It’s January, and elation has replaced anxiety for our three college-bound high school seniors. Each has gained entry to a top-choice school.
Adam Karp of Springfield got his answer in the pool. He was working with the middle school swim team in his role as assistant coach when the call came. Muhlenberg College, where he had applied early decision, has the unusual practice of calling its early-decision applicants with the news. Adam didn’t have his cell phone in the pool area; instead, he got an urgent message from his mother to call Muhlenberg.
“I was just really surprised. And I was really happy,” said the Solomon Schechter Day School of Essex and Union senior as he recalled the conversation. And then he got to share the news with his friends. “I was talking to some who also got into different places. And we realized the next thing we have to worry about — rooming!”
Adam hadn’t left anything to good luck. To hedge his bets, he had also applied early action to Tulane University and priority decision to the University of Maryland, in addition to the other applications he sent out to places like Rutgers University and Brandeis University, all applications he will now happily withdraw. Asked if he was looking over his shoulder at any of these schools, he said, “Usually after a big decision, I do look back and say ‘What if?’ This time, that didn’t happen.”
One more happy surprise arrived in the mail about a week later: a second letter informing him that not only had he won a four-year, $16,000 per year award known as the President’s Scholarship, but also that he was among 45 entering freshmen offered a place in one of the school’s three honors programs. “I got in in the best way I possibly could have,” Adam said. “That made me feel elated.”
Sense of relief
Sherri Luxenberg of West Orange, a senior at Rae Kushner Yeshiva High School in Livingston, got on the phone with NJJN and gushed, “I’m going to Barnard!”
Just days before her early-decision application was due, she was still undecided. “It’s my nature,” she said. “I can’t make a decision until I’m in the crunch time.”
She got her answer in school; she had given her mother permission to open the envelope if it came, and the call came in the middle of class. “Oh my gosh, I was so nervous,” she said. “I’m still very excited — the excitement really hasn’t died down yet.”
But she was reluctant to celebrate — her best friend had not heard yet. “I had to keep it on the DL [down low] for a little while.” Eventually, they celebrated together — her friend was accepted to her first choice just two days later.
Sherri said gaining admission gave her a sense of relief. “This really took a weight off my shoulders. And I didn’t have to send the other applications.”
Now, she said, she is turning her attention to choosing a yeshiva in Israel, where she will study for a year before starting college.
Sara Strugger, the artist and Livingston High School senior, received her acceptance letter from her first-choice school, Tyler School of Art at Temple University, the day after Thanksgiving. “It was surreal; it was crazy,” she said. “We all completely broke down, we were crying in hysterics — me, my mom, my stepdad, and my stepdad’s parents were going, ‘Yay!’”
Unlike Sherri and Adam, however, Sara may pile up acceptance letters, since she didn’t apply early decision to any of her four final choices (Tyler in Philadelphia; Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts, her second choice, where she was accepted; Rutgers University; and Maryland Institute College of Art). And she is also focused on finances. “I have to keep a rational line of thought. I’ve got to keep my options open and see what all the schools offer,” she said.
Although they have gained the holy grail of admission to their first-choice schools and acknowledged feeling much more relaxed, none of these college-bound seniors will be slacking off for the rest of the senior year.
“I’m too much of a wimp — I like doing well on tests too much,” said Sara. “But things are definitely easing up.”