Seniors sweep in Ivy League admissions

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Catherine Gagulashvili co-editor-in-chief

Ava Securro co-editor-in-chief

When senior Kate Bim-Merle was accepted into the ultra-elusive engineering program at Cornell University, she reacted how one would expect: screaming in jubilee, jumping around like a gas atom and filled with relief. However, upon his acceptance to Harvard University, senior Matthew Allana sat quietly in shock, basking in his gratitude. 

For other seniors, Dec. 12, the day Ivy decisions came out, could have gone either way. It could’ve been the moment that their dreams were crushed, or the moment that finally satiated the hours of work put in during their high school careers. Fortunately for Bim-Merle and Allana, it was the latter.

With Early Application Decisions announced just before winter break, students who applied to highly competitive universities, notably the Ivy Leagues, were stunned at the number of acceptances to top-20 universities. Four seniors in the class of 2019 were accepted to Ivy Leagues, according to college counselor Casey Rowley, compared to six seniors in the class of 2020 accepted through Early Decision/Action so far. 

Cornell accepted three seniors: Isabella Raspi, Matthew Kassorla and Bim-Merle; Yale accepted senior Sara Dzigurski; The University of Pennsylvania accepted senior J.J. Gluckman; Harvard accepted Allana. 

“This is a strong class and I do believe a lot of students put time and thought into where they applied and their essays,” Rowley said. “When you’re thoughtful about the right school fit and take time to develop your story you have a stronger application. Rather than throwing applications out I think a lot of students took the time in their apps and researching where to apply, [which] is amazing.”

Bim-Merle thinks that the acceptance system is based on chance and that the students at our school took that chance, hoping for the best possible outcome. 

“The whole process is arbitrary. You never know if they accept people because they needed a student who played the tuba for the marching band. There’s no calculator for it all, [so] you just have to take a chance.”

Rowley finds that when considering Ivy League acceptances, there are “institutional priorities and application information that are unseen,” meaning that acceptance numbers rise and fall from year to year given each individual university’s priorities for the admission cycle. 

“A lot of times students are surprised by a student who may not have been admitted, while someone gets in that you didn’t think. Admissions is subjective. Application cycles vary year to year. The acceptances tell us one thing, but not the entire story,” she said. “We encourage students to take data as a consideration, but also reflect on their own academics, goals, application essays and activities outside the classroom and apply to colleges based on their preferences and larger goals.”

Allana, Bim-Merle and Gluckman both felt a relief from the “stress and pressure” the college application process put on them.

“I was pretty excited. I personally thought there was an even chance of me getting in or not, and I was very glad that I did,” Gluckman said. “It took a lot of pressure off and it’s been a slow burn of realizing it.”

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