College bound: Seniors react to early admission decisions

January 28, 2019 — by Elaine Toh and Jeffrey Xu

As senior Rohan Kanekar discreetly checked his email during his sixth period class, AP Spanish, on Dec. 13, he could hardly contain his excitement:  He had just been accepted to New York University’s Leonard N. Stern School of Business through Early decision.

“I found out in class, so I had to contain my happiness to not disturb everybody else,” Kanekar said. “But I was pretty happy, and I felt a lot of relief because there was no more stress of applications.”

While Kanekar’s early acceptance was certainly a fortuitous result, it is a fairly rare occurrence for seniors to get into their top-choice early action or decision colleges.

According to guidance secretary Sarah Christeson, the class of 2019 submitted a total of roughly 164 early application packets for college.

Although the actual numbers for acceptances at the school were not reported to the administration, the number of acceptances is usually low, and for every senior who shouts with joy at their acceptance to a dream school, many others are rejected or deferred.

According to NYU News, the early acceptance rate was approximately 38 percent for the class of 2021, the most recent year for which statistics are available. However, at a competitive school like Saratoga High, the rates are often lower.

Since early decisions are binding, Kanekar withdrew his applications to other schools and now plans on being part of NYU’s class of 2023.

Another uncommon success story was senior Ethan Ko, who was accepted on an early action decision to Stanford University, which had a 9 percent acceptance rate for the class of 2021. Since the decision was early action, he still has the option to apply to and attend other universities. However, since Stanford was his first choice, Ko has already decided to commit.

According to Ko, the process of finding out he had gotten in was an emotional roller coaster.

After his seventh period, AP Physics, which ended at 3:45 on Dec. 7,  Ko took his time biking home, trying to delay looking at his results.

“I wasn’t really that all excited for the 4 p.m. release since I’d internalized rejection,” Ko said.

When he arrived home, his parents and sister, freshman Ashley Ko, greeted him with a grin. However, Ko was much more nervous. At around 3:57, Ko pulled out his laptop and began refreshing the window of his application portal. He said that his mind was “pretty blank at this point.”

“When the link came to view updates to my application, I instantly clicked and was shocked to see ‘Congratulations,’” Ko said. “My sister and dad began screaming, and I think my mom began crying. But I was dumbfounded.”

Since he had his piano class right after, Ko said that he did not have time to fully internalize or celebrate the decision until afterwards.

“I was shocked and at a loss for words. I thought, ‘Could this really be happening?’” he said. “After three minutes I realized what had just happened, but as of now, it still hasn’t completely sunken in.”

Although Ko did consider applying to some of the other options he had, like Duke and Johns Hopkins University, in the end, he decided to stick with going to Stanford as a biology major.

“I was considering 8-year BS/MD programs but decided that it would not be worth it to take them over Stanford,” Ko said. “I’d rather have freedom to explore many subjects and have freedom to choose different med schools.”

Similar to Stanford’s seven-school system, which includes the school of Liberal Arts and Sciences under which Ko will be majoring in Biology, NYU also has a large selection of schools, including the Stern School.

While the overarching theme of Stern School is business, Kanekar said that there are several unique concentrations under the school of business, including accounting, economics and marketing, which all nominally result in a business major.

Kanekar will be majoring in business with a concentration on finance, dictating the courses that he will be taking starting this fall.

While other students may still worry about their applications, Kanekar said that he can now finally relax for his second semester of senior year.

Likewise, Ko said that he will be more relaxed, although he still plans on conducting his extracurricular activities just as he had before.

“I’m super duper excited for admit weekend and meeting all the people who I’ll be calling classmates next year,” Ko said.

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