Education

9 Atlanta High School Students Do The ‘Unheard Of’: Receive Early Acceptance To Georgia Tech

Nine students at Maynard Jackson High School in Atlanta Public Schools earned early admission to Georgia Tech. Officials surprised them with the news virtually Friday.
Nine students at Maynard Jackson High School in Atlanta Public Schools earned early admission to Georgia Tech. Officials surprised them with the news virtually Friday.
Credit Martha Dalton (screen shot) / WABE

Georgia Tech notified in-state early applicants on Friday whether they’d been accepted to enroll in the fall of 2021. For the first time, the university reserved the early action period for Georgia high school students.

Administrators surprised students at 12 Georgia high schools by setting up virtual events that resembled information sessions so students wouldn’t suspect anything.

At Atlanta’s Maynard Jackson High School, every student who applied early got in.

However, Georgia Tech Senior Admissions Counselor Ellery Kirkconnell tried to throw students off the scent by urging them not to get their hopes up.

“This year from Jackson we had nine students apply early action,” he said. “It’s unheard of that any school of any caliber — whether it’s an independent school or a public school — have all nine students admitted.”

But shortly afterward, Georgia Tech President Angel Cabrera told everyone the news.

“It is my distinct honor to let you know that the nine of you have been accepted to Georgia Tech, the fall class of 2021,” Cabrera said.

There were plenty of smiles, but the students’ microphones were muted, so any squeals of delight were uttered privately. Some students were able to squeeze in a “thank you” to Georgia Tech administrators as they logged off.

Georgia Tech says it accepted just 37% of early in-state applicants this year, compared with 40% last year. Cabrera noted it’s harder to be admitted to the university than it’s ever been.

“I meet with our alumni very often, some of them, older adults … they say, ‘Gosh, I’m glad I got in when I did, it’s getting harder and harder. I may not get in today,’ and I sometimes have to tell them, ‘You’re probably right.’ It’s very, very hard,” Cabrera said.

Students at Jackson have been learning remotely this year, as Atlanta Public Schools has been operating virtually since March. After an unconventional start to their senior year, Jackson Principal Adam Danser sang the praises of all nine students.

“I’m just so proud of them,” Danser said. “Thank you [Georgia Tech officials] for taking the time to do this with them because they deserve it. Nine. This is a big moment for Maynard Jackson High School. Nine early action [applicants and] all nine getting in. It’s amazing.”

A note of disclosure: Maynard Jackson High School is part of the Atlanta Public Schools. The Atlanta Board of Education holds WABE’s broadcast license. 

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