UPenn Likely Letter Website: It’s Real, Damnit!

Over 200 lucky high school seniors recently received an email from the University of Pennsylvania admissions office suggesting that they check out “pennlikely.com,” where they would find more information about their coveted status as a likely letter recipient. (For those of you who do not spend your time reading college blogs: likely letter = you’re in.) Upon reaching the site, the students were faced with a video entitled “A special message for you [and the other 200-odd candidates who also received our email]…”

And it goes a little something like this:

Yes, Dean Furda, I was wondering why you were in the office after hours. I’m also wondering how you keep that strangely colored snow jacket so dry in the raging blizzard and whether you might have moved the statue of Ben Franklin so it doesn’t look like you have a second head. And yes, I would like to meet up for coffee.

Oh, that wasn’t a personal ad?

Sorry, jumped to conclusions. It’s just that I received a seemingly similar email last week with an invitation to check out ivydate.com (seriously!) based on my “exceptional personal, professional, academic, and leadership qualities,” so you can see how things would get confusing.

It seems, though, that some of the high school seniors exceptional enough to receive this email were similarly perplexed by the generic nature of the message, which preceded the physical copy of the likely letter mailed to the students. In fact, “Dean Furda” actually addressed these concerns on College Confidential, a website created to alleviate the burden created by particularly vocal neurotic parents on university tour guides. “I’m posting here for the first time,” wrote the digital dean, “to let you know the likely communication sent tonight is for real.” Word. Still, why is the very private likely letter on a public website? What would happen if I followed the postscript instructions on the website

Send me an email at previews@admissions.upenn.edu to tell me one of the things that you can’t wait to try at Penn (that maybe you didn’t want to mention in your essay). I’ll share some of these during Penn Preview Days.

and sent you an email? For example, I’m really excited to try day drinking at your spring concert, Spring Fling, which I plan on attending when I come visit my Wharton friend in April.

If you never get back to me, I won’t be mad. I’ll just keep watching this video with bitterness that I was not one of the select few “likelies” back when I applied to college. Like the students interviewed later in the video, I was begging the admissions officers, not the other way around. So for all you likely candidates, screw you congrats! And don’t worry, it’s real. For the rest of you, just keep watching until about 1:40 in for something with which you can sympathize:

“I was so excited,” Scott from Wharton says of his admissions notification, “I got in a minor car accident.” Yep, we feel ya.