NAU: Oh, sure! Let me get your name and address. Now, where did you hear of NAU?
Teacher: I saw a catalogue at a friend’s house.
NAU: O.K. Now, what degree program are you interested in?
Teacher: Well, I’m thinking of getting my master’s in English.
NAU: Great. Where did you get your B.A.?
Teacher: At the University of Missouri.
NAU: Oh, that’s great! You should have no problem. Let’s see...you have only 36 credits to go until you get your master’s. You can either do a thesis or just do the course work in 30 days.
NAU: I’ll need you to send me your lifetime resume, from childhood on up, you know, showing what it was like....Now, we’re accredited with International Accreditation Association. So we’re fully accredited, we’re not a diploma mill. There are so many out there it makes me sick. You’ll see the seal from IAA in our catalogue.
Teacher: Do they have a phone number?
NAU: Uh, yes, they are in your area. The phone number is (202) 310-1210. They have about 800 calls a day, so they have a very, very long recording. We’re internationally accredited, so you could even go to Bolivia and use your degree!
Teacher: Uh huh.
NAU: Now, I want to tell you, lots of people get their master’s from us. They really like it. It’s great. I wouldn’t work here unless it was. And most of these people want to get their Ph.D., too. It costs less if you do the combination master’s and doctorate.
Teacher: How much does just the master’s cost?
NAU: $1,795. The master’s/Ph.D. costs $2,295.
Teacher: How long does it take to do both degrees?
NAU: Oh, not longer than two months. It would be a lot cheaper. You’ll write a 75-page thesis. Now, I’ll need a $100 deposit plus your resume to get you in. It looks like Yale or Harvard when you’re done.
Teacher: How many students do you have?
NAU: We have 800 to 1,000, and we have 14 counselors. Two on the grading panel are from Yale. We’re real picky, we turn down more students than we enroll.
Teacher: What happens if I need some help on an assignment?
NAU: Oh, there are counselors galore here! The president handles a lot of calls, and I can do a lot of help. But a person of your caliber won’t have a problem. This is great. I think you’ll really like it. I wouldn’t work here if I didn’t.
Teacher: Will I get a transcript?
NAU: Oh, yes. The transcripts are beautiful, they are typeset and the grades are on them. The degree is a beautiful, gold-embossed degree.
Teacher: What about graduation?
NAU: Well, we have a graduation about every three months.
Teacher: Can I do it sooner?
NAU: Oh, yes, you can definitely do it sooner, you know, if your employment depends on it. We’re in the process of building a law school, and when we do we’ll have heavyduty ceremonies.
Teacher: Do you need my official transcript from my college? I don’t think I can get the official one, but I do have an unofficial one.
NAU: We don’t need the official copy. We can tell if it’s been faked.
Later, Wolcott called the number for the International Accreditation Association of America:
Recording: Hello. You have reached the International Accreditation Association of America’s verification line. This number has been given exclusively to our accredited institutions. Therefore, if your school is giving you this number, and has our official certificate of accreditation displayed in their school catalogue, they have been awarded the status of accreditation by this association. Thank you for calling....
A version of this article appeared in the January 01, 1990 edition of Teacher as A Call To An Admissions Officer