Admitted Students Notified in Surprise School Events

Confetti flew as college officials surprised 11 Austin Preparatory School seniors Dec. 15 with the announcement that they were admitted to Merrimack's class of 2021.

The students were among those who earned highly coveted early-action and early-decision acceptances to Merrimack for next fall.

“This is cool,” said Sean Conroy, of Reading, Massachusetts. “This is the first college I’ve heard back from.”

Vice President for Enrollment Management and Retention David Hautanen also surprised 14 students at North Andover High School and 17 at Andover High School with news they had been admitted.

Overall, 59 percent of students admitted early decision and during the first round of early action are from Massachusetts, 25 percent from New England, 10 percent from Mid-Atlantic states and 6 percent from other parts of the United States and internationally.

Twenty-two percent of the students were admitted to the Girard School of Business, 35 percent to the School of Science and Engineering, 28 percent to the School of Liberal Arts and 15 percent to the School of Education and Social Policy.

Austin Prep is a member of the Augustinian Secondary Education Association with Merrimack, said Headmaster Jim Hickey. Thursday was the first time he’s seen any college visit the campus to deliver admission news.

“I think it was unique,” Hickey said. “I’ve never encountered it before.”

Officials called the high school students into meetings “with the ruse that there was a problem with their applications that needed to be worked out,” said Associate Vice President for Admission Darren Conine.

“In the end, it was exciting surprise for all the students,” he said. “It is especially meaningful for our admission staff to take part in this experience with the students and to share their happiness.”

Students who met other specific qualifications were admitted to the honors program, Compass Program, Promise Program and the iTEC summer bridge program.

Early-action and early-decision applications have earlier deadlines than the normal admissions process does, and earlier notifications of acceptance. Early-decision applicants must attend the institution, if accepted; early-action applicants do not have to make such a commitment.

Merrimack’s second early-action deadline is Jan. 15, 2017. Regular-decision deadline is Feb. 15.