Futures Decided: Early College Decisions Change Second Semester Outlooks


Zuri Vallery

Gearing Up: Senior Zuri Vallery prepares to face the end of her high school year and embrace the beginning of her college career at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

It’s that time of year again. Seniors across the globe are making last-minute touches on their final college applications and excitedly awaiting responses from their top schools. However, a lucky few get to forgo this time of anticipation and anxiety due to an early acceptance and decision. With their future on lock, what will the rest of the high school experience entail?

Senior Carter Martin was among the first of North Atlanta’s class of ’23 to receive the good news – as early as September. During a meeting with an advisor at SCAD, Martin got to speak with the head of admissions. A week later, his inbox saw a letter of acceptance. The only catch was that he hadn’t yet submitted his application – overly impressed with his art and personality, admissions had offered him a spot. With his place sealed at his dream school, Martin feels a weight lifted off his shoulders for the rest of high school. Although he is no longer motivated to get into SCAD, applying for scholarships has kept him driven. “I feel like I’ve had the unique opportunity this year to slow down and enjoy my last year of high school,” said Martin.

Senior Mia Hsu marked her class’s first Ivy acceptance with enrollment at Cornell University. Hsu was recruited for fencing and decided to apply early after realizing the school checked off her extensive college wishlist. However, her December 15 early decision date was much more anticlimactic than many Ivy League hopefuls, as she had received a ‘likely’ letter days prior. Free of the woes of Common App, she says she feels like the pressure of recruitment and applications has significantly lessened. Although it’s been harder to focus as much on assignments and school work, Hsu still has scholarships to attend to while looking forward to the last hurrahs of senior year.

Charlie Long was one of several hopeful Dubs to gain early admission to the University of Virginia. Long discovered three days before letters were supposed to be released, Virginia had moved up the deadline to the next day. Excitedly, he waited for an hour in front of his computer, inbox open, to be greeted by a burst of confetti. The celebration that followed marked not only the start down a new path but the weight of application stress lifted. “Early decision just feels like a sigh of relief,” said Long, “I’m not giving up on the rest of high school, but I feel like I have more space to breath now.”

Senior Zuri Vallery will become one of North’s first students to enroll in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Tucked away in the safety of her room, Vallery discovered her early decision acceptance while blasting her favorite music. For her, college entry hasn’t drastically changed her outlook on high school. She still greets each school day with motivation and excitement. The last semester of senior year entails IB exams, prom, senior sunset, and graduation, regardless of how early she found out about her acceptance. “You only get one high school experience,” said Vallery. “I plan to make the most of mine with all the time I have left.”