High School Seniors React to Good News From Harvard

Connor P. McKnight was 30,000 feet above the ground with his cell phone off when an email arrived in his inbox offering him a spot in Harvard College’s Class of 2016.

En route to the admitted students visiting weekend at the College of William and Mary, it was not until he touched down on the tarmac in Williamsburg, Va. that he turned on his phone and glanced at his unread messages.

“I checked my email and there it was,” he said. “It’s like all this hard work has finally paid off and it’s exhilarating.”

McKnight had not even called his parents to give them the good news at the time of the interview.

Many of the 1,260 students who received offers of admissions shared McKnight’s feelings of elation.

Rather than opening his email notification immediately at 5 p.m., Robert T. Fitzpatrick of Boston elected to wait until he was at home, away from his friends.

“I didn’t believe it really,” Fitzpatrick said of the email notification from Harvard.

Still skeptical, Fitzpatrick logged on to the portal for accepted students on the admissions office’s website. Fitzpatrick said he only believed his good luck when the portal opened and the music started playing.

Fitzpatrick, whose brother James P. Fitzpatrick ’12 is president of the Hasting Pudding Theatricals, said he was also accepted at Brown, but will probably attend Harvard.

Jason F. Friedman of Atlanta, GA was taking a five minute break from play rehearsal when he checked his phone and saw the email from Harvard.

“I was just shocked when I opened my email,” he said. “My heart definitely skipped a beat.”

Although Friedman’s email from Harvard arrived right at 5 p.m., he said he was unable to log on to Yale’s notification portal until after 6 p.m.

Friedman said he is waiting to hear about financial aid at Harvard before making his decision. The University of Georgia, where he has received a full scholarship, is among the schools he is considering.

At 5 p.m., Rory O’Reilly of Elmont, N.Y. said he was lying on his bed playing upbeat music and refreshing the admission’s office portal repeatedly, waiting for the email.

When asked what he liked about Harvard, O’Reilly said, “It’s kind of like Hogwarts, you know.”

—Staff writer Elizabeth Auritt can be reached at


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