Seniors fulfill their dreams though the early decision process

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Sophia Keang

WA student walks out of WA.

Sophia Keang, Reviews-Opinions Editor

As college acceptance season finally comes to an end, many seniors step back as their so-called “senioritis” kicks in. After four years of hard work and countless nights of homework, much of the graduating class of 2021 is about to step into the next chapter of their lives: college.

For over a year now, COVID-19 continues to cause uncertainty for all. However, despite the global pandemic changing everyone’s lives, some seniors found that the one thing that stayed consistent in life was their desire to get accepted into their dream school.

While many seniors anxiously awaited for college admissions to roll out this past spring, some students committed earlier than their peers due to the early decision process. The process is a binding agreement between a student and a college stating that the student will attend that college if offered admission.

Statistically, students have a higher chance of being accepted into a school through the early decision process in comparison to the regular decision process. This is because the pool of applicants is typically smaller, which decreases the competition for applicants. Though this is true for some applicants, students usually have to be academically qualified for the school. Senior Jonathan Ran feels that the early decision process gave him a better chance to get accepted into his top college, the University of Chicago.

“The University of Chicago had always been my dream school all of high school,” said Ran. “And, I know that the acceptance rates for UChicago specifically are a bit higher for early decision rounds. After submitting my application, I remember seeing how applications have risen around 50% which scared me a bit.”

Even as the early decision process continues to give students a greater chance of being admitted into their top schools, the rise in college applications due to the pandemic still worried applicants. Many colleges and universities announced that this year’s applicants were not required to submit standardized testing, causing the influx number of applicants.

Even with all the anxiety and chaos that comes with college application season, some seniors found that the ability to apply early into their top school gave them a sense of security and relief.

For Westford Academy senior Anusha Parikh, adapting to hybrid learning as well as going through the college application process was not easy. However, the benefit of getting to commit to college early through the early decision process allowed her to be able to relax before the rest of her peers. With this, Parikh proudly committed to Tufts University.

“The combination of having to go through the application process and also go to school with the hybrid model definitely took a toll on my productivity. A huge benefit of the [early decision] process for me was getting the decision [of choosing a school] over with and not having that stressor over a longer period of time,” said Parikh.

Many US colleges and universities such as the University of Massachusetts Amherst and Tufts University are expected to fully return to in-person semesters this upcoming fall. With some sense of normalcy coming soon, senior Robyn Bryce feels that even with the pandemic, her desire to be admitted into Boston College had always stayed consistent. However, due to COVID-19, Bryce was not able to tour as many schools as she would’ve hoped. With limited knowledge about other schools, her interest in Boston College only amplified.

“BC [Boston College] was one of the only schools that I actually got to tour, so this gave me more information about the school that I didn’t have for any other [schools]. I also wasn’t able to take the SATs this year because I could never get a test date due to COVID. If I did well [on the SATs], I probably would have looked into more competitive schools,” said Bryce.

Despite obstacles caused by COVID-19, seniors have still been able to achieve their life-long goals through the early decision process. Regardless of the stresses that come from applying early, Ran found the process to be ultimately rewarding, and he recommends it for future college applicants.

“If you have a top school that you’ve been working towards for a few years, you should definitely go through with the early decision… you don’t want to regret not applying to your top school and always wonder if you would have gotten in or not. However, don’t let that consume you because there will always be other amazing opportunities no matter what path you decide to take,” Ran said.