“Congratulations! You’ve been accepted!” These are the words that many seniors were excited to hear on November 29th when Nutley High School held its annual Instant Decision Day. Every year, Nutley High School seniors have the opportunity to hear instant college decisions, which makes this day one of the most exciting on campus.
This year, Nutley High School partnered with 12 colleges, universities and a trade school. Bloomfield College, Caldwell University, Eastwick College, Fairleigh Dickinson University, Felician College, Johnson & Wales, Kean University, New Jersey City University, NJIT, St. Peter’s University, Seton Hall University, and William Paterson University all took part in Instant Decision Day.
Instant Decision Day began about 15 years ago when a former school counselor attended a roundtable discussion where School Counselors from other school districts talked about the success of this event at their own schools. Since this event was brought to Nutley High School, it has the been the highlight of many students’ college search.
To carry out this event, the School Counseling Office begins planning in the summer. They contact admission representatives that the school has worked with before. From there, the representatives give the criteria the students must meet for interview consideration. Once all the details have been confirmed, the School Counseling Office holds a lunchtime information session with perspective seniors to discuss the application process and criteria. From there, each student must meet the registration deadline so the counselors can prepare their individual folders with school-specific information. Prior to Instant Decision Day, the School Counseling Office works to waive application fees with the participating schools so the event is more affordable to students. This year, 10 of the 12 schools provided fee waivers.
As for the students, there was an overwhelming feeling of excitement. Senior Phil Baranowski, who applied to NJIT, jumped at the chance to participate. “I first looked at what colleges were present and if any were good for my specific major,” said Baranowski when asked how he decided to take part in Instant Decision Day. “Seeing that NJIT was there, and being a school I was really interested in, I saw it as an opportunity to get the admissions process for one of my schools over early, knowing if I got in or not.”
He went on to describe how rewarding Instant Decision Day was. “The process has taken some time and obviously it's a big step in life but we've all essentially spent 12 years of our lives preparing for this moment so it's exciting to see the culmination of all the work,” said Baranowski. He was accepted into NJIT with a recommendation for the Honors College.
This same sentiment was felt throughout the 113 students participating. Senior Nina Patel, who applied to Seton Hall and NJIT, was most excited to hear that applying to most of the schools was free. “It’s free and I would get an instant decision so I wouldn't have to wait,” said Patel. The energy and excitement she had during her interview was felt by the admissions representative as she was accepted to both Seton Hall and NJIT.
Lead Counselor at NHS, Ms. Gerckens echoed the excitement felt by the students. Her favorite part of the day was, “working with students who might not have applied or gone to college otherwise that are now able to because of this program. It can change their lives moving forward.”
Senior Eric Palomino, who was accepted to Seton Hall, summed up Instant Decision Day best when he said, “I loved the simplicity of Instant Decision Day. With the ability of getting an answer right on the spot, it was honestly a highlight in my journey toward college.” Overall, it was successful day at Nutley High School, not one that many students will soon forget.