By contributing writer Mark Goff

If you were lucky enough to grow up in America, odds are you’ve thought about college at some point in your life. If you grew up in Europe, odds are you’ve been to a nude beach and accidentally saw some guy’s junk once. If you grew up in Canada or Mexico, I’m just plain sorry for you. But that’s neither here nor there. College is the next great step in life after high school, and if you want the good times to keep right on rolling, you need to have a plan. The Shitty College has a plan to snare you in its shitty web, so it’s only fitting you have one to avoid this indignity. Here it is.

The Unsolicited Brochure

You didn’t ask for their brochure, and you certainly don’t want their brochure, but chances are at least one is sitting in your mailbox right now. Shitty Colleges are notorious for mass mailing their propaganda to unsuspecting high school students. Ignore the happy, smiling faces and blurbs about outstanding cafeteria food and extremely accessible professors. They’re all lies carefully concocted to lull you into a false sense of security. Let me assure you, no one is smiling there, the food is borderline inedible, and the professors literally dash for their cars the second their last class ends.

With a degree in Anti-Gravity from Shitty College, you'll be flying high in no time!

A lack of campus pictures is an immediate warning sign. The brochure my Shitty College sent me had exactly one picture taken outdoors: a shot of smiling students on a patch of nice green grass. Guess what? The “campus” is a parking lot, and that 3’ by 3’ patch of green was the only area not paved for a square mile. Welcome to Crazytown.

The Interview

So you went in for an interview, despite the warning signs in the unsolicited brochure. Maybe you’re naïve. Maybe you were hoping they’d have free donuts (they don’t). Try and bring someone who’s actually been to college, instead of your mother, who never went and thinks you should go to Shitty College because the first floor bathroom is “nice.” The admissions rep who conducts the interview will likely be polite and chipper, quick to point out the flowery aspects of the school and all they have to offer a promising young adult. Do not trust this person. No matter how many free tote bags and water bottles they shove up your ass, do not be swayed. It’s all a meticulously constructed façade.

Keep the rep off balance by asking questions. Ask about their academic standards, if any. For example, my Shitty College has two admissions requirements: a diploma and a pulse. And under the right circumstances, you can get a waiver for the pulse.

The Campus Tour, a.k.a. The Seedy Underbelly

If you’re on a tour, you clearly haven’t been paying attention. No worries, there's still hope. Your guides for these tours are inevitably students of the college, giving tours in between classes to earn beer money so they can drink themselves into oblivion later and hopefully forget they attend such a deplorable school. If you aren’t careful this could be you next year. Keep in mind that this mindless drone has been instructed to show you the nicer parts of the campus while avoiding the run-down bits. Feel free to wander off on your own, consequences be damned. Let’s face it, as an incoming freshman you won’t be spending much time in the nicer parts of campus. Observe the student population as they go about their everyday life. If one or more of the following scenarios are true, then you’re touring a Shitty College for sure:

1. It’s a dry campus. This means the drunk people will be staggering back from the bars at 3 AM, yelling as they try to find their rooms, instead of being quietly passed out in their rooms like regular college students with immediate access to alcohol.

2. More than half of the rooms are not singles or doubles. Of course, the sample room you see will have one bed, one dresser, and one desk. On move-in day, there will be triple this amount of beds, dressers, desks and roommates. Make sure you ask about this.

3. Two or more rooms are blaring Linkin Park. If this sounds appealing to you, then maybe you belong at a Shitty College.

4. The ratio of minutes spent touring campus to members of the opposite sex seen that you’d fornicate with is greater than 5:1.

5. The dorms look like a Siberian gulag. At my Shitty College, every inch of every wall is painted a disgusting shade of mauve. Picture the vomit of someone who’s been drinking all night on an empty stomach and you’re halfway there.

6. You see too many fat people. Don’t they bother you? It’s my hallway too, you know.

The Final Decision

Now that you’ve seen all there is to see of the Shitty College, any thought of enrolling at said institution should be long gone. If not, perhaps you’re beyond any form of help or rehabilitation. If, like me, you’re already attending a Shitty College, please accept my condolences. Maybe I’ll see you at lunch—I’ll be the one eating Salisbury steak and contemplating grim death.