Sept. 19, 2013

A Prank Admissions Essay To Rick Clark

Related Episode

Ira writes: After talking to us about the most misguided things kids and their parents do to get into college, Georgia Tech Admissions Director Rick Clark got this email. "George Burdell" is a prank name; it refers to a longstanding joke at Georgia Tech (see this Wikipedia entry). In fact, the email was written by a Georgia Tech alum who now works in admissions at a university in South Carolina. If you heard Rick's interview, you'll see: he's a very careful listener!

Related Episodes

Dear Director of Admissions Rick Clark,

My son George Jr. fell in love with GT when we were on campus during the Elon game (what a blowout!) and has now decided to attend Georgia Tech. I am worried that he just turned 7 and we are running out of time on his college search, hence the serious urgency of this email. Can you help me arrange a campus tour for him? He would also like to sit in on a class, meet with current students, visit with faculty, the dean, an admission counselor, yourself, and especially president Peterson. We can be there tomorrow afternoon, assuming everyone is available, so we can seal the deal.

Also, I am happy to fax to you his first grade transcript so you can give me a quick read on his admissibility. Unfortunately his Montessori elementary school does not give letter grades, but he got all "checks", so in that sense he is #1 in his class although they don’t really rank in the first grade. I’m sure his teacher’s comments will confirm his grit, determination, academic potential, and commitment to global awareness, diversity, and service. He also gets along with everyone during recess and does not disturb people during nap time.

Either my wife or I will call or write you every day just to check in with you to make sure everything is on track and so that you will know that USC is his #1 choice, no exceptions. You probably know I am a Georgia Tech alumnus, as is my wife, her two sisters, and both their husbands. We are a Tech family and we bleed gold and white! Our boy is a huge fan of your school and cannot imagine going anywhere else since it is our family’s school. He is a legacy so I’m hoping that will make a difference. Imagine how proud we all will be when he carries on the family tradition! He intends to join the Ramblin' Wreck club so he can drive the Model A out on the field. Should he include that in his admission essay?

Although, I do have to say I am disappointed that George Jr. has not received very much mail from Georgia Tech so far. I am worried that you are not actively recruiting him and what that means. Have we not shown enough demonstrated interest? Do you think he isn’t academically competitive? Have we committed some faux pas? Please don't hold our mistakes against him; as we are new to this admissions game. I assure you he is very smart and I know would be a good fit for [enter school name here]. I just don’t know if he is a good test-taker or not because he hasn’t taken any yet, but will send you his PPPPPSAT scores when available.

George would like to write something to you. He doesn’t have his own email account yet, so I am letting him write the next section:

Hello Sir my name is George Burdell. My mom calls me Georgie but I prefer George. I think Georgia Tech is awesome and cool. I would like to go there like my mom and dad. Do you think I will get in? Please admit me so I don't have to go to that school with the red colors. I have a cool hat with GT on it and a cool shirt with Buzz on it. Our dog is named Buzz. He’s a schnauzer and can do tricks like roll over and fist bump. I am very good at MineCraft and Legos so maybe I will be an architect. That would be awesome.
—George Burdell, Jr.

Thanks, Rick, for your time. Please let me know if there is anything I can do to improve George’s chances for admission, and I look forward to hearing from you within seconds after I send you this email.

George P. Burdell
Class of 1990

p.s. We hope your staff enjoyed the cookies we sent!
p.p.s Did you see my friend request? Didn’t see where it's been accepted yet, so just wondering…

(All names have been changed. Any similarities to actual persons living or dead are purely coincidental.)