#087 Why Applying Early to Your College Of Choice Could be a Strategic Win with Julie Kelsheimer Transcript


Lisa Marker Robbins  00:48

We are dropping this episode during college application season. But if you are listening at a different time of year or have a younger high schooler, don’t tune out. This episode has something for everyone and will guide your teens college bound journey as early as 10th grade. While college application deadlines range from as early as October 15. In the senior year, into the spring there is often a competitive advantage to your teen applying early. Early action, early decision restrictive early action, single choice early action or early decision to confused yet well Q aren’t alone. My guest Julie Cal Shimer is a college advisor just outside New York City, she’s going to clear up your confusion and give great advice on helping your student to decide if and when they should submit early applications. Do we support students in focusing their time and energy instead of spreading themselves too thin and causing undue stress by casting a wide net to too many colleges. I’m Lisa Mark Robbins, and I want to welcome you to College and Career Clarity, a flourish coaching production. Let’s dive right in to a great conversation. Julie, welcome to the podcast.


Julie Kelsheimer  02:15

Hi, Lisa, thank you for having me. I’m glad to be here. Oh,


Lisa Marker Robbins  02:18

I am thrilled to have you. And it’s funny when we first connected I have for a while been thinking like this is one of the most confusing topics and I wanted to find a guest who could speak to this. And then we connected I’m like, I think this is the guest to help us clear the confusion.


Julie Kelsheimer  02:38

Oh, I hope I can do though I’m honored things.


Lisa Marker Robbins  02:40

So let’s start with I intentionally tried to overwhelm everybody in that intro, just to say like, stick with this because it’s so confusing. Even students I find that I’ve worked with for months, they’ll still like months later after we’ve had a very clear discussion about what you and I are going to talk about today. They’ll go like, can you remind me again, which one is binding? And in my brain? I like I know, I’ve said this four times. And if not anything against those kids is just that confusing. And this is probably going to be one of those episodes where people are going to have to come back to it to go like, Okay, what was that one again? So I think we should just start at the top, which on that menu of early options. And when we say early, we mean as opposed to regular decision. But on that menu of early options, you tell me where do you think we should begin?


Julie Kelsheimer  03:29

Well, there’s a lot of them, like you said, and it is it is very confusing. I think the earlier families and students familiarize themselves with what their options are, the better this tends to go. So we’ll start at the beginning, which is early decision one and two. So early decision one applications are typically due around November 1, some deadlines are different per school. But that’s typical. And early decision to is typically due in early January. So to start with early decision one, this is binding. So if a student is sending an early decision, one application, they’re telling the school, here I am, you are my top choice, if you admit me, I am going to your institution and happy to do so. So you have to be aware that that is what you’re signing up for. And you have to position yourself appropriately for submitting an application like that. So


Lisa Marker Robbins  04:18

we’re gonna talk about how like later in the podcast, I know you and I’ve already said like, let’s let’s get the menu of options out of the way. And we’re going to talk about, you know how to position yourself and how to tackle this. But I have a question for you. It’s binding. So if admitted, you must go and you must withdraw all of your applications from other colleges, so you’ll never get admission decisions from most of your other colleges that you applied to. Can you Who do you recommend early decision one or two because they’re both binding and we’ll talk a little bit about early decision to in a second. But what’s like the ideal candidate for early decision one or two or Alyssa Stick with early decision one, because I sometimes have students say to me like, Oh, I think I’m gonna do early decision. And then we start to talk. And I’m like that student’s not clear enough, in my opinion, to really throw in an early decision application. So just because they offer it doesn’t mean you should do it. So who’s the ideal candidate for that?


Julie Kelsheimer  05:21

Absolutely. Those are good points. I think, prior to even having this conversation, what students need to do is their research. So they need to look at a university’s common data set online, all you have to do is Google University common data set, what that does, or individual websites. But what those do is they show the metrics, the soft factors, other things that students who were admitted to these universities demonstrated for successful admission, so things like GPA, test scores, there’s I mean, I could list up a million, but there’s a ton of information that you can find the common data set set to show what kind of a student is going to this university, then what you want to do, especially if you’re, you know, at the time where you’re ready to apply to colleges, you need to honestly look at yourself and say, Do I need these metrics, not only do I meet them, but am I exceeding them really, as far as a resume goes, as far as the strength of my personal essay. And that goes, Do I feel like I, in my opinion, like I am exceeding what the school’s typical applicant does, so that I can feel super confident in sending in a competitive application. So the type of person that should consider Ed is somebody that feels really strongly a about that school, like, this is where I want to go, I’m showing you you are where I want to go. And that gives them an edge. But then also, I have really prepared myself to send you a competitive application.


Lisa Marker Robbins  06:42

You know, I had a student say to me the other day, I think I’m going to throw an ad in to I’m not going to pick up any schools today. So it’s easy to pick on schools, but we’re gonna try to keep it clean and not do that. And I’m like, Have you visited there? She’s like, now I said, you know, that’s a really early decisions, a really big deal because it is binding. And I don’t believe that every student needs to go to every campus that they’re going to apply to. But my personal opinion, is that if you’re going to Ed at a school, you probably should have seen that campus. Oh, absolutely. I


Julie Kelsheimer  07:19

completely agree. Because it more than just the metrics more than just your scores, you have to know does this feel right? Like, could I see myself being happy here as a person for four years, in addition to everything else I offer?


Lisa Marker Robbins  07:33

All right. And by the way, you were talking about the importance of the common data set in assessing kind of that academic fit, you know how competitive you are? Oh, I have a quick video that I shot one time after one of our get I think it was when in January of 2022, we had a guest on we talked about demonstrated interest. And so I shot a quick video to show how to access a common dataset to see if demonstrated interest matters. But for Julie’s getting great advice, like go out there and dig into the wealth of information, and the common data set. And I will link in our show notes to that video that I shot that just shows you how to find it. Not all of them can be found, but it’s a few quick steps. I think my video is like less than five minutes. So Oh, yeah, that’s super helpful. Yeah. So okay. So early decision to also binding. Let’s talk a little bit about that one.


Julie Kelsheimer  08:28

Right. So like I said early decision to is typically due in early January. A lot of schools don’t publish the information about early decision to and how many people they’re accepting EDI to. I think it’s safe to say that if a school offers EDI one and EDI to about 50% are accepted EDI two as opposed to what they accepted in EDI one.


Lisa Marker Robbins  08:50

So 50% of the EDI one rate is


Julie Kelsheimer  08:53

50%. Yes, of the end one ray was accepted. And typically though it’s hard to find those found


Lisa Marker Robbins  08:59

it’s hard to find but still in a mission advantage over regular Oh, most cases.


Julie Kelsheimer  09:06

Absolutely. I mean, you’re still showing a school, like you’re at the top of my list or one of the top of my list. This is where I want to be. I mean, honestly think about it, if you if you’re applying early to a school, especially ed one or two, You’re flattering them a little bit. You’re telling them like you know I’m putting it on the line here you’re where I want to be and those admissions officers are going to have a little more time to review you and your application and and to notice your strengths in a way that might be more difficult in the regular decision pool with tons and tons of people like you


Lisa Marker Robbins  09:36

that I think that’s a great point there’s going to be fewer applicants are going to be able to take more time I tell students all the time and like the average amount of time on a read for an application is I always quote six to nine minutes. Do you quote the same? Yeah, I


Julie Kelsheimer  09:52

say about eight typically. Yeah. So right in the middle.


Lisa Marker Robbins  09:55

And then you I say this look just like wash over their face like Are you kidding me? I am pouring my heart and soul into this essay or these essays. And I’ve worked so hard on my grades, my extracurriculars. And my recommendation letter, though I get. So yeah. Everybody hear that you’ve got about eight minutes that those college admissions officers are reading it, but they might be able to give you a little bit more time. If you’re applying early.


Julie Kelsheimer  10:23

Absolutely. And they are skilled at what they do. I think that they know how to have a keen eye for what to look for as long as it’s presented accurately. So,


Lisa Marker Robbins  10:31

absolutely. Is there anybody for whom you would say like? Well, I wait, I want to back up. Another point I wanted to make was not every school offers early decision, right?


Julie Kelsheimer  10:43

That’s absolutely true. There’s some that are only early action and regular decision. There’s a handful out there that are only regular decision. And then there’s some that have a very strange early admission called SCE a or rea these are kind of your top top level schools. We can dig into that.


Lisa Marker Robbins  11:02

That’s, that’s a great segue into we’re so we’re leaving the binding, there’s nothing else is binding. There’s really only two early decision one early decision to if admitted, you withdraw all of your other applications, you must go there. And now let’s not take down at half a step. It’s I really feel like it’s not even a full step down. It’s like a half a step down, right? No,


Julie Kelsheimer  11:26

I completely agree. Because well, let’s talk about why Ste a single choice early action offered at schools like Princeton and Yale, essentially, yes, it is non binding, however, they’re super restrictive, and who else you can apply to. So SAE plans, do not allow a student to apply anywhere else early decision. And they do not allow a student to apply early action to any other private university students can apply early action to any public university of choice. So what they’re saying is you can apply early to us you don’t have to let us know right away. If you want to come here, you can let us know on May 1, like everyone else, but you aren’t allowed to apply anywhere else early. Early Decision or early decision to or anything else. So it’s yield protective meaning is it typically the person that’s going to send in an SAE a application is by way of doing that telling the school? Likely I’m gonna say yes, if I get in. Right? Yeah. And are you a similar restrictive early action offered by places like Notre Dame, Harvard, Stanford, there’s a couple others, you cannot apply anywhere else, Ed, if you submit an R EA application, you can apply early action anywhere else. Again, it’s non binding, but because of how restrictive it is their semi assuming that these are the students that are going to accept, right?


Lisa Marker Robbins  12:46

I mean, it does remove that pressure of I have to go because sometimes I’m talking to students, and I’m like, you know, you’re not a good Ed candidate like me, you and I work with so many kids, we can sense well, yeah, it’s a good fit for Ed with that binding piece. And, you know, I don’t feel that way with anything restrict single choice, early action or restrictive early action, because you’re removing that binding teenagers change their minds all the time. I’ve raised a few of them myself and get ready Julie years well to no doubt. So let’s do a good segue into the next full step down now. So now we’re away from that really protect of, you know, more, just the protective in the binding will be early action. And I want to point out with for early decision and restrictive early action, you are permitted to apply to public universities that are early action. So that is an exception. So it’s the public piece. Right. Right. So talk about early action.


Julie Kelsheimer  14:01

Yep. So early action is it is non binding, like some of the others. However, there are a lot of advantages. So these applications are typically due early to mid November. Again, you’re given a little bit more time. Your admissions officer gives you a little bit more time with your application to see your strengths and to dig into who you are a little bit more and you are notified earlier if you’ve been accepted. But again, because it’s non binding, you don’t owe them an answer as to whether or not you’re going to attend until May 1 just like the regular decision pool. But we do advise students that if the school offers an early action option, and it’s not a school, they’ve chosen for early decision to go ahead and apply under that option. It does give them a little bit of an advantage.


Lisa Marker Robbins  14:45

Well, not only does it give a little bit of an advantage, but I know so I’m in Cincinnati, Ohio. We have a lot of public universities in our state and privates we have a lot of schools period. But it’s some of the public early on. sections, you do not get scholarship consideration either at all, or full scholarship consideration if you don’t meet an early action deadline at many of these public schools so and that’s merit based need not need based or not merit based, let’s merit based aid, not need based aid. Right. But you know, you want to be a as a mom who I have my last payment for college for our last kid. December, you will hear me cry in your house feeling a little cheer? Yes, my last payment, oh, my second to last payment, my daughter’s gonna is entering her senior year now. But, you know, I’m always like any of us, I don’t care how fluent you are. Or not. Everybody wants to be at the front of the line for free money if they’re handing it out. So why would you not do that


Julie Kelsheimer  15:52

early action? Absolutely. There’s so many advantages, again, a couple of things to consider. One is doing your research because you want before you’re ever making decision plans or admin decision plans, before you send in your applications, you have to know everything about what is required, or what’s going to give you a leg up. The other thing too, is, I do think that there is a place for private advisors in this sort of realm because they know this, we as advisors know these things and can guide students in this way to help them for the optimal results. So it can be a lot of information to consume. But you can do it in a way that makes it a little bit easier. Seek out some help.


Lisa Marker Robbins  16:33

Yeah, absolutely. I mean, if you’re in a position where, particularly if you’re at a public high school, where the counselor to student ratio is high, if you can afford it, getting some help, like what you do, Julie, is immensely helpful, because then it’s less like digging around and doing all of the things. Because we know this type of stuff in our head, and we keep we’ve got our fingers on the pulse of it,


Julie Kelsheimer  16:59

for sure. Of course. Absolutely.


Lisa Marker Robbins  17:02

So let’s talk about strategy. Those are you know, so there’s the early decision, restrictive early action, early action and regular admission. So that’s kind of the whole menu of options. This is the part that people have to go back and listen to probably again, but how do you advise when you’re working with a family? What advice do you give to them on strategizing this piece? And how it affects working on applications and essays?


Julie Kelsheimer  17:30

Absolutely. So I think I’m going to start with you here. Like I would start with them. And I give some stats, because I think it’s eye opening. And I think it’s super valuable. So a couple of things to keep in mind are oftentimes if you put yourself in an early admin type of pool, you have a much better chance at admission. Last cycle, Johns Hopkins accepted 6% Overall, but 20% Ed, NYU, 8%, overall, 27.8% early, and I think this is the most shocking American University accepted 44% Overall, and 86%, early meaning of the students who sent an early application to American 86% of them got in. So that’s the strategy is if you have the right tools, it could give you a huge advantage.


Lisa Marker Robbins  18:18

Absolutely. So then, I know you had mentioned earlier to me when we’re offline, about some kids make this mistake of casting a really wide net and applying to 15 or 20 schools. I see it too. I think, you know, I’m a huge advocate and supporter of teens, and that is very stressful. And I want them to not have that added stress. But beyond that. What’s kind of your advice to them? Because I know you’re against 20 schools.


Julie Kelsheimer  18:50

Yeah, I think my advice is in the landscape that we’re in, colleges want to see that they’re accepting kind of an already expert in a certain area of interest into their school to join their community. So so it’s more advantageous for students to focus on really honing in and creating a super high level high value application to their two or three early schools that they’re considering, as opposed to like a generally attended to list of 25 applications. So really, focus I think is case


Lisa Marker Robbins  19:26

Okis which is going to result in Polish in an easier time. Absolutely. So this is fantastic. We needed this handbook anything that I forgot, Julie,


Julie Kelsheimer  19:37

I don’t think so. Lisa, this is a good conversation. It’s a good time of year to I think for for people to be considering.


Lisa Marker Robbins  19:43

I think you know, I what I see a lot of times it’s not until right before or in the midst of applications right before students are getting ready to submit that they start having these conversations like should I do an IDI? Does it make sense where I would They if you have a sophomore or a junior, look this information up. Absolutely. Now, because while things are in flux with like test optional policies and things are in flux, even with college essays and you know, AI is all the rage these days, how’s that going to impact things? These policies of admission plans, if a school already has EDI, they’re probably going to still offer EDI. And those are things that don’t change. So you can think about that strategy early on, you know, while you’re doing your visits.


Julie Kelsheimer  20:34

Absolutely. And if you don’t meet the metrics, or the soft factors right now, as a freshman or sophomore, well, now that you’ve educated yourself, you have time to maybe make something possible for you that


Lisa Marker Robbins  20:44

might not have been otherwise. Amazing. Great advice. Okay, Julie. So if people want to connect with you, if they’re like, I need some help. And Julie might be the person for me. Where can they find you?


Julie Kelsheimer  20:56

Absolutely. So again, we are great minds advising which is the college advising wing of Westchester prep tutoring company in Westchester, Westchester County, so WWW dot Westchester prep.com. If you go to services, you will see college advising there. You can also find us on as great minds advising on Facebook and on Instagram, and you can also join our newsletter. So please reach out.


Lisa Marker Robbins  21:18

Awesome. Okay, Julie. Thank you.


Julie Kelsheimer  21:21

Thank you so much, Lisa.


Lisa Marker Robbins  21:27

I’m thankful for Julie’s insights today on a topic that is one of the more confusing ones when it comes to college applications. For your college bound challenge this week, I’m going to start with a question. Do you have the spreadsheet where you’re tracking your teens colleges of interest? Julie mentioned doing your research and keeping track of everything. If you’re in my launch Career Clarity course, you do have a spreadsheet that’s already set up for you. It’s inside module five of where I teach students how to find the colleges that offer their best fit major. And if you’re not with us, if you don’t have a spreadsheet, start one yet, or better yet, join us inside launch, we have information in the show notes. And now for the action that I want you to take after you answer that question and a column on your spreadsheet that you already have or you’re going to set up I want you to record the options for college application deadlines, then head to the college website to read the fine print. If you’re considering early decision or restrictive early action applications, it can vary slightly among schools. Now you understand the strategy behind the choice your team will make in the fall of their senior year. Was this episode helpful to you? If so, I’m going to ask if you could do me two quick favors. First, rate or review the podcast where you are listening today. And secondly, you’re probably on your phone. So take a quick screenshot and then post it on social so I can help more families move from overwhelmed, confused to motivated, clear and confident about their teens future. Thank you for listening to College and Career Clarity