One word, one life changing letter: Congratulations


Natalia Nervi

“The first word I read on my status update was enough to get rid of the anxiety: ‘Congratulations’,” West said.

Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School’s own Henry West desperately needed the reprieve that came with that word on his status update. He applied Early Decision to his top-choice school, and anxiously awaited the results of his application this past December. 

“The entire day felt slow. My decision would come out at 7 p.m., and as I woke up that same day the butterflies never left,” West said. 

As he sat in his virtual classes, his college decision was all he could think about. No math problem or presentation could distract him from what loomed ahead: his future. The tension leading up to 7 p.m. was “nauseating,” he recalls. 

When he opened his status update, though, he was nothing short of ecstatic. The relief he felt knowing that he would be attending his top-choice school in the fall was profound.

Utilizing a university’s early decision deadline means that a student will be required to attend the school they are accepted to and immediately withdraw any applications to other schools. According to West, this is not a decision to be made lightly. 

“Early Decision is a pretty daunting thing for some people,” West said. “If you are hesitating, I suggest not applying early decision but rather early action, where you submit your applications at the same time as early decision but you aren’t required to attend the school if they choose to admit you. This leaves you with the greatest gift of all: choice.”

As for choosing the right university, especially in the age of COVID-19, West found that hours upon hours of research and lots of time deliberating were essential to his decision. Because he was not able to visit the campus in person, going on virtual tours and navigating the university’s website helped West to envision making the campus home for the next four years. However, he does plan on visiting soon. 

“It was almost as if the university and I connected; they had the facilities for me to be the best student I envisaged in myself,” West said. 

Now that he has been accepted, West must shift his mindset to transition from his “high school mind” to his “college mind,” and prepare himself for the mental and physical journey from SPF to college during the coming months. 

“Now that I’m in, there is a lot of mental preparation I have to endure,” West said. “I will most likely not be seeing these faces I have been surrounded by for the last four years. I am going to be in a new environment away from home. It’s a lot to take in, but I think with time I’ll be at peace with it.” 

This college application cycle has certainly been unconventional, to say the least. In such a time of uncertainty, West’s story is proof that despite the challenges, everything will work out in the end. 

Curious to know where Henry West ends up? Look out for more Henry West updates in the final issue. All will be revealed, including the biggest mystery of all: his identity.