When she went to check the online admissions portal, though, what she found surprised her.
“I was like, ‘Oh my God,’” Elkadi said. “I screamed very loudly.”
Elkadi was one of 998 students to receive an offer of admission to Harvard College on Wednesday evening.
“It was a very good moment and very surprising and just really incredible. It’s pretty surreal still,” she said. “I don’t think it’s actually sunk in.”
A record-low 4.59 percent of the 42,749 applicants to Harvard College’s Class of 2022 received offers of admission this year. Of those who applied in the regular decision cycle and those who were deferred from the early action cycle, 2.43 percent received offers of admission.
Cathy K. Sun, a high school senior from Irvine, California, was part of that group.
While waiting to check the online portal where admissions decisions were posted at 7 p.m. EST, Sun tried to distract herself by watching a few YouTube videos and unsuccessfully attempting to take a nap.
“I just talked to my friends and we tried to calm each other down, but we were all just shaking,” Sun said, describing the anxiety-filled minutes before decisions were released.
Sun was awaiting decisions from a number of Ivy League schools on Wednesday afternoon, and she saved checking the Harvard decision for last. When she saw the word “congratulations” appear on the computer screen, she and her mother began jumping and screaming together for about five minutes, she said.
“I couldn't believe my eyes and I refreshed that page about 50 times to make sure they didn't send that update to the wrong person,” Sun said. “I texted about everyone I knew, especially the people who helped me out during the whole application process.”
James Garavito, a high school senior from Dover, N.J., learned about his offer of admission several weeks ago after receiving a “likely letter” in February that signified he was a highly likely candidate for admission. The phone call he received from an admissions representative confirming his acceptance was still a welcome surprise and brought tears to his and his parents’ eyes.
“It’s something that I’ve been working towards basically since I was little because I never thought that I’d be able to accomplish something like this,” Garavito said. “I come from Dover, N.J. which is a town that doesn’t really send students to Ivy League schools. Just to have this happen to me, I’m extremely grateful.”
Despite yesterday’s excitement, many students are still deciding on which school they want to attend in the fall. Students have until May 1 to respond to offers of admission. Last year’s matriculation rate reached a record high of 84 percent.
“I haven’t made a definite decision yet, but obviously Harvard is number one right now.” Patrick Monreal, an admitted student from Fresno, Calif., said. “It’s hard to choose other than Harvard.”
Accepted students will have the opportunity to attend Visitas—the College’s weekend of programming for admitted students—which runs from April 21 to April 23.
—Staff writer Delano R. Franklin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @delanofranklin_.
—Staff writer Samuel W. Zwickel can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @samuel_zwickel.