Skip to main content
Natalie Rufino signing day

Update on NHS Seniors

The college admissions process can be stressful for any senior around the world. Two seniors at Nutley High School, Caroline Warburton, and Natalie Rufino share their personal experiences about applying to college. They explain where they are in the process, what their plans are, and how COVID impacted the process. 


Caroline Warburton has applied to many schools, both in and out of New Jersey, and is now waiting to hear back from schools. It is mostly a waiting game. “I am waiting to hear back from one more school, and then I can make my decision,” says Warburton. 


For her, the most stressful part of the college process was “making sure I can represent my capabilities in the best way possible in my applications.” This is the case for many because students only have one shot to impress admissions counselors. 


Natalie Rufino has a different experience. “At first, I was stressed out because I had pictured myself applying to around 11 colleges at once,” says Rufino. Instead of applying to 11 schools, she was recruited by Montclair State University to study exercise science and play division three soccer. The waiting game is over for Rufino as she will attend MSU in the fall. “After being recruited to play for MSU, it was the only application I submitted, making it much less stressful, which I am thankful for,” she said.


COVID-19 has changed the admissions process immensely. Many schools are considering  SAT and ACT test scores optional for student submission and now only focus on each applicant's transcript. This move, taken by colleges, has helped students relax now that they do not have to take those tests which often do not accurately portray the kind of student one is. 


Warburton expressed her thought on how COVID impacted the process. She explained how many schools are again test-optional. “It benefited me because schools were able to not focus so much on a score and more on me as a student.” 


While students may feel relief for no longer needing standardized test scores, COVID has also halted all college tours and open houses. This is typically a vital element in the admissions process, which helps students and their parents get a first-hand feel for how they might fit in at the school. Without these tours, it is often harder for students to make a decision about what school may be right for them.


Rufino explains that her process was not that difficult, but planning visits were tricky. “The colleges offered virtual tours, but it is not the same as being on campus and interacting with students and staff at different schools.” 


Now the next five months are full of scholarships, shopping for dorms, and just having fun. Decisions will be made that will help the senior class relax and enjoy the rest of their time at Nutley High School. 


With these major setbacks, Warburton and Rufino, amongst all other applicants, were able to complete their visits and applications. It took a lot of time and effort but will be worth it in the end. “These are decisions that will impact the rest of my life,” says Warburton.