Matchbook Cover University is a fictional institution of “higher learning” invented by some of us over on my message board to mock those schools that advertise how easy it is to get a diploma in your spare time by sending them a little money. It was meant in particular for one member of our board who seemed so damn proud of his new “degree” he got that he no doubt probably had to print off of a PDF file on his home computer. Welcome to the world of classless education, which is particularly booming in these days of the internet connecting us all together so we can collectively slack off…
These non traditional colleges were around even in the days before homework assignments were tweeted to students. One of the more infamous institutions that did a lot of advertising back in the early 90’s when I was watching a hell of a lot of late night TV was International Correspondence Schools, or ICS for short since some of their alumni couldn’t spell words that big. And to preach the good word of what ICS could do for high school dropouts everywhere who thought they’d never advance above fry cook, the school hired one of the most infamous TV commercial spokespeople of that era…
Sally Struthers is best known for portraying Archie Bunker’s daughter Gloria on “All in the Family”. However, to commercialphiles like myself, she is also famous for wandering through the filthiest ghettos of the Third World showing off her well-fedness to thousands of starving kids whose last meal consisted of a possum who wandered into their tent and died. Her bratty innocence and unmitigated gall made her the perfect choice to pitch the idea of taking college courses at home that no employer in their right mind would recognize…
How quaint that she asks interested viewers to get a pencil and paper out to write down the phone number since nobody out there had cellphones glued to their hands at the time. “And no saleman will visit you!” Damn, Sally, the days of the traveling salesman were long gone even in the 90’s! At least it was the fun days before signing up for something like this would get us all kinds of creepy Google ads…
It always amused me how many exciting and thrilling crafts were available to learn at ICS. But if it really weren’t possible to master these trades in the comfort of your own home, they never would have been in business, would they? Let’s take a look at some of ICS’s former students in each advertised field who became success stories!
ICS High School:
Child Day Care:
Medical/Dental Office Assistant:
Fitness and Nutrition:
And these are just a few of the many people who had their lives changed forever by picking up that phone and calling Sally Struthers for a few textbooks! The Nest would like to salute International Correspondence Schools, who taught us the value of learning a skilled trade on our own time, not some tenured, clueless professor’s. So if you’re still stuck in some dead end job with no time to hit the local campus, ICS is just the place for you to pick up that degree that will look lovely hanging in your
bathroom new office! You too can become a proud Fighting Flint!
I was about to say, why go to ICS when you can draw that damn turtle or whatever it was and go to “art school”.
I like now how certain “colleges” advertise they will only take “serious, devoted students”. I guess level of devotion is determined by the checks to the “college” clearing on time.
That ad they used to run for the art institute would crack me up… draw the bear, get accepted, and you could create all this neat stuff they were showing you that looked like it was ripped off from a starving artist sale. YAY! I’m off to a fascinating career making velvet Elvii!!!
It’s always the money that talks… nothing says “serious, devoted student” like a check that doesn’t bounce…
Amazingly enough, the famous artists school was actually run jointly by Norman Rockwell and an associate. They looked at each student’s work, critiqued them and helped them become real graphic artists. It wasn’t a scam or a fake. It was the real deal at a very modest figure, much less than a standard art school would have cost. Normal Rockwell was a very very good guy. He didn’t need the money. He only stopped when the work load became overwheling.
Those of us who went to brick and mortar schools, attended the occasional lecture and paid $$$$ feel gypped! They made us write papers and turn them in! If we wanted time off, we had to cut classes! We had to get stoned outside on the quad or hiding in dorm rooms! We made friends with living people instead of robots on the internet. Clearly, we missed on out all the really GOOD stuff!
I could’ve skipped it all and gotten a phoney baloney degree. I’ve toyed with buying a belated Ph.D., but couldn’t figure out a good reason. I suppose I could put my new fake bona fides on my public profile and on my blog header: Marilyn Armstrong, BA, FP, PhD.
Would that get me more more hits? Would people send me certified checks and money orders? Or direct deposits into my bank account? So many questions. So little time.
There’s nothing that says “I’m so much smarter than YOU” like adding a whole alphabet soup of letters after your name, and making sure those letters always appear with your name! It’s the fast track to instant popularity! I think I’m going to contact Matchbook Cover U and buy… er, get my PhDouche…
The girl in the wedding dress, you would think someone would have told her part of it was missing! 😉
Awwww, why ruin the bride’s perfect wedding day like that? Or the groom who gets all the rice that landed in her cleavage….
OMG I can still hear Sally rattling off the names of all those fabulous careers! Good to see the success stories. I especially like the clown in the day care, wait, no I don’t aieeeeeee!
Boppo went to school in between drowning and setting himself on fire! He’s a smart assclown!
I know somebody who sent away for a lung exerciser from an ad in the back of a comic book, ES. For $1, they received a balloon in a plain, white envelope. Nope, not me.
Those old comic book ads were something else! That’s great, because you can’t even sue for false advertising… you got exactly what you paid for!
*sigh* As an employee of a university that offers online courses, I feel like maybe I should offer something in their defense.
There are actual legit schools that do online stuff that’s just as good as the face to face classes you take on campus. Our university has a lot of well respected programs – nationally recognized – that are done entirely online. And since I work with the faculty I feel ok telling you that the online courses are often HARDER than the on campus ones.
However, as someone who got an entirely online Master’s from a different “school” I can also tell you that not all schools/programs are created equal. The upside for me is that I now know a whole lot more about what you shouldn’t do when teaching online.
Awww, I wasn’t trying to run online courses through the mud, especially now that they have become more of the norm in the internet age. I was more poking fun at the campusless “schools” that were operating in Sally’s day that seemed a bit more than questionable… I mean, what employer back in the day would give serious consideration to a degree from ICS?
Ah, my bad. Indeed, some of those so called schools were absolutely nothing more than diploma mills. The problem is that some of the online schools – and worse, some of the brick and mortar schools – aren’t any better. And the shit thing is, it’s not really a matter of “you get what you pay for” – my online Masters cost way more than the one I’m working on now.
OMG, I’d totally forgotten about ICG! I can still hear Gloria listing off the Official Degrees and Certificates you could get in a voice completely devoid of emotion. I was always curious about Forestry, it seemed so WTF? I believe there was also a “steno/typist” category. Hey, I know shorthand!!
Today’s equivalent is ICDC College! (You have to sing it or it doesn’t work) They seem to have taken over the American National University (again with the jingle) slot on Judge Judy.
I’ll have to look up the jingles, because they definitely lose something just appearing in print…
HaHa!!! I did a graduate diploma via “correspondence” but as Mental Mamma points out, institutes of learning are not created equal and mine is from the prestigious Monash University. The building in the add is so funny and that wedding frock does not look at all like a wedding frock. OMG!!!
Monash University has a nice ring to it. I’ll bet their dressmaking students could have done a much better job than the ICS graduate who made that horrific dress!
bloody oath! 🙂
I forgot about ICS as well. LMAO at Matchstick U. My degree came from a Cracker Jack Box. Awesome prize at the bottom! That computer programming GIF formed a friendship, based on a shared twisted sense of humor. Mental health indeed.
Ahh, the good old days when you could get degrees from a Cracker Jack box! Now they have such shitty prizes, they should be embarrassed to even bury them under all that caramelized popcorn…
I have no degree, can ICS help me be smart?
Well, before ICS I was just an ass. After just 3 months of home courses, I became a smartass, PhD!
Wow! Maybe someday, I can be a real bitch!
There are advanced degrees in Bitchery out there, I’m sure of it! The professors who teach the classes, though, are quite…. um…. harsh!
Oh. Well, then I better just stay a wuss….
But… but… they have a modern campus and everything! It’s on their ad so it must be true!
There are always openings for firearms repair “graduates” in the underbelly of society. I’m sure they don’t check your credentials too closely. And if you mess up all their guns and make them mad, what are they going to shoot you with? Win win.
Send out enough of these firearms repair experts from ICS into the world, and we just might put an end to all gun crime!
This whole post is hilarious, Evil Squirrel! Of course, it has been awhile since I had thought of these crafty schools which really do represent the underbelly of education, as displayed in your fine representation of examples. 🙂
I’m glad to hear it has some actual reading value! This post is quickly becoming the most popular on my blog simply because a lot of people are searching for the “xxxxxxxxxxxl” I included in the caption under the rather large fellow in one of the pictures! Funny how the internet works…