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Degrees of Matriculation

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The already crazed competition for admission to the nation's most prestigious universities and colleges became even more intense this year, with many logging record low acceptance rates.

Harvard College, for example, offered admission to only 7.1 percent of the 27,462 high school seniors who applied.

-- the Times, April 1

FROM: Office of Admissions, Harvard College

To: Double Legacy Applicant, Class of 2012

Here at Harvard's Office of Admissions, we have some very exciting news for you. While your SAT scores and grade point average fall below the threshold for acceptance to Harvard's class of 2012, your Harvard parents' dogged participation in our annual fund-raising appeals -- including their generous contributions to Harvard's recombinant DNA lab and IMAX theater -- have gained you admission to a unique new program called LegacyPlus™.

With LegacyPlus™, you, the Harvard double legacy, will enjoy all of the perks of students who actually got into Harvard -- except for the education part.

As a LegacyPlus™ attendee, you will live on the Harvard campus for the next four years in special LegacyPlus™ housing adjacent to historic Harvard Yard. You will walk, talk and -- on four special "Common Nights" a year -- dine with real Harvard undergraduates.

What will you and your fellow LegacyPlus™ enrollees be doing while the actual Harvard Class of 2012 is going to lectures, choosing majors and taking exams? A better question would be, "What won't you be doing?" With a jam-packed schedule of specially organized LegacyPlus™ clambakes, pub crawls and repeat visits to Boston's fabled Freedom Trail, you won't have time to think about all of those classes you won't be taking.

And the benefits of LegacyPlus™ don't end in June 2012, when, in a ceremony scheduled to coincide with Harvard commencement, you will receive an authentic-looking Harvard College Certificate of Participation™. This diploma-like document, produced by an expensive laser printer, allows you to tap into Harvard's "old boy network" of jobs, fellowships and government positions that have been turned down by actual Harvard graduates.

Some of the additional perks of LegacyPlus™ include:

-- Official Harvard TuitionBill™ identical to those paid by parents of the Harvard Class of 2012.

-- Permission to root for the Harvard football, hockey and lacrosse teams; complimentary tickets to swim meets.

-- 15 percent discount on LegacyPlus™ Harvard insignia items, including a car window sticker reading, "My Child Is at Harvard."

-- Special LegacyPlus™ "Don't ask, don't tell" policy regarding your use of the words "Harvard College" on your résumé.

-- Invitations to LegacyPlus™ class reunions, including such events as a Boston Pops concert attended by the actual Harvard Class of 2012, which you will view from your hotel via closed-circuit TV.

-- And finally, the greatest privilege of all: a lifelong relationship with Harvard's dedicated network of fund-raising cold-callers.

So join us, won't you? Take advantage of this rare opportunity by wiring funds today. (Prices double after May 1.)

LegacyPlus™: The Class, Without the Classes.

Andy Borowitz is a comedian and writer whose work appears in The New Yorker and The New York Times, and at his award-winning humor site, BorowitzReport.com. He is the host of "Countdown to '08" at the 92nd Street Y on Tuesday, May 13 at 8 PM with his special guests Calvin Trillin (The New Yorker), Susie Essman (HBO's Curb Your Enthusiasm) and Jonathan Alter (Newsweek, MSNBC). For tickets, go to 92y.org.

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