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 out 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," Zach said, who said the 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."
The Post reviewed screenshots of admission notifications and copies of letters the Wades received to confirm their authenticity.
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 Wade 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."
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 admitted. 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 was 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' educations. But the father said it's not enough to fully fund four sets of 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 a number of other elite schools, Harvard and Yale pledge to meet the full demonstrated financial need of the students they admit.
This school year, Yale charges more than $64,000 for tuition, fees, room and board, (before taking into account financial aid). The comparable price at Harvard is about $63,000.
"Financial aid is going to be a big player in our decision," Nick Wade said.
Here are a few notes on the boys from the father.
Aaron is the most artistic of the bunch, and the father described him as comfortable in his own skin. He was the first born of the fraternal quadruplets.
"Aaron has classic first-child syndrome," he said. "He's a minute older than his brothers, two minutes older than everybody else, maybe. And he's a classic first child."
Nick is more "socially conscious," the father said, and a big reader. Zach Wade has an engineer's mind, said his father, while Nigel "is the one that is more apt to read something on how to do something."
Each of the Wade quads has distinct academic interests, reflecting the differences in their personalities and goals. Nick plans to double major in international relations and economics, while Zach sees a future in engineering. Nigel is interested in neuroscience. Aaron wants to study computer science and cognitive science.
It is not yet clear if the four brothers will stay together for their college years 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 Wade said. "We're just shocked. We still don't believe that we got in."