From late June through early August, Stanford hosts the EPGY Summer Institutes—the Educational Program for Gifted Youth. Dwelling in Row houses from Slav Dom to EBF, gifted middle- and high-school students come from across the globe to study Particle Physics, Creative Writing, Java & Robotics, and a myriad of other topics at Stanford.

Contrary to popular belief, not all nerdy, socially-awkward and overly-ambitious tweens and teens are admitted to Stanford’s rigorous EPGY program. Parents of children with mediocre SAT-9 and PSAT scores have traditionally been sent pitying rejection letters, as well as tips for how to make their not-so-gifted children obtain the appearance of prodigies. Tips include dressing the child in argyle sweater vests, replacing the child’s entire music library with “Learn Latin!” podcasts, forcing the child to wear a monocle, and using Parental Control to block every TV program except those on the History Channel.

However, crestfallen parents of not-so-gifted adolescents now have another choice. Alongside their rejection letters from EPGY, applicants now receive an automatic acceptance letter to the Educational Program for Mediocre Youth, or EPMY, hosted by UC Berkeley.

One applicant, Sarah Brownstone, offered to share the contents of her letter with The Flipside:

Dear Ms. Brownstone,

We’re sorry to hear about your recent rejection from Stanford’s EPGY. Even so, now you have an even better opportunity in front of you! If you still want to attend an expensive summer institute on a Bay Area college campus, we invite you to enroll in our Educational Program for Mediocre Youth, EPMY.

Rather than reading books and spending your summer “learning,” you can spend your summer in a tree, counting things, reviewing the English alphabet and studying the collected works of Theodor Geisel—just like a real Cal student!

We hope to see you on our mildly tolerable campus!

Pityingly Yours,
Oscar Bermanski
Director, Educational Program for Mediocre Youth
University of California, Berkeley

Unfortunately, EPMY’s Director Bermanski was unavailable to interview with the Flipside, as his secretary said he would be out all week, smoking weed and protesting the existence of America, bananas and four-leaf clovers.

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