How do we announce college decisions?

Browne: The college admissions process is many things: exciting, personal, overwhelming, time-consuming, and the list goes on. But as seniors navigate their journeys, they ultimately reach the long-anticipated gratification of committing to a school and making their final decision. When the time finally comes, there are so many ways to celebrate this great achievement and share the news with loved ones and peers.

Every year, the college counseling department sets out materials for students to create banners to celebrate their commitments and share their college decisions with the community. Since the pandemic hit in 2020 and students were unable to post their decisions publicly on the bulletin board at school, seniors started creating online decision pages to celebrate the senior class’s commitments. This year, the spaclassof2023 decisions page hit Instagram on August 14th and posts have been trickling in since early November. I’m Ali Browne and let’s hear from seniors Heidi Deuel and Jack O’Brien about their choices to post their decisions publicly and how they have shared the news with others.

How did you feel when you found out that the decision page for the class of 2023 was already on Instagram?

Deuel: It kind of made it really real and like oh my gosh it’s happening so fast, and I was like oh gosh it’s gonna be this whole thing where we can find out who is going where.

O’Brien: I just got excited, and I was like “Oh hype, I forgot about this.”

Browne: When did you make your college decision?

Deuel: Well, I applied early decision, and so I found out early November.

O’Brien: I applied to four schools, 3 schools, before W&L. Actually, I applied to like 10 schools, but I had to revoke a lot of them and I made mine in Early January.

Every year, the college counseling department provides materials for students to create banners to be posted on the college counseling bulletin board. (Ali Browne)

Browne: Did you wait to open your decision until you were ready or in a certain environment, or did you open it as soon as you knew it was released?

Deuel: I waited to open it with Sarah, and then I told my parents after.

O’Brien: I was shoveling and so, I was out working, and then I realized “Oh it’s time” and then I just opened it there.

Browne: Who did you share the news with first, and how did you tell your family?

Deuel: The second I got the email I told everyone and I just like told them but then to tell the rest of my family because like the whole family as been to St. Olaf, they like did this video where they put on like all their St. Olaf merch and like introduced “the new Ole” or whatever and like showed me. It was really cute, and I immediately posted on the Instagram because I was just so excited about it.

O’Brien: Because I was out, I called my dad because he went to my school, and then I called my grandma and then my mom, so I just called people. And then day of, I pretty much [posted] immediately, and I was like “I got in” and then filled out the form, so it was pretty fast.

Browne: Why did you decide to share your college decision in the way that you did?

Deuel: I was just really proud, I was like “yeah I got in to college.” I like wanted my peers to know that I did it and that I’m like excited about my decision.

O’Brien: I was just hyped. I was like, “Oh yeah, I’m done!” I was just excited, and it’s fun to share something like that with a bunch of your friends, and that’s like the way to do it. It’s cool to get recognition for it too because people are like “Hey, congrats” and I’m like “Oh, thank you.” So it’s rewarding at the same time.

Browne: At a school like SPA where there is heightened academic pressure and a culture within students around prestige when it comes to college, do you think there are any downsides to having a public platform to declare your college decisions?

Deuel: Yeah, I can definitely see that. I never had to deal with it because of that, but I would understand if people were really starting to make a decision, especially like when it just came out or something, and people knew immediately then they’d be like I should already know like I need to be posting now so that’d be interesting.

O’Brien: I can see that, but I don’t think that we should just not do the Instagram because of it. I think that it’s more informative than anything else and maybe this is just because I didn’t have to deal with that pressure of everybody knowing before I did but like when people were posting after they got their EDs, I wasn’t like “Oh god I need to know where I’m going.” It was more just like an “Oh that’s awesome, good for them.” So, I don’t think anything should be done to change it, and I like the way that it’s done. I mean, not everybody has to post on it. Like I know people have gotten into college, and they’re like “eh I don’t feel like posting” so it’s totally like up to that person to decide what they want to do, and they don’t have to pay attention to it if they don’t want.

Browne: What has it been like watching others go through the process and having made your decision before the final deadline?

Deuel: I mean it was really nice finding out really early because then like people were still even applying after I already found out, and I was like “Man I don’t have that stress anymore like I’m sorry guys.” But then I was always like waiting to see if someone would come with me or something, so that’s interesting.

O’Brien: I think it was more like how it would be seen with grades. So I would say that I was stressed out about a test and then people would be like “You’re already into college, it doesn’t matter” but then like to me, I still obviously want to do better, and I still want to get at least decent grades so that was kind of the main difference, but it was nice that I didn’t have that load and I could do things that I actually wanted to do instead of working on college applications which I had done all year.

As the May first deadline approaches and more students continue to contemplate their choices, it’s important to keep a few things in mind, whether you are a senior or not. Everyone has their own timeline, it’s okay not to know what your plans for the future are, you don’t owe anyone an explanation for your choices, comparison only causes harm, and most of all, everything will work itself out, and you will be able to find what you are looking for wherever you end up. Whether pursuing sports, academics, or a trade after high school, decisions are personal, so if you decide to keep your commitment private or share with others, understand that your path is your own and be proud of yourself for reaching this milestone

Once again, I’m Ali Browne, and thank you for listening to this podcast.

Music Credits:
“Simple and Relaxing Minimal Ambient” Coma Media (
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