Seniors Continue to Navigate the College Process

Seanna Sankar '24

by Seanna Sankar ’24, News Editor of The Polygon

For the Class of 2024, the fall semester of senior year has been in and out of dean’s offices and filled with writing and rewriting college supplements. As the fall and winter college application season unfolds, Poly’s senior class has reaped the rewards of their hard work and strategic approach to the college process. Chair of the Upper School Deans Emily Gardiner P’24, ’27 attributes the seniors’ success to how well they have handled the pressure of the college season. According to Gardiner, they have handled the college process “with so much maturity, careful thought, and good planning.”

Emily Gardiner Herzog
Emily Gardiner Herzog

A total of 80 percent of the class applied through Early Decision I (EDI) or Restricted Early Action (REA) in November, and 17 percent applied via Early Action (EA) only. Of those EDI/REA applicants, 54 percent received an offer of admission. Between December and January, 18 percent of the class then entered an Early Decision II (EDII) pool. Of the EDII applicants, 42 percent have already received a positive outcome, with more results arriving in mid-February. At this point in the process, though, about 88 percent of the 2024 seniors have at least one offer of admission. These statistics are still changing as seniors continue to receive decisions. (See the handy glossary of terms below.)

Reflecting on this year’s decisions, Gardiner said, “This year looks similar to recent years in terms of the advice we’re giving and the satisfying results we are getting. Every year for the past five years, Poly has steadily increased our share of top-25 colleges and universities. I’m really looking forward to tallying our final data in May.”

When it comes to applying ED, the dean team has worked to support students in making the best decisions based on their individual circumstances. Compared to recent years, Poly students seem to see more and more success. A Polygon article from 2018 described that the Class of 2018 saw “a large increase compared to the 22.8 percent of students accepted ED in 2015.”

According to a 2017 Polygon article, “Over 70 percent of [2017-2018] year’s graduating class is applying early decision (ED) to a college, as opposed to the 20-30 percent that has applied ED in past years.” This year appears to reflect similar results. “There is always a push to apply early in this market,” however, as committing to a binding application is not for everyone, “there is almost no senior who did not turn in at least one or applications by early November,” said Gardiner.

In fact, Arthur Dieme ’24, who will be attending Emory University, expressed regret in not applying to more early action schools.

Jasmine Donald '24
Jasmine Donald ’24

Still, applying to college is a lot of work that revolves around crafting an application that represents both the time you’ve spent in high school as well as yourself on a personal level. This has been mainly achieved through a students’ personal statement and writing supplements for individual schools.

For Jasmine Donald ’24 who will be attending Wesleyan University in the fall, when it came to applying to colleges, “I honestly felt so overwhelmed by all of the supplemental essays I had to write, especially because I wasn’t the greatest [at] mapping out when and how I would write each one.”

An important part of applying to college for Donald was making sure her personality and identity shone through in ways that weren’t highlighted in the rest of her application. She said, “it was so helpful having trusted adults read and help edit my supplements because without them, I’m sure I would have panicked and done mediocre work out of sheer stress.”

Alba Niccolai ’24, who will be attending Colgate University, echoed this statement and said, “I feel that it is important that you have a dean that you can go to not only on an academic level but a personal level.”

Donald would advise future classes of seniors “to reach out to a teacher or a dean to have them read your work and offer advice. Having that kind of support definitely makes the process less scary.” She continued, “the best thing you can do is remember to breathe and calmly map out your supplements.”

Know the Lingo: Handy College Application Terms

ED – Early Decision is a binding admissions strategy with application deadlines beginning in October and running through November. Colleges are expected to inform students in December. Students admitted using the Early Decision plan are obligated to commit unless financial aid is insufficient. Students may only apply to one Early Decision Round 1 school.

EA – Early Action is a non-binding admissions plan with application deadlines beginning in October and running through November. Colleges inform students of their decision between December and February, much sooner compared to if applying using the Regular Decision deadline.

EDII – Early Decision Round II is a binding admissions plan with deadlines beginning in December running through January. Students admitted using the Early Decision Round II plan are obligated to commit unless financial aid is insufficient. Colleges inform students of the application decision around mid-February. Students may not be in more than one Early Decision plan at the same time.

REA – Restrictive Early Action is a non-binding admissions plan with a November application deadline. This plan prohibits students from applying to other schools in an early round (Early Decision or Early Action), with the exception of an Early Action/Rolling plan to a state university.

RD – Regular Decision application plan, which usually refers to the January application deadlines. Students most often are informed of a college’s decision in March.

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