On the lighter side

On the lighter side

Mills, Mike

We once had an action brought against us by the muggle organization, the National Association for College Admission Counseling, for this and other “errant” behaviors. Helpfully, Professor McGonagall cast a spell on the admission practices committee members, turning them into toads, and we have received no further formal grievances.

Harry Potter

Number 4 Privet Drive Surrey

Dear Mr. Potter:

On behalf of the admission committee at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, I’m writing to notify you of your acceptance for fall semester 2003. A notice of your acceptance will be forwarded separately to your counselor, along with remuneration for having guided you to our fine institution.

The admission committee was impressed with every aspect of your candidacy, but perhaps none more so than your exquisite essay, “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: Faculty and the Academy.” It is quite advanced for a wizard-in-training, and you should feel quite proud. We trust that it is your original work, devoid of coaching of any sort.

Your wise decision to use our own application was a contributing factor in our decision to offer you acceptance as well. We strongly prefer it to the uncommon application used by Schools of Witchcraft and Wizardry for more than five centuries.

Similarly, the level of interest you demonstrated in Hogwarts throughout your final year of preparatory school did not go unnoticed. Every letter of inquiry you wrote and Hedwig, your faithful owl, delivered was tracked in our sophisticated system of ledgers maintained by our support staff, mostly consisting of castoff gnomes and hobgoblins.

There were still other aspects of your application we admired. Your aptitude for Quidditch, and particularly your skill as a Seeker, weighed heavily in your favor. Hogwarts evaluates athletes separately from the rest of the applicant pool and, as you might surmise, we admit several athletes each year on the basis of athletic skill rather than aptitude for witchcraft and wizardry. While these athletes will probably never master the finer points of casting a perfect spell or concocting a superb potion, I believe it is fair to say that we can and do expect them to play an instrumental role in the continued success of our Quidditch team, which in turn should reap handsome rewards in the area of fundraising.

Finally, your legacy status played a significant role in your acceptance. While our literature indicates otherwise, so as not to diminish the size of our applicant pool, legacy status does, indeed, result in preferential consideration in the review process. And in your case, it stands out in a most pronounced fashion. It’s not every student whose parents cast a spell of protection over them so they might survive an encounter with He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named with nothing more serious to show for it than a lightning-shaped scar on the forehead.

As a member of the Class of 2007, you are joining the most talented cohort of future witches and wizards in the 900-year history of this great institution. The average WWAT(R)(C)(TM) score (formerly the Witchcraft and Wizardry Aptitude Test) for this fall’s class is 2300, and the average WWAT-II Subject Test in Spells and Potions eclipsed the previous record by 25 points! Note that these figures exclude several categories of students, including those admitted on the basis of non-cognitive variables (known in the trade as NCVs). Those students will be drawn from our Wait List Of Lost Souls in early September based on their capacity to meet the full cost of a Hogwarts education.

I note that you applied to Hogwarts under our early action plan. I hasten to point out early action does come with certain obligations, Mr. Potter. Specifically, it binds you to attend Hogwarts, to forward your deposit to us within two weeks, to refrain from applying to other schools, and, in the unfortunate instance of having disregarded the previous prohibition, to cancel all pending applications to other institutions (Our records indicate you made application to Muggle State University, an inferior institution by any measure, and I must insist that you retract this at once).

On the matter of your enrollment deposit, please note that Hogwarts does not adhere to the May 1 National Candidate’s Reply Date. We once had an action brought against us by the muggle organization, the National Association for College Admission Counseling, for this and other “errant” behaviors. Helpfully, Professor McGonagall cast a spell on the admission practices committee members, turning them into toads, and we have received no further formal grievances.

There are many advantages to forwarding your deposit to us within the next two weeks, but perhaps none more important than receiving preference in your choice of residence hall. Simply, where you live, and the quality of life you will enjoy or suffer through, is determined by the swiftness of your deposit. Those who deposit earliest get their choice of our three finest halls, Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, and Hufflepuff. Those who fail to deposit early have no choice but to live in Slytherin, where resident advisor “The Bloody Barron” oversees a most unpleasant living-learning environment, one in which we can offer no assurance of your survival into the sophomore year, let alone academic success.

Also, you should note your participation in our elite Golden Snitch Scholars Program, which conveys a substantial scholarship, requires an early deposit. Should you fail to forward your deposit within two weeks, we will cancel your participation in the Scholars Program and rescind our scholarship offer. Very likely, we will also send a troll to your permanent residence to do you harm.

Once again, congratulations. We are excited indeed, Mr. Potter, to welcome you to Hogwarts.

Regards,

Albus Dumbledore

Headmaster

Mike Mills is the director of admission at Miami University (OH). The father of three young children, he is an avid reader, mostly within the realm of children’s literature, including Harry Potter, The Powerpuff Girls, Thomas the Tank Engine, Barbie, Clifford, Captain Underpants, Sponge Bob Square Pants, and Winnie the Pooh.

Copyright National Association of College Admissions Counselors Summer 2003

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