On Wednesday at 4:35 p.m., a local high school senior embarked on a Swarthmore admissions tour, completely unaware that he had arrived at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Friends and family confirmed that Matt Hughes, 17, a lifelong Harry Potter fan, had no idea that Swarthmore College was an exact duplicate of J.K. Rowling’s Hogwarts.
Sources confirm that at 4:37 p.m., Hughes had begun to taste the magic that was in store for him. Staring dreamily over at Clothier Bell tower and the Tarble student center, Hughes marveled at Swarthmore’s castle-like design, which — despite the fact that dozens of other universities employ gothic architecture — he found reminiscent of the fictional Hogwarts Castle.
The tour continued towards Sharples dining hall, a building that did not remind Hughes of any sort of fantasy whatsoever.
“Sharples is the site of many of Swarthmore’s most exciting traditions,” said the guide, for the 15th time this month. “In December, Sharples hosts the Yule Ball, a Harry Potter-themed formal that features a Potter cover band, chocolate frogs, and hundreds of students who’ve realized that they don’t know how to interact without a BAC over .20.”
According to sources within the admissions office, the tour group then adjourned to Mertz field, where Hughes stared incredulously up at McGill walk, completely unaware that he would spend the next four years cursing the steep incline as he trudged to class each morning.
“On Sunday afternoons, our Quidditch team practices here — you should come here, we’re fun and quirky,” noted the guide, who had put in two consecutive all nighters to finish a paper on a French philosopher whose name he still could not pronounce.
The sight of students running with broomsticks clutched between their legs proved too exciting for Hughes, who had already mentally began planning his application essay.
The final, carefully crafted 450-word essay — which included 400 words too many comparing large research universities to Lord Voldemort — contained references to President Rebecca Chopp, Albus Dumbledore, the Biology department, Herbology, and, improbably, pasta bar.
“While we appreciate your rich inner life and creativity, we regret to inform you that we cannot offer you admission to Swarthmore at this time,” wrote Dean of Admissions Jim Bock. “We wish you the best of luck in your applications to other colleges and in life, but recommend that your effort to memorize the entire Potter series might be better spent by actually learning about Swarthmore.”
“I should probably read those books before I train the next batch of tour guides,” sighed Bock.