Movie: “Admission”

“Admission” directed by Paul Weitz

What’s the secret formula to getting in?

That’s the question thousands of prospective university students ask themselves, and that’s the question Princeton University admissions officer Portia Nathan (Tina Fey, “30 Rock”) asks them in the movie “Admission,” released nationwide March 22.

If I have to guess, the movie’s audience consists of anxious students currently in the college application process, anxious parents with teenagers currently in the college process and people anxious to watch Tina Fey and Paul Rudd.

For those there to watch Fey and Rudd: you’ll be disappointed. The storyline is trite, and the movie’s jokes are a failed attempt to elicit laugh-out-louds from its audience. I was simply left half-laughing, half-questioning the jokes.

Ah, for Hockadaisies and their parents nervous about Princeton’s admissions process: the movie is hardly worth watching, so I may as well let you know what you want to know.

As a junior currently browsing colleges and soon applying to them, it was intriguing to see the inner workings of college admissions offices, but I wasn’t even sure if the movie was accurate. Do admissions officers really sit for hours reading different folders of each prospective applicant, ultimately taking a vote by a show of hands, sitting around a table eating bagels for breakfast?

So I asked Associate Director of College Counseling Elizabeth Jones, who formerly worked in the admissions office at the University of Pennsylvania.

She confirmed the movie: officers do spend hours perusing every prospective student’s application. In the weeks directly leading up to decision announcements, they participate in a committee discussion, reviewing and discussing candidates. Finally, they decide on applicants with a group consensus, not a fiery debate like in the movie.

So what’s the secret formula to getting in? Spoiler: there is no secret. You don’t need to see “Admission” to realize that, either.