Nick Wade was at track practice late one afternoon last week when he found out. The 18-year-old checked his phone and learned that he had made it into the Ivy League.
“One by one,” he said. “I found out I had gotten into my schools.”
Wade is a quadruplet, though, with three brothers on his high school track team who had also applied to Ivy schools. So about that time on Thursday, they were learning their fates, too.
There was Aaron, who was in the locker room when he logged on. And Nigel, who was stretching when his brothers told him to check. Zach was going to wait until practice was over, but his brothers weren’t having it.
“It would have taken like 20 more minutes,” said Zach, whose siblings checked for him. “But they couldn’t wait that long.”
That is how the Wade quadruplets, of Liberty Township, Ohio, learned that all four had been accepted at Harvard and Yale universities — offers that added to a pretty impressive pile of potential college destinations.
“We’re still in shock, honestly,” Aaron said this week. “I don’t think it has sunk in yet.”
“I just felt blessed at that moment,” Nigel said. “It was an unreal feeling, I guess.”
“Honestly, to have one child from a family be accepted to a school like this is amazing,” Zach said. “But for all four to be accepted — I just don’t, I don’t know how it happened.”
Besides Harvard and Yale, the Wade brothers have loads of options for the next four years. Nick got into Duke, Georgetown and Stanford. Aaron is in at Stanford, too. Nigel made the cut with Johns Hopkins and Vanderbilt, and Zach with Cornell.
That list does not cover all the schools that offered them admission. But you get the idea. These seniors at Lakota East High School are in high demand.
“The outcome has shocked us,” Aaron said. “We didn’t go into this thinking, ‘Oh, we’re going to apply to all these schools and get into all of them.’ It wasn’t so much about the prestige or so much about the name as it was — it was important that we each find a school where we think that we’ll thrive and where we think that we’ll contribute.”
The brothers provided The Washington Post with digital copies of official admission letters and notifications they had received.
Harvard said it doesn’t comment on the admission status of prospective students and doesn’t formally track how many students are admitted as twins, triplets, quads or other multiple-birth sets. Yale said in an email that as a policy, the university doesn’t discuss admitted students.
More than 32,000 people applied for Yale’s Class of 2021, according to the university’s website. Of them, 2,272 were admitted. Harvard said 2,056 students were admitted this year out of an applicant pool that exceeded 39,000.
“When we would joke about it,” Aaron said, “it was like, ‘Yeah, I’m going to be the one who gets rejected. You guys all have fun at Harvard.’ ”
This is not the first set of quadruplets that Yale has accepted. A few years ago, Kenny, Martina, Ray and Carol Crouch learned that they had earned early admission slots with the university. All four ended up picking Yale, according to the New York Times.
Darrin Wade, 51, father of this year’s quartet of academic stars, said that when his wife, Kim, was pregnant, the couple were initially told they were having twins. A few weeks later, they learned that was incorrect.
“I remember they were doing an ultrasound, and they said, ‘Mr. Wade, you better sit down.’ I said, ‘What’s going on?’ They said, ‘There’s not two. There’s four,’ ” Wade said. “It was really at that point in time that I tried to figure out how we’re going to pay for school.”
Darrin Wade, who works for General Electric, and his wife, a school principal, have saved some money for their sons’ education. But the father said it’s not enough to cover four sets of full tuition for four years at full price at elite private universities. The mother and father are mindful of their own need for retirement funds, too.
“We have to make sure that we’re helping them down the road by not being a financial burden on them when we get older,” Wade said.
Like some other elite schools, Harvard and Yale pledge to meet the full demonstrated financial need of students they admit.
“Financial aid is going to be a big player in our decision,” Nick said.
Darrin Wade described Aaron as the most artistic of the fraternal quads, and the firstborn. Nick is more “socially conscious,” his father said, and a big reader. Zach has an engineer’s mind, said his dad, while Nigel “is the one that is more apt to read something on how to do something.”
Each of the quads has distinct academic interests, reflecting differences in personalities and goals. Nick is eyeing international relations, Zach engineering and Nigel neuroscience. Aaron wants to study computer science and cognitive science.
It is not clear whether the four brothers will stay together for college or strike out on their own. They have a few weeks to decide.
“We really don’t know. We still have to make those decisions,” Nick said. “We’re just shocked. We still don’t believe that we got in.”