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Students who were accepted to the schools they met with were honored with flags in the NHS counseling hall

Nutley High School’s Instant Decision Day From the Eyes of the Students

On December 2nd, Nutley High School hosted an event called, “Instant Decision Day” annually where seniors get to meet directly with select schools and get an acceptance statement on the spot. This year, students met virtually with college counselors and were able to at minimum, walk away with more knowledge of the college process or at maximum, run away with a full-ride scholarship to said school. The participating colleges this year were Caldwell University, Fairleigh Dickinson University, The New Jersey Institute of Technology, Seton Hall University, Stockton University, and William Paterson University. Students Ryan Gencarelli and Shyan Williams were interviewed and shared their experiences on Instant Decision Day.


The benefits of Instant Decision Day are endless. For many students, this is their first serious interview and the first of many to come. It teaches them skills they will need for job interviews or any other type of interview they may be a part of. When asked about what this event did for him other than the college aspect, Gencarelli responded, “I was able to better understand the interview process and it was essentially a mock interview for me. I learned how to present myself in the best way possible and was able to learn how to form great questions for the specific schools that were interviewing me.” 


Williams gave a similar answer, however, she put a different spin on it. “It taught me what the real world would be like. This was my first step out into the world and even though I am happy with my results, I was able to realize there is so much that goes into an interview and there is so much more I can work on.”


Real-world experience and interview practice were emphasized heavily by both the students who were interviewed. They both went on to explain how it will help them in their respective fields and what it would do for them for years to come. Furthermore, this question sparked a more in-depth response from Williams. As she elaborates on her earlier statement, she states, “It gave me a sense of confidence knowing I was able to go into these interviews with minimal practice and present myself in a professional way in what could be some of the most vital interviews I take part in.”


Students were able to gain confidence in themselves throughout the event and were left knowing exactly what they could do to enhance their future success possibilities. After sharing the real-world experience they got, they were asked what they had learned about college in general. This seemed to be one of the most productive questions, as participants were able to do some reflection on all their interviews. When asked, Gencarelli explained, “For my specific major, I learned that certain schools offer minors that directly work with my major and allow me to get the best education possible.”


His personal experience allowed him to figure out which schools offer the best specific majors and minors to tend to what he intends to pursue. On the other hand, Williams had a different outlook on things and was able to shine a light on something that many may overlook. “I was able to learn little tips that would help me on any college campus or in my college life in general. I was taught about the programs that were offered and their benefits and I was given insight by certain schools into what life on campus looks like and what would help me get by.”


Williams grouped her interviews all into one when answering this question and was able to take away bits and pieces from each interview she was in. She saw specifics such as tips and what life on campus is like while Gencarelli saw it from an educational standpoint and was able to see how he could put himself in the best possible situation to educate himself in his field. These different perspectives exemplify the importance of Instant Decision Day, as there is so much to take away and gives young students the best chance at obtaining as much knowledge as possible from multiple perspectives.


To wrap up the interview, both students were asked how this impacted their decisions on which college they would attend or what they would do with their near future. Both students took the same approach to this question, as they both saw what scholarship opportunities were available for their specific skill set. To start, Gencarelli said, “I wasn’t aware of the number of different college scholarships that were available to me. I was unsure as to where I wanted to go to school and still am, however, I was able to figure out what scholarships I was eligible for and how to best take advantage of that regardless of where I decide to spend my future.”


Gencarelli explained the scholarship opportunities he discovered and talked about how it will help him narrow down the options when he finally decides which school he will attend. Williams had a similar response, although she expatiated on her experience saying, “I learned a lot of different things that some schools may or may not offer. I was able to get down to the nitty-gritty and will be confident in what I decide to do because I learned so much that will back my decision in the near future.”


This event is one of the most emphasized amongst the senior class each year and rightfully so. Many kids don’t have the opportunity to tour colleges or talk to representatives from schools that are willing to offer them academic scholarships. But this event gives all those students a chance to see what this process is like and at least leave with some knowledge as to what they will do with their future.