should consider moving.
It’s a big school–somewhere around 40,000 students. That, however, is a good thing. “You can make a big school small, but can’t make a small school big.” Yes! Another square. I shake the pink troll. Despite their size, only ten percent of their classes have over 100 students. Damn. I have six percent. A couple in front of me give each other a high five. As a bonus, they have the smallest large classroom of all universities with the letter “M” in their name. Check the box for “obscure statistic.” Go me.
I hear the woman next to me chant to herself. “Study abroad. Study abroad. Come on study abroad.” That’s a gimme. Such an amateur. When the admissions advisor mentions 180 countries the rest of us barely blink.
All I need is an obscure club and a random Harry Potter reference. The last two schools had underwater hockey and squirrel watching.
Winning at bingo, of course, will not get my son into school. To do that, he needs to have a 4.2 GPA, start his own charity and get two references to say they’ve never met a finer human being. We both hope no one in admissions reads my blog.
If they have a quidditch team, do I get to count that as both a club and a Harry Potter reference? Before I can reach a conclusion, the admissions officer mentions that the rec center has a climbing wall and someone in the back yells “Bingo!” The rest of us grumble.
This isn’t the end, however. We still have seven schools left, as we all know the Big Ten actually has twelve members, and the dude is only a junior. I have time to get another troll.
Words by J. B. Everett
Photograph “Bingo Markers and Charms” by Bradley Stemke © 2007 Creative Commons