This December, students from all over the country and all over the world, celebrated not only the well deserved winter break, but also their acceptances into some of the country’s top schools.

Emily L. Woolway, an early admit to the Harvard Class of 2018, was nervous all day on December 13, when the admissions decisions were scheduled to be sent out. Woolway attended her English class that morning, but then went home soon after because she was anxious. Woolway said that the application process had been hard for her, and the nerves were building as she waited to receive the email.

It wasn’t until a friend texted her to ask if she had gotten in that Woolway checked her email and saw the acceptance. She then called both her dad, a Harvard alumni, and her brother, a current Harvard student, to tell them the good news.

Early admits to Dartmouth, University of Pennsylvania, Brown, Columbia and Cornell, which all have an Early Decision round, also received their admissions results early this December.

“It’s one of the best feelings I’ve had in high school,” said Daniel J. Widawsky, an early admit to the Dartmouth Class of 2018.

Dartmouth, like many other colleges, had students log onto the website that displayed their application status. On Sunday, December 8, the school sent out an email telling students that admissions decisions would be posted on Wednesday, December 11 at 4:00 p.m..

Widawsky, who had been preparing himself for a rejection, got home from school at 3:50 p.m. like he did every other day. He took a shower, and logged on to the applicant portal using his username and password. Instead of information about whether or not the school had received the different parts of his application, the website displayed the admissions decision telling Widawsky that he had been accepted to Dartmouth.

“I was shocked and speechless,” said Widawsky, noting that it wasn’t until he ran into his mother’s room to tell her that he had been accepted that Widawsky truly began to feel excited, which came primarily from his mother’s own excitement at the news.

“She screamed,” said Widawsky, laughing.

Students said that sharing the news of a college acceptance was one of the best parts of receiving an offer of admissions. Jacob H. Stern, an early admit to the University of Pennsylvania, said that his acceptance to University of Pennsylvania came after many days of watching friends receive acceptances from other schools; it was one of the last schools to release its admissions decisions.

On Monday December 16, at 5 p.m., Stern logged into the student portal while sitting alone in his room. At first, Stern was disappointed. Unlike the acceptance notifications many of his friends had received, he saw no “Congratulations!” Instead, a “Hurrah hurrah!” appeared on the screen. Then music and a video of students talking began to play, congratulating him on his acceptance.

Stern decided to share the good news with his parents in a different way.

“I grabbed my only Penn shirt that I had, put it on, and then walked out [of my room]. They knew then,” he said.