Finish Strong: Early Decision Deadlines
CollegeAdvisor.com presents “Finish Strong: Early Decision Deadlines” in a 60-minute webinar and Q&A with college students and alumni. Our CollegeAdvisor panelist will share their insider perspectives on how to feel confident that you’re submitting the best application you can.
2021-11-01 Finish Strong – Early Decision Deadlines
[00:00:00] Hi, everyone. Welcome to CollegeAdvisor’s webinar on early decision deadlines. To orient everyone with the webinar timing, we’ll start off with a presentation, then answer your questions in a live Q and a on the sidebar. You can download the slides and you can start submitting your questions in the Q and a tab.
Now let’s meet our panel. Hi everyone. My name is Maria and I am a graduate of Harvard class of 2020, where I studied sociology and global health policy. I am currently living in DC, working in government consulting, but my background is in sociology and global health policy. And I was also pre-med. So, um, you’ve, might’ve seen me in other panels relating to, uh, being pre-med at Harvard.
So Hannah, do you want to launch this pool? Yes. So we would love to know what grade you’re in. Um, so we can [00:01:00] get a sense of, uh, who to, who to do this presentation for. I mean, everyone, but who’s specifically.
Okay. It looks like we have, uh, mostly ninth, 10th and 11th graders. That’s awesome. Uh, okay. We have 17%, ninth graders, 33%, 10th graders and 50% 11th graders. I’m going to close out the poll now. Great. So welcome everyone. I’m glad to see that there aren’t very many seniors because at this point it’s your, uh, early admissions, um, deadline.
And. I’m really glad to see a lot of other ninth, 10th and 11th graders getting a headstart on learning more about these deadlines. Um, so our first question here is how are early decision? How has early decision early action restrictive early action, different from one another. [00:02:00] So, if you are in your first years of like high school, um, you might’ve started it, you know, ninth grade, 10th grade, you might’ve already started hearing a couple of these terms already thrown out.
If you’re a junior, you probably already know, um, some of these terms already, but just so that we’re all on equal footing. I wanted to give a bit of a recap about what these definitions are. So early decisions. Uh, there’s three main components, one it’s binding. So that means that if you apply to a school using early decision in your acceptance, You’re committed to attending to that school and you’ll have to withdraw any applications that you may have submitted for regular deadlines at any other schools.
So the second I kind of mentioned it already, but the second thing that categorizes an early decision deadline is that you can only do it for one school. You can’t apply to any other college under early. And then the third is the outcome. If you’re not accepted, you will either be rejected or deferred.
And so [00:03:00] rejected applicants can apply again that year to this school. So if you’re rejected early decision, you can’t reapply in regular. Um, and the applicants you’ll be able to be, uh, reconsidered during the regular admissions period and your fleet. You’re free to apply to other schools, um, as well, because you wouldn’t be applying, you wouldn’t have been admitted under early decision.
You would be reapplying there for a regular decision, which means that you’re able to do that for any other school as well. And so, again, what that means is finding. So if you get in, you have to go, you can only do it to one school. And the outcome is you can either be accepted and then you’d have to, um, withdraw any other applications.
Um, you can be deferred, which means that you didn’t get outright rejected in that round and they will consider you for a regular decision. Or you’ll be rejected and that means that you can’t apply again. Um, and then the deadline for that is, as I mentioned today is an early deadline for [00:04:00] a lot of the seniors who are applying.
So November 1st is usually that deadline or the first week of November. And you’re usually notified of your decision in December. So you’ll know whether you already got in early. Before the January 1st regular deadline or the first week of January. And so for a lot of people, what that means is you, you apply to a school early decision, and you already know you got in in December.
You don’t really have to apply anywhere else, regular decision because you have to go to the school it’s binding. Um, so that’s the first definition. The second one is regarding to early. So early action is non-binding. So that means that if you get in, you’re not bound to attend. Um, you also, it means that you can apply to multiple colleges early action.
Um, and the deadline is usually also in November, like I said, usually November 1st, like today, and you’ll be notified in your district of the school’s decision and decide. So the third one here is restrictive early action. And that’s like a [00:05:00] mix of early action and early decision. So it’s, non-binding just like early action.
If you get in, you don’t have to go. But unlike early action, where you couldn’t apply to multiple schools early action, you are restricted to only applying to one school early, just like early decision. So again, it’s like, it takes a little bit of both of those first two categories that I’m in.
Um, so how can students decide which schools to apply early? So you might be weighing whether you want to apply somewhere early decision or early action. And so when you’re considering those two first, right? Both of these are schools that you’re applying. One is binding early decision and the other is non-binding are early action.
So there are two different extremes of the early application spectrum. And so if you’re applying early decision, it, this, it displays extreme interest in that school because what you’re basically saying is I’m going to, if I get accepted, I’m going to your school. I’m [00:06:00] willing to lay down everything else.
And so it does show extreme interest. Um, it also is, um, One that, so if you’re planning to apply early decision, this has maybe some like a list of questions you should ask yourself, you know, is this the one that you, for sure. One to attend, regardless of what other schools you could possibly be applying to?
Too, if you’re a strong candidate for admission. So you want to apply early decision to a school where you feel like based on, uh, other students that you’ve talked to there, based on, um, some schools don’t have a GPA or standardized test, um, kind of threshold, but for if you’re applying early decision to a school that does just to make sure that your early your GPA and your standardized test scores are, um, or hopefully above whatever.
Standard. They put on their websites and new knowing that you can afford the tuition. Because for example, if you get into the school again, even if another school provides a better financial aid, you may be able to use that to [00:07:00] leverage and to try to save the school will give you more, but you still have to go to whatever school accepted you, early decision.
And so a lot of students sometimes. Decide that they don’t want to apply somewhere early decision if they can’t afford it because they don’t want to get stuck, having to go to the school and having to pay for it. So, um, one way that you can check that out is you can go onto the school’s website and they usually will have a price calculator on their admissions office page.
And so you can get, go there and get an estimate and again, just make sure. For sure. It’s the one you want to attend. You’re a strong candidate and that based on the financial aid, um, price calculator that you can pay for it, or that you have the opportunity. For example, if it’s a school that has like need based financial aid, that they’ll pay for everything and it’s not merit based, which means that you would have to, um, it would be based on your GPA or you would have to compete.
So choosing early action over early decisions. So this is the flip side. If you were th what, um, considerations you should have, if you want to apply somewhere early action [00:08:00] instead of the binding early decision. So the pros of that is that you have the opportunity to apply and allow to apply to lots of different schools and ultimately compare the financial aid packages from them.
So that means one, you don’t have to be bound to going to one school, but two, you also get a chance to get a better understanding of. The different scholarship opportunities at different financial aid that the schools are offering you. And so a lot of students choose to do this instead because they don’t have one school that they absolutely would want to go to.
Regardless of anything, a lot of students, for example, fall into, um, wanting to apply early action to a lot of Ivy league schools or like. Very selective schools. And so it may not really be about one school that you really want to go to, but maybe a tier of schools. And if those schools are eligible for early action, because some aren’t, some will only give you the option to do regular decision or potentially, uh, they all have regular decision, but maybe they don’t have early action as one of the application.
Um, [00:09:00] one of the applications that. That they’re willing to have. Sometimes they have like restrictive early action or they have, um, early decision. And so making sure that if you’re applying to a whole tier of schools, that you would be happy to go to any of those and they offer early action, that is probably the best application to go for.
Um, and again, what that means is that if you’re accepted, um, you don’t have to commit to going to that school and you can really compare the different financial aid packages and choose something that’s the most cost-effective for you. Um, and then restrictive early action. Again, I mentioned that, that borrows a little bit from both early decision early action, and it borrows from early action in that it’s not about.
So it means you don’t have to go, but it borrows from early decision. But in, in that you can only apply to one school. And so the reason why someone might want to do restrictive early action is potentially the school only offers that, right? So if you have only regular decision and then you’re only early, your early application option is restrictive early action.
[00:10:00] You might want to take advantage. If this is a school you really, really want to go to. And so what it does is applying early action, usually displays a strong interest in one school, but not binding you to it. And you still get until May 1st to decide. So you can still compare financial aid packages that you get from your regular decision schools, because you would have known again, you would have all the regular.
If you get in restrictive early action, you don’t have to go in. So you can wait until you get all your regular decisions. Um, results back and then you can compare everything before deciding on may.
So how can students keep on top of their early deadlines? We’ll also working on later deadlines. So just to recap, we kind of talked about three different types of early application, but as I mentioned before, you also have regular decisions to think about. So what that means is you’re kind of in this long-term marathon race with kind of little sprints in between your little sprints being, um, making sure that if you’re applying early, you have all [00:11:00] those, um, All those application requirements met, but also planning for how to not just have like then another like huge sprint between, you know, all the schools that you’re applying regular decision.
And if you don’t start them until after you apply early, then you have a big, um, a big sprint during a time that might be kind of stressful because it’s the end of the year you might have, um, end of semester, um, or end of. Papers tasks, then you also have the holidays. And so it’s really smart to start working on those at different paces, making sure that you’re making deadlines, that will let you meet the early deadlines, but also starting to work on the regular decision so that you’re not stuck doing a lot of these things during the Thanksgiving and the winter holidays.
One way that you can really make sure that you are, um, having a good stable deadline or timeline is to keep a calendar or a spreadsheet with the clear deadlines for the schools that you’re applying to. So if you, again, some schools might have the same [00:12:00] January 1st or November 1st deadline, but some may have different days during those weeks, the first week of November or the first week of January.
And so you want to make sure, you know, what the exact deadlines are, what the, um, requirements are for each school. And so having a calendar or a spreadsheet is really helped. Also, um, something I always recommend to all the students I work with is starting to work on the personal statements first, because this will go on all the schools regardless of, of deadlines.
So it goes for all the schools that are early deadline or regular, uh, early deadlines or regular deadlines. Um, and even though you can change your personal statement after, uh, submitting your early deadlines, um, that essay that you turned in won’t change. So like, if. Draft number three, and you turn that in for your early deadlines and then you need to drop them before that might go for your regular decision.
But the ones that you already turned in will stay the same. And so you want to make sure that you’ve, if you’re applying early summer, Um, again, because you want to show that this is like [00:13:00] the school you’re really interested in that you have the absolute best essay you could write. Um, also keeps you from having to worry about it after the early deadlines.
So I really recommend that students start working on this, um, the summer between their junior and senior years. And so for everyone, who’s on the call that time hasn’t happened yet. And so I would say definitely. To start thinking about, um, with your advisors, the old bright timeline for you. Um, and again, I would definitely try to have that personal statement, multiple rounds of drafting throughout the summer, and definitely having that finalized by early in your senior, um, full or hopefully at the end of the summer before your senior year starts.
Um, also something else that helps students keep on top of those early, um, the regular decision deadlines. Is also just working on outlines for early deadline supplements first and then start building drafts for those. So what I recommend is that students usually will have to like turn in, well, they have to turn in their essays earlier for early deadlines.
And [00:14:00] so you can start building out the drafts for those essays. And as those drafts come up, you might think like, you know, I have to cut X, Y, or Z from those essays because they don’t. Either because they don’t fit in the theme or the concept that you’re trying to tell in the cohesive story or because the word count is too short.
And so you might want to keep those on a notebook or something that you can refer to that you can refer back to so that you can use them for other supplements that you’ll, that you’ll be writing between your early deadline and your regular deadline. So that’s one way to just keep all of that in motion.
Um, and so that you’re not stuck having to deal with all of these supplemental essays for your regular decision after November 1st. Um, so again, that’s just, uh, jotting down any extraneous ideas. I’ll make him up just so that you are continuously in the process of writing essays and I’ll stop here for.
Okay. Yeah, we would love to know a little more about you. So, uh, please let us [00:15:00] know where you are in the college application process.
All right. Uh, answers are starting to come in. So we have quite a few people who haven’t started and are researching schools that makes. Okay. Numbers are starting to, even out. We have 43% who haven’t started. 26% are researching schools, 9% working on their essays, 9% getting their application materials together.
And 13% we’re almost done. Congratulations to Evernote.
Great. So, um, the next question here is what steps should you take in the last weeks before? What, what steps should students take in the lawsuits before they submit their application? So you should definitely make sure you go through the entire common app and ensure that every dropdown has that little green check mark that indicates that [00:16:00] everything is complete.
So as you can, probably, as you probably already know from your common app or what other people might’ve told you is there is a lot of tasks. And tabs within tabs. And so to make sure that the overarching tab is checked off, you have to make sure that all the sub tabs are also checked off. So what I always did is I would go through every single tab and make sure they have the ch the green check mark, and, um, just make, watch out for those little red asterisks that are usually requirements.
And so, um, if you don’t have that all checked out, then you won’t be able to turn it in. So you don’t want to have to face that on the last day before your deadline, uh, Because it’s going to be really stress-inducing. And so you definitely want to check that out before, um, especially go over the activity section with your advisors, just to make sure that the language best showcases your extracurriculars.
Because a lot of times, you know, you just jot down what you did, but the way that you do so can really help. Um, a lot of characters, a lot of character traits about you, especially in terms of leadership, how [00:17:00] impactful it was. Um, and so working with your advisors to really make those, um, description shine can make, can go a long way.
Um, I would also check in with your teachers just to make sure that they’ve submitted recommendations because teachers will probably be, uh, sending recommendations for lots of students in your school. And so you want to make sure that they haven’t forgotten yours, that it’s on their radar, especially. I usually try to get my, I try to reach out to my teachers really early on to ask for them.
And then I would ask like, Hey, like, um, I would just be super honest about wanting to have them in early and ask, Hey, like I’m asking you really early. Is there a possibility that could get them turned in early on because I’m applying early to start in school. And then usually they will, um, usually they’ll say yes, and that they will usually turn them in like a week or two before.
Um, but if it’s the week that you’re supposed to be turning things in and you still haven’t seen those, um, like that check mark on your common app and you definitely want to touch base with them and want to ensure that they’ve [00:18:00] turned them in. Also, you want to make sure that you’ve sent in your standardized test scores, if you want to include those.
And then definitely try to finalize the essays within about five to seven days before the deadline. And you want to add that buffer time because you want to maybe take two or three days to just not think about the essays at all. And just come back in with a clean mindset, read them out loud to yourself and check.
Does this make sense? Is it entertaining? Is this what I want to tell? This is a story I want to tell about myself. Um, and so if you give yourself a bit of that buffer period, you’ll have actual time to not think about the essay, come back with a clear mind and maybe pick up on things that you wouldn’t have otherwise.
And if you really leave it to the last moment, you will have that opportunity. And that could also make a difference between a good essay and agreement.
Um, and then kind of coming closer to the S to the application deadline, what should students be doing like two days before they submit the application? [00:19:00] So my answer says, it just really depends on how complete your application is, you know, hopefully you would just be making sure that all the categories are filled out, giving your SES a last read for grammar and syntax errors, making sure that your payment method is all set.
That’s one that had wanted to highlight because. You do have to pay, unless you have a waiver, you do have to pay for the different applications and you want to make sure that your credit or debit card is working all great. You don’t want to be stuck potentially. You know, some of the money bouncing back or whatnot, that’s actually happened to a student in the past.
And so you want to make sure all your payment methods are. Um, and then just taking a deep breath and clicking or getting ready to click that submit button. Um, like I mentioned, this is the ideal situation. This is where you want to be some students for whatever reasons are really, um, on the day. So like today I definitely met, met with some students who, um, wanted to make some last minute, uh, changes and checks to their essays and whatnot.
And again, that might be totally fine, [00:20:00] but it is more stressful if you leave it up to the lesson. So I’m definitely a big advocate of getting things done early. Um, so what she says do, once they’ve submitted their early applications, so what should seniors be doing tomorrow? Pretty much, or in the days coming.
So some students really benefit from just taking a couple of days to not look to the common app at all, and just come back refreshed to hit the ground running with regular decision applications. So that usually means that. They’ll maybe take your, you still have school and all these things. So it’s not like you just have a vacation necessarily.
If you just take a break from, um, doing college things, uh, college application things, and then you can come back and then. You know, developing more of the essay drafts that you might’ve started before, or some of the, those, um, extraneous ideas I mentioned that you might have gotten from early applications, um, after the, the early applications are submitted, that’s when it’s time to really build those out for the next two months.
Um, others just see it [00:21:00] as a continuation to a sprint set to end at the first week of January. So some people see it as you know, I’d rather not take a couple of days. I think I’d just rather get it over with and that’s totally fine as well. Um, and so you might prefer to just continue straight into regular decision applications and some people or some.
Did it really make a November 1st, like a big deadline or milestone? They just saw it as like, oh, alternative alternate, certain school applications before November 1st, the rest of them I’ll just turn in after. And it wasn’t a big milestone to take a break from, but rather just something to continue building on.
And so regardless of what strategy you’re taking, whether that’s taking a couple of days and making a little bit more breaks, Or just continuing on, you definitely want to make sure that you build in time into that overall timeline from when you start your essays or from when you start your applications to when you submitted your very last one to just have rounds of
And that’s really helpful because sometimes you might think you have a seller essay and then you give it a couple of days and you come back to it and [00:22:00] you’re like, oh, actually there’s things that don’t make a lot of sense here. Or maybe there’s a missing piece that, you know, I thought made sense because it’s my experience.
And I, you know, your brain kind of fills in the gaps, but reading it out, out loud to somebody else maybe reveals that there’s some jump in logic. And so ensuring that, um, you’re really able to nail down those essays. Uh, it’s, it’s really helpful to have some buffer time in between editing. Also ensuring that teacher recommendations, um, are turned in.
So definitely leaving some time between kind of creating like soft deadlines to make sure that you checking off like standardized tests, teacher recommendations, essays, descriptions, and you have all of those set within the right timeline for the application deadline that you’re looking at. And then just having rest days to enjoy the winter hall.
Um, so if you time it, right, again, all of you that are, most of you that are here are sophomore or freshmen, sophomores, and juniors. And so you do you’re at a place where you can build in [00:23:00] time into your, um, build in rest days into your time. Um, so what was my experience applying? So I, uh, went through a program called QuestBridge, which is a really fantastic program that helps low income families, um, students from low-income families who meet a certain, um, they look at your household taxes and if you are under a certain threshold, then you’re able to use the crossbridge, uh, early application like match program.
And so my applications were actually doing. Um, and so I, even though I did, I didn’t apply anywhere early. Let’s see November 1st through the common app, I did apply to several places through QuestBridge, um, and was matched early on. Um, I knew that I was going to be a finalist in October. So again, I applied very early.
It was either end of September, early October. Then I found out I was a finalist in October. And, uh, that I had been matched with Princeton on December 1st. And so knowing that really early on, I only applied to other [00:24:00] schools that I would rather go to. And so, um, I, one of those schools was Harvard and so I applied there regular decision on January 1st, and then I found out.
Late February that I was going to get in. Um, they sometimes do like phone call early on. And so I had gotten a phone call and then a confirmed letter in March. And so that was kind of my experience doing it. Um, and I, again, kind of. Built in a lot of buffer time to make sure that if I was applying as early as October, that if I wasn’t a finalist or I didn’t get matched, that I would still have time to really build out the applications for other schools.
Um, but it was a big relief to know that I had been matched by December 1st. Um, and then things that I did on the background, again, just this plan. These is, I confirmed all my safety and likely school applications pretty early on. Um, so I kind of, the timelines I set for myself was all my safety and likely schools.
I want to do. I obviously didn’t turn them in early. Um, cause I was already applying [00:25:00] early through QuestBridge, but I wanted everything from like essays to descriptions. Anything else? I wanted those to be done early, even if I didn’t submit them because I wanted to be able to just copy and paste and uh, put them on there, but not have to develop all these materials if I didn’t get matched.
And I had to develop more materials for schools that maybe were my reach schools or schools that I really want to get into.
Um, so some last advice that I would give to students submitting early applications. So again, all of you, this would be at least next year or, um, you know, today in a year from now today, um, would be today. Time to decide, which are early application processes and schools are best for you. Um, so I mentioned three different types of early applications.
Again, early action, early decision in restrictive early action. One might be better for you than another two might be relatively the same. And you might have to just make a choice about which one you’d rather do, [00:26:00] weighing the different pros and cons. Um, and then what schools to apply to those, uh, to apply to using those, um, different applicate application processes.
And so that’s something that you might want to take some more time to reflect on, and if you’re having. To turn in a lot of materials at the same time and having a work for your senior full already, it might not be the best time to figure that out. And so you might want to take some time in the summer before coming into your senior year to think about having a game plan for your applications so that when you get into the school year, you’re not trying to figure that out.
As you’re also dealing with classes and extracurriculars and all these other things. Um, so that’s kind of really, um, transitions nicely into just starting early. So, um, I took the standardized tasks, like the sat and the act, my junior spring. I thought it was really helpful to just get those out of the way.
Cause I didn’t want to have to deal with. Um, my senior fall. And so that was really helpful, um, doing the personal essay in the summer and then just having [00:27:00] outlines for supplements by the end of summer and early fall. And so I didn’t have any actual supplement written because the, uh, early up the common app doesn’t open until August, but I did want to have some outlines about what I could potentially write about.
So, you know, you’ll probably get an essay about, you know, talking about, um, Y you want to go to a certain school. And two, if, you know, if you go to like common up from last year or from the year before you’re going to apply, you can start getting a feel for the type of essays you might be writing. And it’s helpful to start writing bits of outlines, bits of phrases or paragraphs that you think would be helpful.
Um, and that just helps you to get a better place when you start writing them. Uh, once the common app opens up. Um, and then as I mentioned before, giving yourself some soft deadlines before the November 1st deadline to really be able to, um, feel like you’re not all stressed out the day of submitting applications, um, and then checking the logistical side of the [00:28:00] application.
So that means the teacher recommendations, the standardized tests, all the sections of the common app and the payment. Um, so those are all my last pieces of advice. Okay. So this is the end of the presentation part of the webinar. We hope you found this information helpful, and remember, you can download the slides from the link in the handouts tab, moving on to the live Q and a I’ll read through questions you submitted in the Q and a tab, paste them in the public chat.
So you can see and then read them out loud before our panelists gives you an answer. All right. Our first question is what are the cons of regular decision?
Yeah. So the concept of regular dis you said regular decision, early decision, regular, regular. So, um, it’s not really like they’re cons to it. Like most of the schools that you’ll end up applying to you’re probably do regular decision again, because some of the early application. Um, R like [00:29:00] restrictive, early action and early decision, you can only apply to one school.
Um, and so some reasons why you might choose to, in addition to regular decision, you might choose to apply to some schools early is because you want to show that you’re really interested in that school. Um, also regular decision, you know, you apply there once and if you get rejected, you get rejected.
Whereas like, if you, you, there’s a chance for you to get deferred. If you apply it. So it’s kind of like you have two shots at getting into the school. If you don’t get in the first time. I, like I mentioned before, an early decision, you can get rejected or deferred or accepted as if you don’t get accepted.
It’s not like you automatically get rejected. You can get deferred and be looked at again in comparison to a different applicant pool in regular decisions. You don’t have that option. If you only apply regular decision. So again, it’s like giving you two different shots at getting in. And also I’m just giving you an opportunity to show the admissions officer that you’re really, [00:30:00] really interested in this one school.
Okay. Our next question is how early can we do early decision and how early can we do the applicant? Yeah. So, um, like I mentioned before, you can actually start doing all the application, finish it before November 1st. Um, the common app opens in August. So if you’re really ready, you can start filling it out.
Super. Even before your school starts, but you, and you can turn it in early as well. Like you don’t have to wait until November 1st to submit everything, but your deadline is November 1st. So that’s the earliest of the regular common app application. He might be applying through a different program. So for example, I applied through QuestBridge that used, um, I had to apply through my comment up as well, but I had to submit everything on my common app earlier in October, and also submit things on the QuestBridge plot.
In October. And so that was an example of a [00:31:00] program that asked me to turn things in, even before the regular, November 1st deadline. But for most people who are not using a separate matching program, you probably will only be used. Your earliest deadline will be November 1st. Okay. Our next question is how do I get scholarships for the university that I want to go to?
Even though my school doesn’t promote. Yeah. So, um, your school doesn’t have to promote a unit, a college or university in order for you to apply to scholarships. From there. Really, all you have to do is think about the school that you want to apply to go on Google and look further a website, and then look at their financial aid office and check out the different types of financial aid they provide.
So they might be providing need-based financial aid. And what that means is that they’ll look at your parents. Um, Uh, taxes from the previous years and they’ll, um, from the previous year and they’ll, um, calculate how much your parents will [00:32:00] be able to pay on the tuition and whatever, and they can give you an estimate of how much the school is willing to help out.
Um, with that difference between the tuition and what your parents campaign, um, some schools are guaranteed, you know, full need-based financial aid, for example. Um, is one of the schools that they will just look only at need based financial aid, and they’ll make sure to cover anything that your parents won’t be able to pay on that same website.
You’ll also find merit based financial aid. So that’s usually what people mean when they need scholarships from his school is merit based. So they’ll look at your GPA. They’ll look at your standardized tests. They might look at extracurriculars. You might have to apply for, for that merit. For that merit based scholarship.
And so those are all probably will be under financial aid website. So your school, your high school doesn’t need to promote them. You just have to go to the universities or the colleges, um, website and look at what’s available. Okay. Our next question is what is [00:33:00] the recommended age to start your early onset?
So, um, as I mentioned earlier in the sides, I usually recommend like, starting, like, you can technically start whenever you want, because like, you know, some of the essays, like the common app essays haven’t really changed too much. There might be variation, which essays will be used asserting year, but you have a pretty good sense if you look up like calming up essays, but the question is more like strategic.
Like when is a good time to start those, not just one. Can you, but when should you, and I personally think that the best time to start them as your junior summer, because if you start them too early, there might be a lot of extracurriculars or just experiences that you haven’t lived through yet that you might want to include in your.
Um, you might want to include something that happened your sophomore year or something that happened your junior year. Um, also as you’re thinking about what extracurriculars you might want to highlight in your essays, you know, you might not get to leadership positions until later on in high school. And [00:34:00] so if you start too early, you’re actually might be taking away from the content that you could be writing as well as if maybe you, well, technically you probably will.
Your writing skills each year that you’re in college, that you’re in high school. And so you’ll probably be able to write better essays later on in your high school career. Um, so I personally think that a really good sweet point is between your junior and senior year of high school. Okay. Our next question is do some schools offer both need-based and merit-based scholar.
Um, some schools do offer both. I would say the majority offer one or the other, but you can, there’s plenty of schools that offer both. I think it just depends. You just have to go on their website and check out exactly what they, what they’re willing to give. I will say that usually Ivy league will probably look more, uh, we’ll give more of a need based financial aid because it’s kind of just it’s merit in itself that you get into one of these schools.[00:35:00]
And so. Usually like comparing between students a very similar academic and extracurricular profiles. And so they mostly look at as soon as now that you’ve gotten in, based on your merit, they want to make sure you’re able to go to the school. Okay. Our next question is, do schools have a maximum number accepted for early.
I’m sorry, you cut out there a little. Oh, sorry. Uh, do schools have a maximum number accepted for early disease? Um, some schools do, I’m not sure, like if it’s very public, how money, um, like what the admissions rates are for those exactly. Um, I do know that in general, like over the year they have like a rate that they say like, this is our like rate of admissions.
Um, but it’s true that there is less students admitted in early applications and in regular. Um, but that’s just, uh, like a factor of like how many students are also applying. There’s less students [00:36:00] applying to schools early than there are in regular admissions.
Okay. Our next question is if you go early decision, do you have to withdraw all other applications? If you go early admission. Um, so are there early decision early? I think you should probably say all of them. Yeah. So I was about to say for it, it really depends on like the type of application. So as I mentioned in the, um, in some of the earlier slides with early decision, if you get in, you do have to withdraw all your other schools like your, this is a binding agreements that if you get in, you’re going to this school.
And so again, the con of that is you might not be able to compare. Um, your financial aid packages and other schools, if you get in. But the pro of that is like fantastic. You got into the school that you really wanted to go in to get into with early action and restrictive early action. You don’t have to withdraw.
And that’s because it’s not both of those are [00:37:00] non-binding. And so that’s a really important difference as you’re thinking about the type of commitment that you want to make to your early application schools.
Okay. Our next question is. Um, one is financial aid awards disclosed for early decision. Um, so usually when you are, you get your notification that you have, like what status or that the outcome of your application, um, in December. And usually they will let you know, they’ll send you a financial aid letter, uh, shortly after, just so that you’re able to compare.
Um, but a lot of schools also can. Into, um, later in the year or later in like the beginning of the following year. Um, just because you also have until March May 1st, so as long as it’s not a binding, um, a binding application, like early decision, you do have until May 1st to decide. And so it’s really variable, like exactly when schools will [00:38:00] say.
Um, the financial aid package, but usually it’s, it’s shortly after you get your, um, your decision on whether you got admitted or defer. Okay. So we’re going to take a quick break and I want to let you know what you can do. If you want to work. One-on-one with one of our advisors from our team from of over 255 advisors in admissions office.
You can sign up for a free consultation with us by going to CollegeAdvisor.com and clicking the green chat button in the bottom, right of the screen from there, just write in consultation and a live team member will get back to you to help coordinate your free consultation with us. All right. And back to the Q and a, and everyone, if you have any questions at all, make sure that you please put them in the Q and a tab so we can answer.
Our next question is when do I have to make my college decision? So, as I mentioned [00:39:00] before, a national college decision day is May 1st. And so you have until May 1st to make that decision on early applications and regular decisions, uh, regular application decisions, like when those come out. Uh, you can wait, like if you get admitted somewhere early action, you can wait until the rest of the regular decision outcomes come out in March and you can make a decision by me first.
And so that’s the big, the big day that, uh, you have to definitely commit to one school. Um, so a lot of schools will actually hold like a, a pre frosh weekend. Well, they’ll invite people in to come and stay at the college to look at the campus. There’ll be events. There’s definitely things leading up to that May 1st deadline that can give you a better understanding of what school you want to get into.
Um, if you get in early decision, obviously it’s not really a choice of what day you choose. It’s like, as soon as you’re told you already committed from the moment you submitted your application, that if you get in, you’re going
all right. [00:40:00] Our next question is, um, If they say that my son has accepted, does he have to accept that school? If it’s early decision? Yes. Again, it’s a binding agreement that if you’re applying somewhere early, uh, using the early decision, then you have to go to this school. I’m sure that people have potentially found some legal, um, ways to, if something comes up, like it’s not, I’m sure.
Yeah, I’m sure that there are ways that people have been able to get out of it somehow. Um, I have not personally encountered this nor do I know someone who’s done that, but the kind of the agreement is if you’re applying somewhere early decision, it is like being in a contractual agreement where you’re committing to going there.
Um, I also don’t know what the repercussions are for backing out of something like that, which I’m sure that there’s. Um, strong repercussions, because again, it is a national base [00:41:00] agreement that you are going to this school and, uh, supported by lots of other institutions. So I would say it’s a Bruce pretty strong commitment.
Um, so I will say the one, um, way that you can legally get out of in early decision agreement is you can petition the school. Basically once you get told you’re accepted, and then once you get your financial aid package, you can petition the school to let you out of that agreement. If you feel that your financial aid package is too.
So we do have an advisor on staff who did that she got accepted, uh, to, I think one of the IVs didn’t feel that the financial aid was, um, sufficient for her. And so she petitioned the school to let her out of the agreement they did. She applied other places, regular decision, and then, uh, got a financial aid package that she was happier with.
Um, but again, that is a lot of steps. You do have to petition them to let you out of the. Um, and as far as consequences, I, [00:42:00] as far as I know, um, if you break that, that school, if you break that contract, that school can then send your name to all the other colleges in the country and say, Hey, the student broke our contract.
Maybe don’t let them in. And then all the other schools in the country, you can choose to not let you in because they’re, they might be thinking, well, you know, if the student is breaking her contract, we maybe don’t want that student on. So don’t do that. Yeah. Again, it’s kind of like, there is a way out if you really wanted it, but I mostly advise, please don’t do that.
Like make sure that you’re making the right informed decision before applying somewhere early decision, because you don’t want to be in a position where you have to petition to get out of the contract. No. Okay. Our next question is what is the minimum GPA to get accepted into universities? And what is the quickest way to raise your GPA level?
[00:43:00] Yeah, so, um, this is a very school to school dependent answer. So there are some schools that don’t have a GPA requirement at all in the sense that they won’t tell you what it is. For example, if you try to look for her. They will say, we look at students holistically, we look at their GPA, their standardized tests, but we also look at things like their essays and their activities and their descriptions and their recommendations.
And so they don’t give you an actual, um, GPA requirement. And so for schools like the, I think there was, um, a Texas school mentioned in, in that. Um, in the chat, um, they might have an actual, like, Hey, you won’t get in if you’re under this exact GPA. And so to find that you probably have to go to that school’s website, look at their admissions requirements.
And I’m pretty sure that if they have, uh, a GPA requirement, it will be bold and it will be like very big. You won’t be able to miss it. Um, and if they don’t, they will like actually verbalize like, Hey, we don’t have a GPA requirement. Um, [00:44:00] and the quickest way to boost your GPA will be to, um, hopefully just get a lot of A’s honestly, that’s like the best way to really bump it up.
Especially if you have a lower GPA adding a couple of 4.0 is in there is definitely very helpful taking different level courses. So if you’re taking regular courses like regular level courses, you can try to get honors. You can try to get AP, you can try to do a little role. All of these are methods to increase your GPA.
But the caveat to that is that if you’re not prepared for these classes, well, potentially you could potentially not do as well as you wanted to. And it could actually bring down your GPA. And so I would say, definitely meet with your call, uh, your school advisor, if you’re feeling like your GPA is not strong enough for the schools that you want to go to and develop a plan, that’s right for you.
They will know what courses are offered in the school. They will know what opportunities are available. And so really being able to think about, okay, what, what is a good mix of as a [00:45:00] class I can really Excel in, um, working harder to also do better in terms of just getting better grades in whatever class you’re in, but also thinking about how can I strategically up my game by going to higher level courses and you know, really thinking about, okay, am I prepared to have the right background?
Like academic background for, um, like knowing the foundations for it going on to this next level course, and also being realistic about what your semester will look like. I know, um, at least for me, like balancing a flood ex and academics was like really hard. And if I knew that there was a semester where I had, um, like really busy weekends and a lot of tournaments, and I probably wasn’t going to take a class that was going to demand as much hours or time for me as on an off season, summer.
And so I think that’s definitely something to consider whether that’s an athletics, whether that’s extracurriculars, whether that’s even personal things going on. If, um, you know, you have a lot [00:46:00] of outside responsibilities, um, definitely try to figure out the best timing for when to take certain courses.
Okay. Our next question is I answered no to the financial aid in the application of some need aware college. Can I still fill out the FAFSA and CSS just in case. Yeah. I think you could still turn in your FAFSA and your CSS to any college. You have to just include that colleges. Each college has like a code, um, that you have to include in your FAFSA that will indicate just like when you send your standardized test scores and you’d say, look to what school to send them.
You can still send your FAFSA and your CSS. I’m not like, I’m not really sure. Um, how they balance, like give you said. To need based financial aid and you still submit them, like, will they still look at you? I think you can email them and say, Hey, I wrote this in my common app and ask that specific school’s admissions office.
Um, because you know, you don’t want to run the risk of if they, [00:47:00] if you said no. And, um, for whatever reason, their policies to only look at applications where they say yes, like they will still look at your taxes and everything. They just might not consider you for need based financial. Potentially, because there are other things, not that that those forms are helpful for.
Um, and so I personally, what I would do again, not knowing the very specifics of how all schools violence, a yes or no on the common app when it comes to financial aid and submitting your FAFSA and CSS is I would for sure turn in your FAFSA or CSS. And then I would email the school admissions officer and say, Hey, like this happened, can I still be considered?
I turned in my Fox NCSS already. This is my code.
Okay, our next question is what is the hardest thing about early decision versus regular decision? So I think the hardest thing with, so first with early applications in general versus regular is you just have to have everything [00:48:00] done earlier, which means that like, it might be a more of a time crunch if you aren’t as prepared.
So you have to have your entire comment, whatever you want to send on your common app and not. You need to have it already because you won’t, you’ll have to like submit your teacher recommendations. You’ll have to submit everything you submit in a regular decision, but two months earlier. And so usually it’s that time crunch that people find out.
Um, something else that might be hard is like, if something pops up between November and January 1st that you think was really impactful and important to read in your essays, you don’t quite have the chance to do that. I, again, like don’t find that as big of like a con, because I wouldn’t want to be working on my essay necessarily my personal statement in between those months.
Anyways, I think I would probably be working on my supplements. Yeah. Potentially, you might miss an opportunity to include one of those in your supplements by applying early, but you don’t want to just wait and see if something impactful will happen in the two months between your early and regular decision.
Like that’s a [00:49:00] consideration, but it’s definitely not something that I would personally weigh in, um, to decide to apply early or not. Um, and when it comes to early decision, cause I know the question was about early decision, not just early application, I would say. You know, something that a reason why you might want to wait for regular decision is if you don’t want to apply early somewhere, that you have to be bound to and not know the financial aid package, for sure.
Before committing again, early decision you’re bound to go if you apply there, uh, and get admitted. And so that’s another reason why it might be better to hold off until regular decision or apply in a different early, early application coupons.
Uh, what makes a good scholarship application? Is there next question. Um, so scholarships in general just vary because sometimes they’re based on, you know, you don’t even have to really apply. It’s more just like they look at your [00:50:00] GPA and if you like meet the bill, like they might offer you a scholarship off the get go, and some schools do that.
Some other schools make you write certain essays. Um, and so I think in general, Um, a stellar application is one that’s hopefully done with enough time to write a very like convincing essay and a well prepared application. And so usually you want to start understanding what scholarships you want apply to early.
So you can start writing those essays early. Um, teacher recommendations also really help, um, with scholarship scholarship applications, because they might ask you for an extra person apart from someone on your common app to, um, write an, a recommendation. And so that’s another way that I think, you know, prepping that early can also really help, but to be honest, it’s really school specific and essay specific.
Like you want to make sure you’re answering the prompt to make sure that you are, um, highlighting the character traits that are maybe, um, you know, some scholarships are named after specific people or for specific purposes. And so like [00:51:00] if there’s one that’s about diversity in like ethnic background, you don’t want to be writing an essay about.
Necessarily like, um, I don’t know, like a sport you play or a musical instrument that you play if it’s not relating to your ethnicity, because then you’re not answering the prompt for which you will be like reviewed for, um, to get that scholarship. Right. So you want to make sure that you know, what scholarships you’re applying to and that you’re answering the prompt in order to really, um, fit the bill for it becoming.
Okay, our next question is, can I get an out-of-state scholarship example? I live in Nevada and the university is in Texas. Yeah. I mean, if you got a scholarship to a, to a university in general, whether that’s in state or out of state, it’s not only did you get admitted, you’re getting a scholarship. And so that means the school is going to be spending money on having you come in.
So if you don’t want to go to that, Then, um, I’m sure there is no issue [00:52:00] with you letting a, as long as it’s not early decision and you are bound to go to that school. It’s totally fine. If you email the school and say, you know, I don’t want to go to the school. Um, like I like they, they will actually, if you don’t go to the school, they will automatically remove the scholarship.
So it’s not really something that you have to get out of. It’s more like if you’re not going to the school, they’re not going to get it. They’re not going to be giving you that money. Um, cause it’s to pay for tuition.
All right. We’re not, uh, I don’t see any more questions in the Q and a tab at this moment. So if anyone else has them, um, please send them in. And Maria, is there anything else, uh, that you want to talk about with your own application experience? Um, Not really. I feel like in the, yeah, in the earlier presentation, I gave a bit of an overview of what my process was like, and I think everyone that’s listened to me for the past 15 minutes will know.
I will definitely [00:53:00] say, try to get everything done early, give yourself some time. Um, and again, with early applications, the nice thing is you always have round two with regular decision. So that’s all absolutely. Okay. I’m not seeing any more questions and. I guess it’s on theme. I we’re going to end of it early tonight.
Uh, I hope everyone has a wonderful night. Thank you all for coming and thank you so much, Maria, for presenting. Oh, nevermind. Wait, we have one more question. Um, is there a limit to how many scholarships you can claim? Uh, I think that’s really school specific. I know some schools, um, you know, if you’re eligible for one scholarship and you get it, you might not be eligible for it.
Um, when it comes to outside scholarships. So if you’re not getting the scholarships from your school, um, sometimes they will take that out. If let’s say like you get full need based financial aid, um, and you get a scholarship, they might say like, That scholarship already takes a chunk of the money that like [00:54:00] helps pay for, um, like money that we were going to give you.
And so it might just mean like, they will take less, they will give you less need based financial aid, but it will be only, it will be fully supplemented by what you get from an outside scholarship. So let’s just do like a really small scenario here. Let’s say, like to go to Harvard, it costs a hundred dollar.
And you don’t have any of it. And so they’re going to give you a hundred dollars to go to Harvard, but let’s say you got a scholarship and it’s $10. Then your Harvard financial aid, my decrease to $90 to account for the fact that you’re getting $10 from somewhere else. So overall you’re not paying for anything, but you are reporting.
Most schools will ask you to report outside scholarships so that they can calculate the best financial aid plan that will now Harvard has those extra $10 to give to somebody else who might not have the outside school. Alrighty. Oh, okay. So, uh, thank you all for coming. And Maria, thank you so much for presenting.
Thank y’all. All right. Have a great [00:55:00] night. Have a great night. So this is our November series and, uh, tomorrow we have admission officer advice, minimizing college application stress. Hope to see you there have a great night.