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‘Still Doesn’t Feel Real’: Class of 2028 Reacts to Harvard Acceptance

Applicants reacted with shock and joy after learning of their admission to Harvard during Ivy Day on Thursday.
Applicants reacted with shock and joy after learning of their admission to Harvard during Ivy Day on Thursday. By Natalie Y. Zhang
By Elyse C. Goncalves and Matan H. Josephy, Crimson Staff Writers

When Eric Li, a senior at Deerfield Academy, opened his Harvard admissions decision, he jumped up, screamed with his friends – and, in the excitement, broke his glasses. Still, Li said, it was all worth it.

“I had to fix it myself with a wrench after, but it’s fine,” he said. “It’s a small price to pay.”

Li, a regular decision applicant originally from Shanghai, was one of 1,245 other applicants who got their acceptance letters from Harvard last Thursday. The new admits joined the 692 students previously accepted in the early admissions round in December.

A total of 1,937 students were admitted to Harvard’s Class of 2028, representing 3.59 percent of the 54,008 applications the College received in this year’s admissions cycle.

For Silas O. Nwaishienyi, a student from Regis High School in New York City, waiting for his early action decision to come out — huddled over his computer in his room with his parents — “was like waiting for an eternity.”

But opening the application portal to a welcome video felt “surreal,” he said.

“My parents had been there by my side throughout the entirety of my years,” he said. “And so it was super, super emotional.”

James N. Pippin opened his decision 15 minutes late, just after a four-mile walk from work to his home in Berlin, Germany, where he is stationed for the U.S. Military.

Pippin said he was shocked when he saw “congratulations” pop onto the screen.

“I just collapsed on the ground,” Pippin said. “It was enough to make me cry, for sure.”

Clockwise from top left: Eric Li, James N. Pippin, Henry D. Pahlow, Annika N. Krovi, Kaine A. Bivens, Mason J. Holmes, Skylar A. Christoffersen, and Silas O. Nwaishienyi.
Clockwise from top left: Eric Li, James N. Pippin, Henry D. Pahlow, Annika N. Krovi, Kaine A. Bivens, Mason J. Holmes, Skylar A. Christoffersen, and Silas O. Nwaishienyi. By Elyse C. Goncalves

Skylar A. Christoffersen, a student from San Francisco, was also emotional when opening her decision on a FaceTime call with her parents.

“I was just so shocked that I started immediately crying,” Christofferson said. “I was just kind of in shock for a really long time. It didn’t sink in for like an hour after, because I really didn't expect that.”

Henry D. Pahlow, a newly admitted student from Maribel, Wisconsin, said his dad took him to get ice cream immediately before opening his decision to calm him down.

“It was the most nervous I’ve ever been,” Pahlow said.

But when he opened the letter and saw digital confetti flying across his screen, he and his parents jumped out of their chairs, screaming with excitement.

“I didn’t film it,” Pahlow said. “I kind of just wanted it to be special in my memory, but it was one of the coolest feelings I’ve ever had.”

Mason J. Holmes, a student from Haverhill, Massachusetts, waited for his parents to get home before opening his Harvard decision.

“I don’t think I even read the letter, all I saw was the confetti,” he said. “I jumped up and ran away, because I was so freaked out.”

“My mom was the one who read it,” Holmes added.

After getting in, Holmes called several of his friends to tell them the good news.

“They all knew that I was receiving my decision that night, so they were like, you need to let me know right away,” he said.

Pahlow said he felt a similar level of elation and support from his mentor, a current Harvard student in the Class of 2025 who was also an army infantryman.

“I called him immediately,” Pahlow said. “He said he never doubted me, so I guess he wasn’t really shocked.”

“He was over the moon with me,” he added.

Annika N. Krovi, a student from Greenville, South Carolina, applied and was admitted to Harvard under its early action program. Krovi said she is excited to meet other admitted students at Visitas April 14-15, the two-day event held for admitted students every year.

“Nothing replaces getting a chance to be on campus and speak to people in person,” Krovi said.

Kaine A. Bivens, an admitted student from Fort Worth, Texas, said he is excited to get the chance to spend time in Cambridge during Visitas.

“I’m excited to go and see the campus for the first time, and see some of my other admitted students,” he said.

Even several days after opening the acceptance letter on Ivy Day, Li said he still felt shocked that he got in.

“It just felt really, really, really sweet inside,” he said. “I still can’t believe that it happened.”

—Staff writer Elyse C. Goncalves can be reached at elyse.goncalves@thecrimson.com. Follow her on X @e1ysegoncalves or on Threads @elyse.goncalves.

—Staff writer Matan H. Josephy can be reached matan.josephy@thecrimson.com. Follow him on X @matanjosephy.

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