The college students who give campus tours for the admissions office may sound like confident ambassadors, but they sometimes have their own doubts about whether they’ve made the right college choice or are on the right life path.
That dramatic tension drives an independent mockumentary called “Admitted,” created by a group of undergraduates at Boston University.
The five-episode web series, whose final episode is scheduled to appear later this month, involved the work of more than 20 students, some crowdfunding and the use of free studio space on the campus. And it ends up making some timely observations about college admissions, and about student life after the pandemic — when students sometimes struggle to make social connections after high school experiences spent on lockdown. It’s set at the fictional Beacon Hill University — not to be confused with a nearby rival college in the world of the series, The University of Beacon Hill.
One student leading and acting in the production’s ensemble cast, Maggie Borgen, has spent plenty of time thinking through issues of college choice. When she was a high school senior in New Jersey during the pandemic, she made a podcast designed to give advice to other students going through the college admissions process during the health crisis, which limited campus tours and many of the usual rituals of high school. (EdSurge talked to her about that project at the time.)
Since starting as a student at BU, she ended up working at the admissions office there leading information sessions. And she thought it would make a great setting for a sitcom in the style of her favorite comedies, including “Parks and Recreation” and “Abbott Elementary.”
“A college admissions office seemed like a really good way to explore coming of age in college through a workplace setting, but also in a way that is relatable to a general audience, because most Americans are thinking about college in some sense because it’s just such a big part of the zeitgeist,” Borgen says.
She was excited to try to examine that setting from the perspective of students today, during this unusual time.The high cost of college these days provides plenty of material for satire. In one scene, Borgen’s character, MC, is giving a campus tour and describing the new 10-story engineering building with a food court and gleaming library. She tells the students, “I figure if you’re going to go into student debt, you might as well go bankrupt for Beacon.”
The students started production last fall, meeting two or three times a week to write and film the series. It’s starting to get some recognition — it was recently named as a finalist in the Houston Comedy Film Festival.
EdSurge recently connected with Borgen to ask what insights she’s gleaned in making the show, and how students continue to struggle with the lingering impact of COVID-19.
Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Overcast, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts, or use the player on this page.