Thursday, December 09, 2004

Admission of guilt

As some of you know and others have surmised, I am in the midst of applying to graduate schools to do a Ph.D. in theology. I was ruminating with a friend in similar straits the other day via e-mail, commiserating about the rather opaque process of admissions. We're still not sure how it works, but we came up with this as our best guess:

You apply to somewhere between five and ten schools (more if you're a glutton for punishment). They receive your application, cash your application fee check, cast ummim and thummim -- there may also be chicken entrails involved somewhere, I don't know -- and then, typically, send you a letter that looks something like this:

Dear sir or madam:

I would like to express our profound thanks and deepest appreciation for your application to Bob Jones University (or like institution).

Be assured that you are among the most promising and gifted young scholars to come along in many years. We each considered reviewing your application a great privilege. Everyone was touched by it: several faculty members changed their thinking on one or two important issues as a result; a few were changed forever; one is certain that she caught a glimpse of the beatific vision. None of us will ever be the same again.

The pool of applications this year was our largest yet, including 1.5 quadrillion applications from an uncharted quadrant near Alpha Centauri, and several offers from a friendly chap in Nigeria who works with an unnamed oil company and promises us a large endowment if we provide him with our bank account number.

And so, we regret to inform you that, after consulting our departmental Ouija Board, and performing all the tasks of augury required under University Code III.2.a.(e), we cannot extend an offer of admission to you at this time. Also, it would be bad Karma.

We wish you every success in continuing to pursue your professional goals.

Louis Cypher,
Department Head,
Department of Religious Studies,
Bob Jones University (or like institution)



Blogger Karl said...


I think you've got it pegged down.

Good luck with the Pee-Eighth-Dee search.

Thursday, December 09, 2004 10:53:00 PM  
Blogger Howlin' Hobbit said...

Doesn't it just warm your heart to know that, in your own small way, you're changing lives throughout academia? :-)

Friday, December 10, 2004 6:04:00 AM  
Blogger Benedict Seraphim said...

Louis Cypher . . . rich, that. What movie is that from? I regret to admit the possibility I probably saw it.

Friday, December 10, 2004 3:45:00 PM  
Blogger Jason said...

I really wish I could say "ummm...what movie? I made it up". But honesty bids me admit to having heard it in Angel Heart, a mediocre Mickey Rourke vehicle (or is that a redundancy?). The good news, I guess, is that Mr. Cypher has found gainful employment following his movie career.

Friday, December 10, 2004 5:29:00 PM  
Blogger Emily said...


Great to stumble on to you from AKMA's blog. I'm not sure how you can want to do more school, but having recently received a few letters in the search process along the lines of "you're a great priest, but we don't want you" I can totally sympathize.

Good luck in your applications!

Wednesday, December 15, 2004 4:12:00 PM  
Blogger Jason said...

Great to hear from you! Send me your e-mail address, please -- I'd love to catch up off-blog. JF

Thursday, December 16, 2004 2:57:00 PM  
Blogger Thunder Jones said...

Sounds like you already got your letter back from Duke.

Friday, December 17, 2004 5:52:00 PM  
Blogger Jason said...

No, I haven't received it yet, but I am angling for a new career in writing rejection letters in case ministry and teaching don't work out.

BTW, e-mail me your e-mail address, it might be fun to correspond. (Didn't see it on your blog.)

Friday, December 17, 2004 8:47:00 PM  
Blogger Thunder Jones said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Sunday, December 19, 2004 4:57:00 AM  

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