3 Things to Do With Those College Emails

College Emails FunnyIf you’ve ever taken a standardized test in your life, then in the spring of your junior year you are going to be swamped with emails from public colleges, private universities, and Libyan princesses.

This is because College Board, the omnipotent deity that has the power to decide not only where you go to college but also what you will have for dinner tomorrow night, runs this thing called the “Student Search Service.” And don’t let that title mislead you: if you get kidnapped, College Board will have absolutely no idea where you are. Even your handwritten cursive integrity statement won’t reveal that much about you, although it does reveal whether or not you paid attention in third grade.

No, the Student Search Service exists purely for the benefit of colleges. Essentially, College Board sends your email address to every educational institution in the world that has signed up, including some slightly-confused preschools that originally joined because they thought it would help them locate any kidnapped toddlers.

Now I know what you’re thinking: but, man, if you don’t want those emails you can just opt out of the Student Search Service, right?

Sure, in theory. In theory, there’s a little box somewhere on every AP test, SAT, PSAT, and SAT II that allows you to opt out. But by your sixteenth AP test or fiftieth SAT II, you’re too brain dead to find the little box. Heck, you’re just trying to figure out whether leaving it marked or leaving it unmarked is closest to “C,” which is what your hallucinatory, test-battered brain has been guessing on the last thirty questions.

Since it’s inevitable that College Board eventually gets your email address, it’s inevitable that you receive these college emails. Heck, you might not even realize how massive this email-address grabbing operation is. That fly buzzing around your laptop? It’s actually a College Board-controlled bio-mechanical robot meant to get a screenshot of you logging into your email address.

So, once you’ve received these emails, what should you do?

Respond Immediately

Trust me, colleges wouldn’t send these emails if they didn’t want a response. That’s why they take the time to personalize each and every email: notice how your first name is used in the subject line of every email, often up to three times. (In rare cases, the subject line might read like this: “Joe, picture Joe at the University of Uzbekistan, Joe”).

So, you need to respond ASAP. First of all, it’s the polite thing to do. Secondly, you don’t know which colleges you’ll be applying to eventually, and do you think you have any chance of being accepted if you didn’t respond to the personal email a college sent you? You’d have about as much chance of being accepted as Manti Te’o’s girlfriend.

Thus, the question then becomes: how? How can you possibly respond to the 60+ college emails you receive everyday? The answer’s pretty obvious: do less. Sleeping? Cut some of that out. Surfing the ‘net? No time, you’ve gotta respond to the seven emails that just came in. Metabolizing? Hello, wake up, you won’t have time for that either, dreamer. Maybe after you get accepted to college you can do that stuff.

Get the Free Guides

Often, the emails that you receive from colleges will include a free guide. These guides will have incredibly catchy titles, such as, “5 Questions to Ask when Touring Colleges,” “10 Ways You Can Find the Right College,” or “18 Fiscal Tips to Avoiding the Next Double-Dip Recession.” Instantly, your self-doubt will set in. What if you don’t respond? What if you don’t get these guides? WHAT IF YOU DON’T ASK THE RIGHT QUESTIONS ON A COLLEGE TOUR AND END UP CRASHING THE GLOBAL ECONOMY? It’d be so easy, you’ll tell yourself, to just click the enticing link and not have to worry about missing anything. So you click the link.

Of course, once your guides actually arrive, you’ll realize how gullible you were. Sure, they’ll all look amazing, with color photos and very glossy paper that reveals just how little that college—say, Somalia State University—cares for the environment. But the tips inside will be practically useless. For example, one brochure might recommend that you “Look around” while visiting a campus, or “Talk to Current Students.” Obviously, without this helpful advice, you would have strolled about the campus blindfolded, with a sign around your neck explaining that you have a rare tropical disease to keep people from getting close enough to talk to you.

Even though these guides are all fluff you should probably already know, I still recommend you get every single one just to appease your paranoia. After all, you don’t want to lose sleep worrying about all of vital admissions info you’re missing.

To get the guides, of course, involves slightly more time than simply responding to most other college emails. Often, you have to provide your parents’ email addresses, neighbor’s email addresses, and the email addresses of the last seventy people you emailed, which takes a little while. But, really, you’re just doing these people a favor: without you, they’d be missing out on all of these wonderful emails.

Sort the Emails

You can’t allow these college emails to just pile up in your inbox. Heck, since you’re already spending the majority of your time outside of school responding to them, you might as well take the extra hour or six and sort them.

The question is, how do you sort them? Well, that’s a good question. After all, you probably have no idea where you will or won’t apply to college. So, I recommend the following system:

First, sort the emails by geography. And if you aren’t sure whether Denver or Austin is closer to your current location, you might as well touch up on your geography knowledge now rather than later. I mean, at least all you have to do is check Google maps. Think of how bad it was for your parents in the 1980s: they probably had to walk to both cities and count their steps. (Plus, email didn’t even exist back then, so they had to sort college telegrams instead).

Then, sort the emails by rank. And this doesn’t just mean academic rank. Coolest names, best locations, strongest engineering programs, number of times they emailed you, number of times they used your first name in the email subject line, etc. Since many email programs can only sort by date, name, subject, or size, you’re going to need to start printing out each email to properly sort it. To minimize your environmental impact, just print it on the envelopes and paper of the free guides you were sent. And, of course, to ensure that your sorting efforts don’t go to waste, you should keep your files in a fireproof, underground, climate controlled, radiation-blocking safe (or a chiseled slab of concrete works well if you can’t find one of those).

Conclusion

Take action. Sort emails. Respond. Get free guides. It’s pretty straightforward, really, even if it does take 27 or 28 hours a day. So, in parting, I have one final tidbit of advice: outsource. Got a baby sibling or a lazy pet cat? You might as well give them something to do and allow them to feel productive.

Last year at this time, we drew your attention to the urgent issue of “The Movie Industry’s War on Teen Books.” You definitely need to be aware of what’s going on if you aren’t already, and that post includes what I find to be one of our funniest pictures of all time.

The State Writing Test: Not Your Average Standardized Test

StateWritingTestsFunnyHidden behind the big-name tests like the PSAT, SAT, AT, just plain T, etc. is a lesser-known but more important test: the state writing test. It’s more important because in most states, if you don’t pass, you can’t graduate from high school, whereas with something like the ACT, you can get as low as a 35 out of 2400 and be sought after by colleges.

But let’s back up for one second. The state writing test is not nearly as stressful as the SAT. In fact, it almost seems like a standardized test done right. Almost.

The Premise

The idea of the state writing test is to test your writing ability. And unlike other standardized tests, that is actually true. Sure, no boss is going to ask you, “Can you read this passage and then tell me why the main character sighs on line 23?” but many jobs involve writing things like legal disclaimers, memos, and legal disclaimers for memos.

The Bubbles

The bubbles at the beginning are truly why this test is so wonderful: they’re already filled in by some sort of ominous black circle-stamping machine. Whereas with the SAT you must pay $87 and submit an address, phone number, email, photo, and blood sample, and then have to fill in your own name, the state writing test already knows you exist, all for the cost of $0. Unfortunately, however, if any of the information is incorrect, there is no way to fix it, so you can either be Hpil (female) with a high school diploma or Phil (male) without one.

The Rules

The rules of the test are not nearly as nice as the bubbles, unfortunately. To begin with, you must fit your entire work onto the one page (front and back) provided, and you can’t draw extra lines in between the lines, nor extra lines in between the extra lines in between the lines, even if you’re writing the next great American formulaic sequel-after-sequel book series with a possible movie deal.

Also, you can’t use excessive profanity or vulgarity, which means just about everything you’ve ever learned from your favorite movies about writing artful dialogue or creating gripping plots is useless.

Furthermore, you aren’t allowed to research or talk with others about your writing, closing off the valuable essay resources of Facebook and Yahoo Answers.

But worst of all, you aren’t allowed the internet, period, and spelling is more heavily weighted than in an SAT essay. How are you supposed to Google whether it’s “unneccessarrillyy” or “unecesarily?” Sure, you’re allowed to use something called a “dikshonary,” but I don’t think that would help. It’s just a big heavy book with the alphabet written on the side in little flaps, I guess in case you forget how to write, like, a capital “G.”

The Prompts

The state writing test has 4 prompts (at least in my state), which initially appears quite nice. Sure, it’s more than the number of prompts on the SAT or ACT, but once you get down to it, the prompts are really no better.

Usually, they fall into four distinct categories: expository, persuasive, self-narrative, and imaginative. For example, your prompts might be:

  • Imagine that you are eating a piece of fruit, and it starts talking to you. Write about the conversation you have and the valuable life advice you gain from your produce.
  • A group of basketball players is playing basketball. Persuade them that golf is a more athletic sport.
  • Many people visit the beach and play in the sand. Write about a time when you went snowboarding.
  • Explain how to make your favorite food. Include measurements, preparation tips, and whether you used outspoken or mute ingredients.

Other Things of Note

While all that may sound pretty straightforward, there are a few other things everyone should know.

To begin with, you have unlimited time during the state writing test. So, if you get really involved in your analysis of golf, you can spend weeks, or even months, perfecting your arguments. Sure, you’ll miss a lot of class and have a ton of makeup work, but at least the next time you go to a Heat game you can convince LeBron to finally pick up golf.

But, as we’ve seen in regards to prompts or bubbles, unlimited time isn’t the only advantage these writing tests have over other standardized tests. In addition, regular standardized tests like the SAT have been accused of being biased against minorities, the poor, or the illiterate. The state writing test, however, is much less biased: you can write your essay/story in either English or Spanish! Although in retrospect, I’m sure there are people who argue that this is simply evidence of anti-Slovakian bias.

Whether or not you like them, state writing tests are a graduation requirement, and are thus pretty much unavoidable. Sure, the prompts are stupid, and the rules are restricting, but let’s face it: at least it isn’t graded on neatness of handwriting. If it was, it would take most of us over a decade to finally pass. And 26-year-old high schoolers just don’t strike me as good thing.

Along with the state writing test, the new semester usually brings new classes, and with them, new syllabi. Which means you’ll probably want to check out, “The Only Guide to Class Syllabi that You’ll Ever Need,” published at this time last year.

2012: A Year in Review (Teen Edition)

(Due to the nature of a humor blog, this post omits the devastating tragedies that befell the US this year. Such tragedies ought to be remembered, but not in a humorous tone. Therefore, recognize that the omission of these events is not because they aren’t important and saddening, but because it would be hugely disrespectful to reflect upon them in a humorous commentary.)

Just some year numbersI was severely disappointed when the world didn’t end on December 21st, 2012, for two reasons. First of all, I knew that whatever aliens/robots/undead creatures rose up to destroy the earth, I’d be spared. There’s nothing aliens like more than laughing at pitiful attempts at earth-humor, and if you make a zombie laugh, well, its ribs sort of shake off, and then there’s not much to worry about after that. Secondly, I knew if the world didn’t end, I, along with the rest of you, would have to go back to school after the holidays.

But before we get too caught up with 2013, it’s important to know just what happened in the past year. And since teens everywhere spent the entire year focused on nothing but sleeping, talking about sleep on Facebook, tweeting about getting no sleep, and instagramming pictures of our beds, we have absolutely no idea what happened.

Fortunately, there’s a thing called the Internet that has lots of info about the past year. Unfortunately, most of the sources present the information using big words and confusing references (who was Richard Nixon, anyway? Is he on the twenty-dollar bill?), so I only gathered a basic understanding of the past year. But, using techniques familiar to us all, techniques that come in handy in making that essay about the use of the word “an” in “Huckleberry Finn” fill five pages, I’ve still managed to write this post.

The World/Universe

As you may remember from our last year in review post, the Middle East had sort of exploded. This year, it continued to explode, while the world tried to ignore it. Syria has gone from “a bad place to live,” to “dude, the real estate prices are negative.” Turkey wants no part in the conflict, and so, logically, it has promised to involve itself if Syria involves it.

In other global news, NASA landed its rover “Curiosity” on Mars. The rover was originally bound for Neptune, but due to an intern at NASA headquarters falling asleep at a crucial moment, the rover instead got sucked in by Mars’ gravity. Thus began a massive-cover up operation by NASA to make it seem like the rover had actually been headed to Mars the entire time.

Also, the Summer Olympics happened in London. The Mayor of London had planned to hold them in the spring, but because of the possibility of rain, they were moved to the summer. The most notable part of the London Olympics was the opening ceremony, which was sort of like Advanced Calculus: they both look impressive, but nobody had any idea what either of them mean.

Nature

Unlike last year’s Irene, the hurricane that hit the East Coast this year was actually a hurricane. Nicknamed “Sandy” by a meteorologist who’d recently divorced his wife of the same name, it unfortunately flooded parts of the East Coast.

One theory behind Sandy’s unusual path was global warming, which continued to slowly cook us. I personally felt the earth increase in temperature by .0000007 degrees Fahrenheit, and I had to start using four or five bottles of antiperspirants a day as a result. Because the green party candidate lost the presidential election, it is predicted that by 2050 we’ll all be either dead or very tan, and scientists, after being exposed to Jersey Shore, are unsure which is worse.

Politics

The presidential candidates of 2012, after putting on an amusing and suspenseful show, all lost the election. President Obama was re-elected, mostly thanks to Bob Smith, who was, somehow, the tiebreaker vote in both Ohio and Florida. Newt Gingrich didn’t mind too much, though, as Geico promised to offer him a mascot position once the gecko retires.

After the election, Washington DC was immediately plunged into the fiscal cliff problems. Sadly, almost nobody has any idea what the fiscal cliff is, because the American population is so fed up with watching “IMPORTANT” or “BREAKING” political news that they’ve all started watching infomercial channels instead.

Teens

Teens were not the focus of many of the top news stories. This is probably a good thing, because most news stories featuring teens also feature kidnappings, runaways, car crashes, petty crime, or a combination of all of those.

As a social group, teens outpaced both adults over 30 and kids in the tech sector. “Instagrammed” and “Snapchatted” both joined the list of verbs that makes your English teacher take a flamethrower to your paper.

This Blog

In 2012, this blog did many things. In case you missed it, at 11:00:02:54:22:09:42 AM, on April 14th, we handed out one million dollars to every visitor. Thankfully, no web service is fast enough to achieve that precision, and we gave out exactly 0 million dollar prizes.

We also started our Facebook page, which features everything but our actual faces. If you’ve yet to check it out, you should definitely do so, as the entire “about” section is original, factual, never-before seen* content.

*since it’s “never-before seen,” I actually have no idea what it says. But “original” and “factual” seem exciting.

Overall, 2012 was clearly a year to remember. There was a presidential election, the battle of Gettysburg was fought, and mysteriously, the people in the Roanoke colony vanished. But now, we can truly get excited, because 2013, by definition, ought to be the year of the teen.

If you didn’t even know that it was 2012, about to be 2013, then you may also want to catch up on 2011. In that case, check out our guide to 2011, Teen Edition.

The Best Excuses, Period

OversleptTeens these days, myself included, don’t even need an excuse to use an excuse. We go through excuses like Tiger Woods goes through…cars.

But it would be impossible for us to give you the perfect excuse to every situation in a series of blog posts. Just imagine how many there’d be: “The Best Excuses for When You Forget to Turn the Oven Off,” “The Best Excuses for Why You Haven’t Flossed in Eight Years and Five Months,” The Best Excuses for Tipping Your Desk Back Until You Fall,” etc. Yes, we’ve given you specifics before, but those excuses were for situations every teen faces, often up to eight or nine times a minute: not having your homework, being late to class, or not silencing your cellphone.

Considering this, we’ve brought you some excuses applicable to any situation. Whatever the problem was, we want to make sure that every teen avoids blame as often as possible.

For Family Situations

We all know that there is a massive gap between our parents and our friends. That’s a literal definition: our parents would shop at GAP, but our friends would sooner eat some broccoli. Actually, our parents regularly eat broccoli, too.

  • I was going to, but then I had to shove everything under my—I mean, clean my room.
  • I’d love to, but I promised to do some community service at the park where my friends hang out.
  • I was watching C-Span, so I didn’t, sorry.
  • I have to finish my homework first; you don’t want me to drop below my A- average, do you?
  • I spent too much time mowing the lawn with a nail clippers—for uniformity—so I didn’t have time.

Amongst Friends

You usually don’t need to lie to your friends, unless they’re asking if you have gum. Sometimes, however, the truth is would be worse than an excuse; maybe you were too busy watching “The Bachelor,” but you certainly can’t reveal that.

  • I was going to, but then I had to shove everything under my bed.
  • I’d love to, but I’m grounded for mowing the lawn with a nail clippers; apparently being “too ridiculous” is a crime.
  • I was watching my ceiling fan go around, so I didn’t, sorry.
  • I have to finish my homework first; I don’t want to drop below my C- average.
  • I spent too much time translating my essay on “Of Mice and Men” into mouse-tongue—for the sake of insightful literary analysis—so I didn’t have time.

To Your Coaches

Whatever sport you play—whether it is Football, Basketball, or…actually, those are the only two high school sports—sometimes you needed to miss a game, or forgot to practice on your own time. Your coach spends a lot of time around teens, though, so you’ll need to be more convincing than with your parents.

  • I was going to, but the Olympics took place in my bedroom yesterday so I had to clean my room up.
  • I’d love to, but I have to meet with my English teacher and explain why my essay is composed of the words “squeak” and “tch-tch-tch.”
  • I was watching the Thunder play the Patriots, so I didn’t, sorry.
  • I have to finish my homework first; I can’t play sports with an F in early release.
  • I spent too much time running a triathlon consisting of 3 Iron Mans—for a cardio workout—so I didn’t have time.

For Any Situation that Could Possibly Occur

You knew it was coming. Maybe you’re not talking to a coach, a parent, a teen, or a teen parent who is coaching your health class on why teen pregnancy is bad. But you might still need an excuse.

I’d love to, but I have to meet with my English teacher and cut the grass at the park where my friends hang out with some nail clippers. Then I have to finish my homework, because the last time my counselor tried to print out my report card the printer turned in a resignation letter and moved to Canada. And I didn’t have time yesterday because I was watching C-Span’s interview with Tom Brady and Kevin Durant about how interesting my rotating ceiling fan is. I mean, I was going to, but my room got crushed by a fallen satellite yesterday so I had to clean it up. And then I spent too much time coming up with this excuse, so I didn’t have time.

As you head into the holiday season and then into 2013, keep these excuses handy. I’ve taped them to the inside of some mirrored sunglasses, which is a double bonus, because then they can’t look into your eyes and see that you’re lying, meaning that they actually have to listen to you to see that you’re lying. I think there was something else I wanted to say here, but I have to go finish my homework; you wouldn’t want me to get a 0 on my nonexistent winter break worksheets, would you?

Last year at this time, we posted, “3 Things About the Holidays that I (and You) Won’t Miss.” If you’re getting a little sick of, say, hearing the same holiday music absolutely everywhere, you may want to check it out and commiserate.