St. Margaret’s Class of 2021 Has Strong Start to College Admissions Process

The Class of 2021 at St. Margaret’s is off to an impressive start in the college-admissions process, with 76 percent of the class receiving an offer of admission prior to the new year.

In all, St. Margaret’s 98 seniors submitted more than 1,100 early applications, including binding early decision, non-binding early action and rolling decision applications. Seventy-five seniors received offers of admission to 83 colleges and universities before Christmas break, a number well above normal years of early acceptances.  

In an unusual year for college admissions, St. Margaret’s college counseling team—Director Roland Allen, Senior Associate Director Amy Warren and Associate Director Jeff Jablonski—stayed on top of new considerations and guidelines and kept students informed of any altered admission requirements. Some colleges and universities, for example, relaxed testing requirements and shifted to a more holistic application review based on factors like essays, interviews and recommendations.

“Our office encouraged seniors to submit applications early because we did not know exactly how the process would play out with these factors in play,” Mr. Allen said. “Even college admission committees were unsure how applications would be evaluated. Our students took this advice and more than 90 percent submitted early applications. They did a good job and we feel it’s serving them well.”

Of the 98 seniors, 20 students have been admitted as binding early decision applicants. They are set to attend top schools across the country, including Boston University (2), Brown University, Carnegie Mellon University (2), Cornell University, Dartmouth College, Hamilton College, Johns Hopkins University, New York University, Northwestern University, Pitzer College, Rhode Island School of Design, Southern Methodist University, Tufts University, Tulane University, University of Pennsylvania, Washington and Lee University and Williams College. Additional students are awaiting early-decision notifications in the second round.

Nic Jacome applied to Tufts University early decision and was accepted. He spent time reflecting on what he wanted in a college experience, and found Tufts was the one school that met all his qualifications.

“I decided to apply early decision because I already knew exactly where I wanted to go, so it was simply easier to apply early and finish the college application process before second semester starts,” Nic said.

Bryce Chan applied early decision to New York University and was accepted. She plans to play soccer at NYU, and also loved the school’s strong academics and how the campus integrates into the city.

“Seeing people from all walks of life while on my way to class is something that is so appealing to me,” Bryce said.

Jackson Adelman also had athletics factor into his decision to apply early-decision to Williams College, where he plans to run cross country and track. He visited several colleges in the northeast before the pandemic closed schools, including Williams.

“I am particularly interested in physics and math but also appreciate the flexibility to take courses in other subject areas,” Jackson said. “The setting is fantastic and provides easy access to outdoor activities I enjoy.” 

In addition to the early-decision applicants, St. Margaret’s students have received non-binding acceptance letters from schools like Stanford University, University of Chicago, Yale University, Pennsylvania State University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Kaelyn Dunnell was accepted to MIT early action, and she plans to attend this fall. She had several conversations with St. Margaret’s college counselors that helped her zero in on her eventual college choice.

“In addition to reading my essays, overall applications, and responding to emails at all times, they also provided so much reassurance and support during my journey,” Kaelyn said. “They helped me determine what parts of a college were most important to me early on in the process, which was instrumental in my decision to attend MIT. It was because of their help that I knew choosing MIT was the right decision.”

The college application process has been unlike any other this year, as the global pandemic has caused unforeseen shifts in the landscape and paused traditional touchpoints like college representative visits to St. Margaret’s. The College Counseling Office at St. Margaret’s adjusted by designing “Lunch with Admissions” information sessions, where admission officers from schools like the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, The University of Chicago, the University of Southern California and the University of Michigan participated remotely and covered topics such as holistic college admission, the college interview, essay writing and building an application list.

The college admissions process is ongoing, as some early applications are still awaiting a response. Admissions decisions will continue to roll in until April, with Class of 2021 students making their final commitment by May 1.
An independent preschool through grade 12 college-preparatory day school in Orange County, California
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