NUTLEY, NJ - “Congratulations, you’ve been accepted.”  This is the phrase that spread smiles across 108 Nutley High School seniors faces on Thursday, November 30, 2017.  

As seniors frantically scramble to apply to college, Instant Decision Day gave much needed sighs of  relief to members of the senior class.  Bloomfield College, Caldwell University, Eastwick Colleges, Fairleigh Dickinson University, Felician College, Johnson & Wales University, Kean University, New Jersey City University, New Jersey Institute of Technology, Seton Hall University, Saint Peter's University, and William Paterson University were contributors to the 267 confidence boosters provided that day to students, in the form of college acceptances.  On top of this, students were met with a whopping total of $2,838,754 in freshman year scholarships, which were renewable over the students’ four years if they maintain a certain GPA specified by the college/university.  One student was offered, in total, $94,000 from all the colleges and universities. Many students’ totals were in the $20,000 to $30,000 range of scholarships. Quite a few were offered upwards of $50,000.

Held annually, the event was planned by the Director of Guidance, Mrs. Jill Divilio, as well as other NHS school counselors over the summer.  They contacted colleges and universities immediately, due to the changing application processes and procedures and the establishment of minimum GPA and SAT/ACT scores. 

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The counselors wasted no time planning other events for preparation for this day.  In October, school counselors held an information session on the event and discussed the application process and deadlines with seniors during the common lunch.

In addition, a Lunch and Learn was held for seniors to prepare for interviews and hone their skills. The event was spearheaded by school counselors, Mrs. Sherrie Tolve and Ms. Victoria Paino, and was held during the common lunch period. Next year, the counselors plan on expanding this event to add more sessions.

To the counselors, Instant Decision Day is something they look forward to all year.  One of Nutley’s counselors, Dr. Kathryn Mitchell, said, “Instant Decision Day is one of my favorite days in the Counseling Department. The excitement, the joy, and the positive energy as seniors meet individually with college reps to interview and get an ‘on the spot’ admit decision makes this the best day ever.” 

            Students crowded the School Counseling Office throughout the school day on November 30th.  Seniors were issued appointment times and were instructed to dress to impress admission counselors.  If a senior  met score requirements they were granted appointments to schools of their choosing.  Senior Sean Mac Donald, who applied to Caldwell University, described the feelings of many seniors that day saying, “It was certainly nerve wracking. It is crazy to think how fast time has flown by, because here we are taking the first steps to our futures.”

Students were granted 279 interview appointments.  “Even though I am only keeping my options open by participating, getting in to one college, while you wait for the rest, is one of the most empowering things ever,” Mac Donald said. 

   The day was successful.  At the end of the day, counselors stood proudly as students carried copies of their acceptance letters and college pennants. “It was an amazing day, and our students represented themselves, their families and NHS extremely well,” said Mrs. Divilio. “I am proud of each and every one of them, and I was excited to see them as they walked out of their interviews with smiles on their faces, acceptance letters in hand, and scholarship offers which will help them achieve their post-secondary plans.” 

Nutley seniors will have the confidence moving forward, as they continue through the process of deciding how and where they will spend their next four years. 

Editor's Note: Sean MacDonald is a Nutley High Schools Senior and Journalism student,