For many graduating high school seniors, there is nothing quite like the feeling of exhilaration (and relief!) on being accepted into a college or university of their choice. And for college-bound students who have staked their hopes on Early Decision acceptance from a particular place of higher learning, the experience can be even more exciting.
Early decision is a common policy used in college admissions in the U.S. for admitting students to undergraduate programs in which candidates consider a certain institution to be their top choice.
At CMC, as of December 15, the Early Decision I candidates who applied to CMC in the last several months have been notified about admission into the College. A second Early Decision application phase ends January 1, with those applicants to be notified a month later in February.
“CMC’s admission process is intensely holistic,” says Jennifer Sandoval-Dancs, CMC Director of Admission. “Our job as admission officers is to synthesize the applicant’s narrative with the information they provide us to assess their ability to thrive, contribute and be challenged to evolve as individuals and scholars.”
The reasons this year’s chosen students have for picking CMC for Early Decision acceptance are as varied as the students themselves.
“Coming from Connecticut, CMC is completely left field for me,” says Lena Mersereau, who will be coming in from Greenwich Academy in Greenwich, Conn. “In the long college search, I was so happy when I found CMC because it offered everything I was looking for. CMC specializes in the areas I am interested in, and the tight knit community (and California setting) completely drew me in.”
For an “elated” Riley Cantwell, coming from Woodside Priory School in Portola Valley, Calif., CMC was first choice because, in his view, students are not centered on learning solely to pass the next exam, but rather are legitimately interested in building up from the material.
“They come to profound conclusions that do not close doors, but rather they open up the discussion to more complex questions,” he says.
According to Sandoval-Dancs, the application process for Early Decision acceptance at CMC is rather rigorous with the information in the Common Application providing a framework of how the College understands the context of a young person’s life. And, Sandoval-Dancs says, context is everything in the application process.
“We need to understand the context of their life in order to properly evaluate their achievements and challenges,” she says. “It is important that our applicants have excelled in a rigorous curriculum but that’s only part of the evaluation. Their academic record will keep them in the race, but it will not be what pulls them across the finish to admittance. We want to enroll a community of young people who are inspired by their education and life experiences to act; students who are maximizing resources around them and extending their learning process outside of the classroom to improve their communities present compelling cases.”
Mitchell Black, who comes from Packer Collegiate Institute in Brooklyn, N.Y. (and who may follow an Environment, Economics, and Politics [EEP] track of study), seems to fit that bill. “I applied to CMC early decision for two reasons,” he says, “the educational philosophy and the kindness of the students and administration. In my high school experience there have been many occasions when my classes have had theoretical discussions that were not grounded in reality. The practicality of the CMC education makes everything I learn important. Secondly, my interactions with CMC students and administration were remarkably genuine, and everyone I met was shockingly unpretentious.”
Some early deciders will uproot and trek across country – or from points further – to reach CMC; for others, like Jenifer Sayuri Hanki of Huntington Beach, Calif., it will be a quicker commute measured more in minutes than in time zones.
“I chose CMC because not only did my parents meet at CMC/Scripps and get married shortly after graduating, but CMC's loving and all-inclusive atmosphere as well as its academic competitiveness in clubs such as Model United Nations caught my attention since when I was a freshman in high school,” she says.
Whether incoming early deciders choose to explore an EEP track (Hanki and Black), Econ and Finance (Cantwell), languages and religion (Mersereau) or Media Studies (Salonee Goel), that first thrill of learning that they had been accepted to CMC will remain a touchstone for them all their lives.
“I was in absolute shock. I am beyond lucky to have this opportunity,” says Mersereau. “My best friend, my parents and I jumped around the house, screamed and cried – then we went out for ice cream.”
It was much the same for Goel who is coming to CMC from the Hong Kong International School: “I was ecstatic! After the initial euphoria, I was in a happy daze for a while, unable to really process what had happened. My entire family was over the moon. My little brother even made me a cake to celebrate my acceptance.”
Perhaps these two incoming students should get together for dessert, if nothing else!
And let’s hope that after their four-year college careers finish up at CMC, the same ratio of hindsight will mirror the graduation date for all the early deciders who chose and were accepted by CMC into the Class of 2020.