The “It” Factor

A specter is haunting campus – the specter of the “it” factor. All the powers of campus authority have entered into a holy alliance to keep this specter from being exposed, until the cat was let out of the bag by aplan’s Unofficial, Unbiased Guide to the 328 Most Interesting Colleges 2004. “Whether it’s the academics, the location, the social scene, or the perfect combination of everything, [UT has] that certain “it” actor, making them [one of] the most popular among high school students this year,” wrote intrepid muckrakers Trent Anderson and Seppy Basili, setting off a panic wave that was by no means confined to the most lavish offices on the ninth floor of Vaughn.

At The Minaret, our hands were tied. Everyday, students repeatedly asked us, “What is this ‘it’ factor, and how did we end up with it?” Demand was so high that we put some of our most talented investigative journalists on the job, but they were consistently blocked by bureaucratic red tape. We quickly became disheartened; we wanted nothing more than to explain the “it” factor to our eager student body, yet we were convinced that we would never be able to until the day that we had executive endorsement for such a move.

Today, that day has come. The executives could never firmly decide to proudly proclaim our possession of the “it” factor; they were always worried that revealing its source would lead to other universities replicating it. But since Trent and Seppy’s courageous exposition, more and more higher-ups have gradually been won to the side of full disclosure. I don’t know who the swing vote was, but today I am glad to state that the days of secrecy are forever through on campus.

For the 2006 school year, we’re loud and proud: “We’ve got the ‘it’ factor!” Sure, we’re all right academically, but who cares? It is of little consequence. Why would we bother attempting to attract prospective students by telling them that they can look forward to manifold options and high flexibility regarding a major choice or that they’ll find small class sizes and intensive teaching methods catered to their learning needs? Those are things that we’d say in an attempt to compensate if we didn’t have the “it” factor. But when you’re holding four aces, why emphasize your 3 of clubs; when you’ve got the “it” factor, why talk about academic nonsense?

The “it” factor is part and parcel of our new public image at UT, and people are catching on quickly. All the nerds that care about academic standards and a learning environment are looking to some square place like Harvard anyway, so why bother with them? Trent and Seppy hit the nail right on the head. The “it” factor is “the perfect combination of everything.” We’re a quick cab ride from some of the most chic clubs that Florida has to offer, a half hour from a beach that puts the cold Atlantic to shame and a quick walk to a year round swimming pool that can provide a relaxing afternoon and a great tan, not to mention an excellent alternative to an afternoon of classes! This perfect combination is the secret of our “it” factor, and we are finished with futile attempts to bury it in the sand.

So, thank you, Trent and Seppy. Through your resolute determination, you helped set the ball rolling that would eventually demystify our prized possession, which had been languishing for far too long in inconspicuous omnipresence. With us wearing our strength on our sleeve, the future looks bright at UT. The “it” factor continues to attract increasing numbers of freshman matriculates, and a whole new confidence has developed around campus. In fact, with the “it” factor on our side, some of the more brazen students have even gone as far as classifying our school as “the Harvard of the South.” The implication is clear: gone are the days when a school’s prestige is rigidly determined by archaic attributes such as academic standards. Harvard has first rate research facilities and strict scholarly criteria, while we have that perfect combination, the all-encompassing “it” factor. Which sounds like more fun to you?

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