->''"These are the best years of your life. You get four years, enjoy them. 'Cause after that, you're fucked."''
-->-- '''Uncle Ben.'''
Bartleby Gaines (Justin Long) has a problem. His parents want him to go to college, and he has applied to every college he knows of -- but all of them have given him a polite "thanks, but no" letter in response. Bartleby is smart and innovative, two talents he has turned to such ventures as making fake [=IDs=] and pulling pranks, but which do not, sadly, [[BookDumb extend to his grades]]. His friends Rory, Glen, and Hands are in the same boat with him, but all for their own reasons. Hands, though accepted to numerous colleges, lost his football scholarship when he broke his leg and can no longer afford to attend the schools where he applied. Glen was not accepted anywhere [[CloudCuckoolander due to his score of "0" on the SAT's]]. Rory was the most academically competent of the group, and ''could'' have gotten into numerous prestigious universities, except she had ''[[CripplingOverspecialization only]]'' [[WhatAnIdiot applied to Yale, which did not accept her]]. What can they do?
Well, if every college has rejected them, they make up their own, of course. With the help of Sherman, who has been accepted into the prestigious Harmon College, they make a fully-functional website for their fake school, and turn an [[AbandonedHospital abandoned mental hospital]] into a college building. They put forth Sherman's irascible uncle (Creator/LewisBlack) as the dean. Their parents are happy. Our heroes are happy.
Now they have a new problem: The "fake" website automatically sends an acceptance letter to any and all applicants -- and now they have hundreds of fellow rejects to deal with. But Bartleby has a plan. Bartleby always has a plan. Now he has to figure out what that plan is...
!!This film provides examples of:
* AbandonedHospital: Turned into a college building for the ruse.
* AloneInACrowd: Bartleby's reaction to Harmon College during his visit to find out how colleges work.
* ArtisticLicenseUniversityAdmissions: The whole student body of the fake school was rejected for one reason or another from legitimate universities but one of the characters mentions throughout the film just how illegal and crazy their actions are. [[spoiler:In the end, it saves them, since he applied for accreditation just in case something happened.]]
* AttentionDeficitOohShiny: Meet Abernathy. Abernathy is a spaz.
-->'''Abernathy:''' Hi there! What's your name? My name's Abernathy Darwin Dunlap but you can call me A.D.D. on the account of the fact that I have A.D.D., which is attention deficit disorder. You know -- everyone used to think it was just an addiction to sugar when I was 6 and my mom used to cry because she thought I would never be like a fully functioning member of society like my neighbor who has Legionnaires' disease. [snickers]
* AnnoyingYoungerSibling: Bartleby's sister.
* BecomingTheMask: Uncle Ben and his role as the fake Dean. It takes him a bit, though:
--> "Look, we throw a lot of fancy words in front of these kids in order to attract them to going to school in the belief that they're gonna have a better life, and we know that all were doing is breeding a whole new generation of buyers and sellers, BUYERS AND SELLERS! Pimps and whores, PIMPS AND WHORES! And indoctrinating them into a life long hell of debt and indecision!"
** The entire ''college'' is this. [[spoiler:By the end, it's on a probationary accreditation, and from what we see it looks like it's going to meet just the right balance of being a "real" college and bringing its new approach to the table.]]
* BigStore: This method is used by the protagonists to create a fictional stand-in college to fool their parents. Unfortunately, it works a little ''too'' well...
* BlondGuysAreEvil: When Monica discovers her (blond) boyfriend is a jerk, she dumps him in favor of (brunette) Bartleby.
* BrickJoke: A student wishing to major in "Mental Detonation" is last seen concentrating very hard on various objects, without obvious result. His efforts come to fruition at the very end of the movie (See PsychicPowers, below)
* BrilliantButLazy: Bartleby.
* ButtMonkey: Sherman.
* CalvinBall: South Harmon's curriculum, at first.
* TheCon: While the goal is not theft, Bartleby's efforts to fool his parents play out like a classic film con job, specifically a BigStore. Subverted in that the con becomes the reality.
* ClusterFBomb: Well, more like Cluster S Bomb. The PG-13 Movie uses the word Shit sixty-two times, one hundred less than the WesternAnimation/SouthPark Episode ''It Hits The Fan.'' Again, it's PG-13.
* CoolLoser: Bartleby, friends with everyone and remarkably clever, but apparently unable to get into any college.
* CoolUncle: Ben, Sherman's uncle, who becomes the Dean.
* CripplingOverspecialization: Rory, who only applied to Yale and didn't get in, leaving her without a college to go to.
* DeadpanSnarker: Schrader has shades of this, most notably when first entering the abandoned asylum.
* DeanBitterman: The Harmon College Dean Richard Van Horne.
* FakeRealTurn: When the students who applied to South Harmon start thanking Bartleby for the opportunity at higher learning that they otherwise didn't have, it inspires Bartleby to stop thinking of South Harmon as a way to get his parents off his back and instead as a real organization to help out people otherwise locked out of higher education.
* FunWithAcronyms: The fake school is called '''S'''outh '''H'''armon '''I'''nstitute of '''T'''echnology.
** Immediately [[LampshadeHanging lampshaded]], of course.
--> You do realize that that makes us "shit", right?
** And the school color? [[BringMyBrownPants Brown]].
** School Mascot: the sandwich.
** The School Newspaper: ''The SHIT Rag''.
** Later on, the characters and students even start calling themselves "SHIT heads" as a symbol of pride.
* GeniusDitz: As weird as Glen may be, he turns out to be a talented chef capable of making great food.
* HighSchoolHustler: Bartleby, who got his start with making fake [=IDs=] during high school, and who manages to completely fool his parents into thinking South Harmon was real.
* ImpossiblyDeliciousFood: After first recoiling from Glen's [[MessOnAPlate "Wads,"]] everyone who tastes them declares them to be the most delicious thing they've ever eaten.
* IndyPloy: The premise for the entire film. Bartleby fakes an acceptance letter and a website. Uh oh, now dad wants to see the building! OhCrap, now he wants to meet the dean! OhCrap, you made the website ''functional''?!
--> '''Rory:''' What's he doing?
--> '''Hands:''' He's winging it.
** In fact, for the hearing at the end, their defense is entirely based on Bartleby's ability to extemporize. And he didn't know that going in.
* InitiationCeremony: "Ask me about my wiener!"
* IvyLeagueForEveryone: Averted. Rory emphatically did ''not'' get into Yale to which she apparently had been trying to get into ''since the first grade''. She expected to be a shoe in and hadn't applied anywhere else.
* KavorkaMan: Glen is a pudgy, awkward guy with a Jew-fro. He manages to bag the three hottest girls at [=SHIT=], who are even seen demanding he choose between them, as it's not fair to keep stringing them all along. The next morning, he's sleeping on a pool float with all three cuddled up to him in their underwear.
* LargeHam: Uncle Ben, played by Creator/LewisBlack, who only has one volume - extremely angry and shouting.
* MadeOfExplodium: Majoring in mental detonation FTW.
* MessOnAPlate: Glen's "Wads" - everyone initially recoils at their appearance, which could most charitably be described as "brown lumps with chunky bits."
* MostWritersAreWriters: I.E., most film makers are artists. Played very straight. Whenever someone is shown being interested in a real subject (real as in not "exploding things with your mind" or the like), the subject will always be a fine or culinary art (photography, sculpting, cooking, music, etc.) It is even implied that someone (the leader of the accreditation board) who chose a non art-related career path only did so because his university took away his creativity (which turns out [[StrawmanPolitical to be right]], he wanted to play trombone.)
** The only mention of anything else is Sherman's quick line of "I'm teaching Skepticism 401." at the end, which at least implies some cursory interest in science, philosophy and rationality.
*** This [[JustifiedTrope makes sense]], though, as most of those students that had an interest in more rational, scientific schools of thought would probably have been accepted to the established universities to begin with. So it's reasonable that the first year (perhaps not subsequent years) at SHIT would consist mostly of those with no interest in those other subjects.
* NeverRecycleABuilding: The hospital has been sitting around for who knows how long before the kids decide to appropriate it.
-->'''Bartleby''': Remember that time we had to steal my mom's birth control?
-->'''Sherman''': And then Lizzy was born?
-->''' Bartleby ''': Schrader, come on. Don't be scared.
-->'''Sherman''': Scared? I'm not scared. You're scared.
-->'''Hands''': Schrader, you were scared to try the new flavor of Dr. Pepper.
-->'''Sherman''': I told you that in confidence Hands!
-->'''Bartleby:''' Schrader, you were afraid when you're tooth fell out because you were terrified of the Tooth Fairy.
-->'''Sherman''': That's actually a legitimate fear. She was rifling through my shit.
* OnlySaneMan: Sherman constantly tries to tell Bartleby and the others how stupid and illegal their actions are.
** [[spoiler:In the end, his worry-warting saves them, as he applied for accreditation in case something happened.]]
* PeekABooCorpse: ... HilarityEnsues during the hospital clean-up.
* PrisonRape: Ben states to Gates that "''you're young, your butt can take it''" after he states he would go to prison if their plan doesn't work.
* ProfessionalSlacker: Uncle Ben starts as one, even if he might have had more ambition in the past:
--> '''Girl''': Can you sign a copy of your book for me. I got it on Ebay.
--> '''Ben''': They sell my shit on Ebay?
--> '''Hands''': You wrote a book?
--> '''Ben''': Yeah, that was back when I was drinking. (''he takes a shot'')
* ProperlyParanoid: Sherman is constantly afraid that the truth of South Harmon is going to land them all into huge trouble. Given that it's skirting legality on several fronts, he's not off-base. [[spoiler: This also results in him taking steps to legitimize the entire enterprise, setting up the film's climax.]]
* PsychicPowers: One of the students at South Harmon wants to major in Mental Detonation. To everyone's surprise, he apparently makes a car explode during a credits gag ([[spoiler:Incidentally, said car also belonged to the dean of the rival school who tried to have Bartleby's school invalidated]]).
* ScreamsLikeALittleGirl: Sherman.
-->'''Sherman:''' It would be really cool if you guys didn't tell anyone I scream like that...
* SettingUpdate: As explained in [[http://www.acslater.com/2011/02/23/accepted-is-camp-nowhere/ this article]], ''Accepted'' is basically an update of ''Film/CampNowhere'' set in college.
* ShoutOut: Doubles as a minor ActorAllusion when Bartleby mentions that anything could be done with [[Film/DodgeBall "can-do attitude and some elbow grease."]]
* SlobsVersusSnobs: The uptight and impeccably-dressed leadership of Harmon College against the eclectic and mismatched South Harmon applicants.
* SmugSnake: The ''entire'' Harmon faculty.
* SoundEffectBleep: At the end, [[spoiler:Fuck]] is beeped out, to keep it from being rated R. [[spoiler: [[BleepDammit They had already used it once, uncensored]].]]
* StartMyOwn: This is a major part of the plot.
* StealthPun: The mascot of S.H.I.T. is a sandwich.
** And the school paper is the S.H.I.T. Rag.
* SupremeChef: Say what you will about [[MessOnAPlate its appearance]], but Glen's food is always complimented by whoever eats it. Appropriately, he's in charge of the entire school's cafeteria at the end.
* TelepathicSprinklers: Apparently pulling a ''fire alarm'' in the school turns on the sprinklers instead of sounding off a loud alarm and automatically alerting the fire department.
* ThisIsWhatTheBuildingWillLookLike: Used in an early scene by Dean Van Horn to show off his planned gateway to Hoyt.
* TruthInTelevision: The Dean of Harmon College says that the key to the success of a college is to get as many applicants as possible and then reject as many as possible to portray exclusivity. This might sound like evil ranting, but, unfortunately, this is actually how colleges try to make money, and it crosses into real life ParanoiaFuel .
* WillingSuspensionOfDisbelief: In no way could anything in the movie be remotely possible. But if you turn off your thoughts it makes it easy to enjoy the film.