In Defense of Decision Day


Brandon Woods

Seniors pose for a photo wearing apparel from their respective colleges.

Since time immemorial (by which I mean since I can remember, but four years is a long time, right?), Decision Day has been a much-anticipated tradition at Latin. Seniors get to wear their college merch if they choose, and it’s traditionally a feel-good day with plenty of picture-taking throughout. It is the culmination of years of hard work for seniors, and a celebration of what we’ve ultimately been working toward for our whole high school career. So please, please let us have it. It’s been the light at the end of the very arduous tunnel that is the college process.

It would be one thing if I wanted to have this day to gloat, and I know there is concern that’s what Decision Day is being used for, but I simply don’t! I want to have dedicated time to congratulate my peers, and bask in the unexpected glory of having gotten into college. ANY college.

Considering Latin’s track record, I guess I should have expected I’d end up somewhere, but I know I speak for many of my classmates when I say that I still can’t quite believe it’s over—how will I get anything done without College Counseling begging me to turn in my month-overdue forms? There are more of those emails coming, right?

The point is, Latin did a good job preparing us to not be sore winners. I’ve been here for 14 years, and I’ve hardly gone a day without some (sometimes extremely contrived) object lesson in navigating situations just like Decision Day gracefully. Hell, I know how to be a good fan, so why not a good college commit?

All I’m saying is, Latin’s going to release us out into the world in barely over a month, so it seems a little late to be getting cold feet about our ability to handle ourselves in possibly tricky situations.

And beyond that, why act like there is anything to be ashamed of on Decision Day? It only reinforces the unbelievably pernicious idea that only certain colleges are “good enough.” It never once occurred to me to judge others based on where they’re going, so I don’t really get where the wariness is coming from.

So maybe another concern is around the fact of waitlists. I am well aware that this is an especially prominent concern this year, but so is the entire grade! I remember a few of last year’s seniors who got off of waitlists after May 1, and it caused no problems. A few people went to different schools than they’d thought, but that didn’t change how happy I was for them! Because on Decision Day, for once it isn’t about the school! It’s about permission to stop and breathe and look back at the ground we’ve covered, and say: We. Did. That. No one can take that away from us, however the process turned out.

And if the process doesn’t turn out as hoped, I understand that college decision season can be a difficult time, and people can be disappointed in their outcomes. That being said, it would be no more than a delusion to believe that Decision Day is when the shelter of not knowing about others’ decisions suddenly comes crashing down. We know where other people are going: We’ve seen the (wonderful) Latin Decisions Instagram account. And you know what? In the trial run of Decision Day that is the comments section of each post, we showed that we are perfectly capable of unenvious, uncomplicated pride in one another. Every single comment is wonderfully supportive, and makes each post a pleasure to see.

So more than anything, we want the freedom to be proud! When else do we have both permission and occasion for such uncomplicated joy and pride in shared achievements? So this is my plea: Encourage us to take advantage of this time, and, in our last moments with these old friends, let us make one more beautiful memory.