Seniors Face Unprecedented College Admissions Season

     “Well, I have the time, right? What else am I going to do?” This sentiment from reflects the attitudes that many seniors had in regard to submitting applications this year. With the cancellation of sports and activities due to the pandemic, students have dedicated more time towards submitting a larger amount of applications than in years prior. This is just one of the aspects of the college application and decision process that the pandemic has affected this year. 

     According to Ms. Anderson, a college counselor at Fenwick, the biggest change as a result of the pandemic was that top universities such as Harvard, MIT, Stanford, Yale, Duke, and Princeton, to name a few, have changed their test policies. However, despite the new test-optional policy, which encourages more people to apply without test scores, the acceptance rate has trickled down as a result. Duke, which ranked #5 of the top colleges in America, has seen the acceptance rate go from six percent to four percent. Yale (#4) kept its acceptance rate the same despite an increase in applications from 35,000 to 47,000. The University of Notre Dame’s (#19) acceptance rate has decreased as well from 16 percent to 14.6 percent, with Notre Dame having a record-low acceptance rate. Among 23,639 applicants, only 3,466 were admitted to Notre Dame. Despite these competitive acceptance rates, Ms. Anderson reports that seventeen Fenwick students were accepted directly to Notre Dame; two were accepted through the bridge program at Holy Cross, and two were waitlisted. The large number of students accepted to top schools is just one accomplishment of the Friars. Fenwick seniors have taken the time and effort to apply to more colleges with a record high number of 2,828 applications submitted on behalf of the Fenwick Class of 2021. The most popular schools applied to were the University of Illinois, Marquette, the University of Wisconsin, Indiana University, and Miami University of Ohio. From Fenwick alone, the University of Illinois received 131 applications, Marquette received 127, and Miami of Ohio received 63. However, despite these five schools receiving the most Fenwick applications, a total of 323 different colleges received applications from the Class of 2021.

     The Class of 2021’s accomplishments and perseverance throughout this particularly difficult college admissions period has not gone unnoticed. Ms. Anderson highlights her appreciation for the Class of 2021, stating, “I’m incredibly proud of all you’ve been able to accomplish.”

     The Instagram account @FHS2021DECISIONS, run by Mary Jacobs, has been the main way in which the Class of 2021 has shared their college decisions with their peers. Mary explains that she started this account because of her excitement to see where her classmates would be attending college. In order to be featured on this account, students send a direct message to @FHS2021DECISIONS detailing their intended major and college decision. Mary then creates a post for each student, captioning each post with puns to congratulate her peers on their decisions. Her favorite pun is one written about Miami of Ohio, which read, “I would make a joke clarifying that you aren’t going to Florida, but you’ve probably already heard that one.” Mary recalls some of the surprising experiences that she has had while running the account, explaining that she has gotten three direct messages from her peers telling her they got into Harvard, underclassmen sending her decisions, and even a boy from Saint Pat’s claiming they went to Fenwick. Yet Mary expressed that she still loves running the account because she loves seeing how far her classmates are going to school and what their intended majors will be. Thanking the Class of 2021, Mary states, “I appreciate everything you guys have given me in terms of getting to be around such interesting and intelligent people. I’m excited for where you end up.”