T-D Seniors Speak On College Acceptance

By: Rayaan Ba, Staff Reporter

It’s about that time of year again. After a long four years of work, seniors have started to receive acceptance letters from their chosen colleges. This year, a number of prestigious colleges –including Cornell, Georgia Tech, and Virginia Polytechnic – have accepted T-D seniors.

Seniors Greg Livingstone, Diale Takona, and Gavin Tomlinson were interviewed for their exceptional performance and asked about their personal college journeys.

Q: Where were you accepted? Which was your top choice?

Gavin Tomlinson:

“So far, I have been accepted to a total of four colleges out of my 11 applications. Right now, my options are Stony Brook, Manhattan College, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and Georgia Tech. Of these four, my top choice would be Georgia Tech, but out of my 11, my top choice is either Worcester Polytechnic Institute or Cornell University.”

Diale Takona:

“I’ve received acceptances from USC (University of Southern California), Virginia Polytechnic Institute, Syracuse [University], Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and Pratt Institute. Of these, my favored choice is Virginia Polytechnic.”

Greg Livingstone:

“I was accepted to Cornell University’s School of Engineering through Early Decision, meaning that I received my acceptance before most other colleges sent them and if accepted, I have to go to that school.  It was my top choice because of the Engineering School’s ‘build teams’ where students can work together and accomplish impressive projects, as well as simply wanting to see whether I could be accepted to such a good school.”

Q: What was your reaction to your acceptance letters?


“Each acceptance was not a moment of bliss and excitement. Rather, I saw each acceptance as an addition to my options and possibilities for higher education. I did not hold one acceptance higher than the other because I applied to colleges that would aid me regardless to achieving my academic goals.”


“I was definitely excited because I worked hard on my architectural portfolio and the other aspects of my applications for months before the application deadline, and just seeing all that work pay off was very rewarding.”


“I was struck in disbelief. I thought the acceptance notice was some kind of scam! The odds of acceptance were heavily against me. The reality only hit me once I received official mail from Cornell. Afterwards, I didn’t know what to do with myself, because I’d been working on college applications for months previous.”

Q: What advice would you give to other students?


“The best thing to do when apply[ing] to colleges is to prepare in advance, at least a year. As you approach the end of your senior year, you have to completely decide what you will do for the next four years. It’s best to give yourself time to think. In the preparation process, create filters to narrow down the options. Maybe you might start with location, or if you know what you want to do, you can start with college types. You should make your college process as concise and simple as possible, and once you have your options, take the necessary steps to insure your acceptance.”


“I would tell other students to finish their college supplement essays early instead of having to rush to write essays for each and every college they apply to in a few months before the deadline. The essay is really a big part of the application, and they should be worked on and refined.”

Greg :

“When applying for colleges, your Common Application essays are arguably the most important part of your application. A well-written essay can have a heavier impact than even SAT scores. Also, extracurricular activities are important as they show your ambition in the field of study you want to pursue. Finally, keeping a positive attitude and optimistic outlook that anything can happen in this chaotic world.”


For the seniors, this year has been a storm of preparation and work mixed with hope that is now beginning to become reality. As they are rejoicing at the news of their college acceptances, they are especially excited for this next step in their lives. In preparing to move on from Thornton-Donovan School, they seek to pass on a legacy of effort and provide an inspiration to those who follow them.