By: Joseph Luongo
Campus Sherpa Staff Writer, Harvard University
My college admissions and acceptance process was pretty unique than many other students. I looked at a lot of what people would call “Elite” schools throughout my college touring process. This included the Ivy League, Stanford, Duke, MIT, Georgetown, and so on and so forth. Now this may be a little biased since I’m from Massachusetts, but the second I stepped onto Harvard’s campus it felt like home and I knew that’s where I wanted to be for a number of reasons, but that’s another story.
I liked a lot of schools, narrowing my top five down to Harvard, Duke, Dartmouth, Brown, and Princeton, in that order. But Harvard was my number one by far and I wanted to attend there more than anything. I decided to apply for Restrictive Early Action at Harvard which means you can only apply early to Harvard for a private school, but are allowed to apply to public schools as well. Since I’m from Massachusetts, this meant that I was able to apply to any of the University of Massachusetts schools or any other state schools as well. I started my application over the summer and finished early in August to make sure I had plenty of time before the deadline. With my heart set on Harvard, I decided I was only going to apply and send in an application for there. If I didn’t get admitted, then I would pursue other schools.
For Restrictive Early Action students that standout for one reason or another, such as a person with especially exceptional grades and testing, people with advanced talents in the arts, or like myself, a top recruited varsity athlete, Harvard will sometimes offer a “Likely Letter”. These letters go out to students who the school wants to secure for admission. The letter essentially confirms official acceptance when the other REA letters go out and says that you will be admitted unless you get arrested pretty much.
One day I checked my mail, and I saw a letter from Harvard with my name on it. I was confused because I knew official decisions for REA didn’t come back for a few more weeks. I had just gotten home from practice at the time and I was the only one home. I sat down at my counter and just looked at the envelope. Then, I got nervous and my mind flooded with a thousand different scenarios of why I could have gotten this letter and what might be inside. I thought, perhaps, that my application was so bad they wanted to let me know early to start applying elsewhere and other negative things along those lines. Finally, I took a deep breath and just opened it. To my surprise and excitement, it was a Likely Letter! It congratulated me on my achievements and success and said they would love to have me attend Harvard. I couldn’t believe my eyes and was speechless. I gathered myself and then immediately called my mom at work who started crying at the front desk of the hair salon she works at. Then I called my dad who started crying in the business meeting he was in. The same for all four of my grandparents, crying tears of joy. Then my two best friends, who couldn’t stop screaming and congratulating me. It was a pretty awesome and memorable day.
People often ask me what schools I looked at and how many I got into. They’re usually pretty surprised when I tell them I only got into one school. That’s when I tell them I was one for one which has become a running joke for my friends and family. When the official acceptance came out, they sent an email to a link that lets us accept or decline their offer of admissions. I clicked the accept button quicker than any race I’ve run in track. And I don’t regret it one bit.