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A Review of Early Decision

Your heart couldn’t beat any faster if you had just run a half-marathon. Clammy sweat pools in your palms, your breathing is ragged, and somehow the hovering presence of your parents adds to your anxiety, instead of being a comfort. The seconds before you open that letter are loaded with tension; this letter will decide your future. The pressure is compounded by the fact that you decided to reach for Early Decision; your heart and soul were poured out into that application and a rejection would be more than your frail body could take.

My dad couldn’t even be in the same room when I opened it. He knew how much I wanted it. Everyone within six degrees of separation from me knew how badly I wanted to be a Davidson Wildcat. I hadn’t applied anywhere else (though this decision was more one of strategy than anything; I knew I would find out the results of my Davidson application before any other school’s applications were due for regular admission). I wanted it so badly that I couldn’t imagine a scenario in which my college experience would occur at any other institution.

When I read the word “Congratulations” I emitted a blood-curdling scream that lasted all of about five minutes. I pranced around the house, my mom following in my shadow. I think she cried. My dad didn’t know what to do with himself so he went outside. So many late nights had been spent with them rereading my application; this had been a group effort, and all our labors had come to fruition.

Others, however, were not so fortunate. My best friend here at school got deferred from Early Decision, but got in during regular admission. She told me that the day she read her letter she cried for hours. At work that day, she wept when a customer asked her about her college plans.

One of my biggest worries about applying early decision was that because I was used to Davidson – my older brother also went here – I had somehow fooled myself into thinking that I liked it, and that when I got here I wouldn’t fit in. I would say I got lucky; I had a great support team comprised of my brother and his friends that made the transition to college easier than it was for a lot of people. College is hard, academically and emotionally; I was thankful that I knew where things were already, and that I had some people who would smile and say hello to me on campus. Davidson turned out to be one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. This is exactly where I need to be, with the people I need to be with.

My brother is now gone, and I have to figure things out on my own. There are still friendly faces, though most of those are the friends I have made during my time here, not his. I often find myself wondering about the fact that somehow, some grand design came together to put all of these people in the same tiny spot in North Carolina in 2016. I find it odd, though thrilling, that I grew up for 18 years before I met the people I now call my best friends. You don’t have to believe in anything in order to think about that and agree that a rational response is simply not satisfactory for this phenomenon; you can find your own meaning, but I believe that college is one of those “happens-for-a-reason” types of things. There is a reason why we’re all here.

I find it important to remember that the admissions offices at every school work very hard to create the best class of students for the school’s environment. College applications seem so much like a numbers game, and to some extent they are; but if you didn’t get in, it doesn’t mean you’re not good enough, it just means you weren’t the right fit. And that’s not your fault. You will go to the place you were meant to go. You will make friends that will last a lifetime. It may seem like the end of the world now, but it’s really just the beginning of a whole new universe.

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