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Video Wednesday

September 7, 2010, 03:17 PM ET

Among Dozens of Womb Mates, Only 2 Roommates

twins
St. Norbert College

When Jared and Katelyn Dvorsky received their admissions decisions from the University of Dayton last spring, they hid them. The letter for their sister and fellow triplet, Courtney, hadn’t arrived in the mail yet.

They didn’t have to wait long. Courtney’s came within days, and the threesome opened their letters together. All three were admitted to Dayton and chose to attend—following in the footsteps of their parents, who met as undergraduates there.

The Dvorskys are among three sets of triplets in Dayton’s freshman class this year. The others have their own ties to the Ohio institution: The Avila-John triplets’ mother, Karin, is an academic coordinator at Dayton, and the Pontarelli children’s mother, Alison, is a Dayton alum.

Not to be outdone, a different Catholic institution in the Midwest—St. Norbert College, in De Pere, Wis.—boasts eight sets of twins and three-quarters of a set of quadruplets in its Class of 2014. That adds up to 19 "multiples" in the college’s freshman class (17 of whom are pictured above).

Neither institution admits twins, triplets, or quadruplets as a package deal. "Each student applies independently and is admitted independently," says Bridget K. O’Connor, vice president for enrollment management and communications at St. Norbert.

Most of the twins, triplets, and quadruplets whom The Chronicle interviewed didn’t set out to go to college together, and they are determined to chart their own courses for the next four years. 

For nearly all of the siblings who will be freshmen at the two colleges, sharing a birthday is more than enough. Only Amber and Ashley Saskowski asked to share a room their freshman year at St. Norbert. 

The Saskowski sisters, who grew up playing the same sports and sharing many of the same friends, say they’re each other’s best friends. During St. Norbert’s orientation, they heard other people’s complaints about the roommates they were assigned for the night. That sealed the deal, Ashley says. They wanted to live with each other.

Christopher and Cameron Doran, on the other hand, are living in the same hall at St. Norbert but not the same room. The arrangement suits Cameron perfectly. "I’ve lived with him for 18 years, so ..." He stops. 

For the parents, at least, sending their kids off to study at the same place is easier than organizing drop-offs at multiple colleges. There’s also a "comfort factor" in knowing that their children can rely on one another during their first years away from home, says Trese Dvorsky, the triplets’ mother. Her daughter Courtney echoes that sentiment. Adjusting to college life together, when so much else is new, has brought her closer to her siblings, she says.

Three of the four quadruplets who are attending St. Norbert — Elizabeth, Nicole, and Stephanie Hietpas — would probably agree. But their brother, Michael, is breaking up the set. He started his own college career last week at the University of Wisconsin at Stevens Point. —Sophia Li

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