College in an instant: Instant Decision Day simplifies college application, acceptance

College application procedures can be lengthy, confusing and overwhelming, but a Georgia Gwinnett College (GGC) initiative is simplifying the process. 

Instead of processing admissions applications and related paperwork at GGC, college personnel traveled to schools in the Atlanta Metro area to offer Instant Decision Days to high school seniors. The events allow college hopefuls to meet with GGC’s admissions counselors, who help them fill out GGC application forms and evaluate their transcripts. Students who meet GPA requirements are provided an instant admissions decision on the spot.

Duluth High School senior Jose Geizzelez Urbina was cautiously optimistic. As he waited for GGC counselors to render an admissions decision, the 17-year-old Duluth resident was doing his best to stay calm. 

A few minutes later, Geizzelez Urbina received the news he was waiting to hear. He was in.

“I can’t believe it. It’s so unexpected, but I couldn’t be more thankful,” he said as the GGC admissions counselor shared the good news. “I can’t wait to see what comes next.”

The news was important to Geizzelez Urbina, who will be the first in his family to study in a U.S. college. He said he wants to study electrical engineering and has plans to help his family in Venezuela once he graduates and begins his career. 

Mitzie Mejia, 18, of Duluth wants to secure a good job in the finance industry. She said a friend who has attended GGC for the past two years suggested she check out the school, which offers courses of study to help Mejia achieve her goal. So, Mejia didn’t apply to any other college. She just wanted to go to GGC. Shortly after she submitted her paperwork to the GGC admissions counselor, a decision was rendered. Mejia smiled broadly as the counselor congratulated her.

“I’m very happy, excited and ready for the fall,” she said.

John Cash, GGC’s assistant director of admissions, said the atmosphere at all the Instant Decision Days have been exciting and inspiring. He said many students with whom he interacted didn’t appear to feel confident that they could go to college until they attended the event. 

“It’s a great chance to work with students, help them through the process and help them see their future,” he said. “Students at these events are always excited and ready. They’re even more excited when they leave.”

Along with excitement, Duluth High School college and career counselor Mary Catherine Smoke said she also sees hope, particularly for students completing the last stretch of the 12th grade while hoping to pursue higher education. 

“Especially right now when we’re in crunch time, they’ve just been very hopeful and excited about the opportunity to be able to apply to college and get that acceptance,” she said. “It’s been really great to watch them see that acceptance for the first time and hear those words.”

Nearly 400 students have been accepted to GGC during Instant Decision Days this spring. 

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