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Episode Notes

Episode Title: Segment #10: You Just Clicked Submit. What Next? A Guide to Build a Standout US College Application.

Episode summary introduction: Segment #10 of the 10-Segment Podcast Series to help students in 11th Grade build standout US College Applications. This segment focuses on the things that need to be done after submitting the Application. Subscribe for Assignments.

In this segment, Athena Lao leads us through the discussion.

In particular, we discuss the following:

  • Early Decision Outcomes and what they mean
  • ED2
  • Alumni Interview
  • Admissions Decision

Topics discussed in this episode:

  • Introduction to Segment #10 [0:55]
  • Next Steps after Submit [2:07]
  • Early Application Outcomes [6:42]
  • To Dos if Deferred [9:38]
  • To Dos if Rejected [13:15]
  • What is ED2? [15:02]
  • Alumni Interview [17:43]
  • When are the Admission Decisions [23:34]
  • Close [25:01]
  • Call 2 Action - Subscribe for Assignments [27:07]

Our Guests: 

Memorable Quote: “So it is very important that you stay on top of your emails and make sure that anything from the school is not going to your spam folder. Because if you miss that, if you don't get a document in on time, they won't be able to review your application, and then you won't even have a chance of getting in.” Athena Lao.

Episode Transcript: Please visit Episode’s Transcript.

Recommended Podcasts: Segments in this Series.


Episode Transcript

Transcript of the episode’s audio.

Athena Lao  0:12

So this is another reason to check your emails. Because some schools as in you know this especially like Ivy League’s, and all of that they may request for you to participate in an alumni interview. So what this means is that you get to have a 30 to 40 minute at longer conversation. It could be in person or virtual depending on where you're based with an alum from from that institution. So I know that this could be nerve racking, you might be wondering, are they going to quiz me or they're going to try to trick me to see if I am actually not qualified for the school.

Venkat  0:55  [Introduction to  Segment #8]

That was Athena Lao.

Hello, I am your host, Venkat Raman.

This is the last Segment of our 10-Segment Podcast series - A Guide to Build a Standout US College Application.

This Segment is a little different from the others.

To set the stage for our discussion, we pick up the flow after Submitting the Early Applications. What happens between now and Admissions Decision Day.

To help with that, we will cover the following:

  • I Just Submitted. Now What?
  • Early Decision Outcomes and Strategies;
  • Early Decision 2 (ED2);
  • Alumni Interview; and
  • Admissions Decisions

To guide us today, we rejoin Athena Lao, Head Mentor at Admissionado.


Welcome back Athena! So, the students have Submitted their Early Applications and some Regular Applications. What should they be doing now?

Help us understand the Early Application Outcomes

What should a student be doing if they are Deferred?

Athen, if one is Rejected, how should they handle that?

Athena, tell us what is this ED2?

I understand some colleges have alumni interviews. What is all that about? How Should I be prepping for that?

Great! When do the Admission Decisions come out? What happens then?

Athena, you’ve been great. Any closing thoughts as we conclude this Podcast Series?


Venkat Raman  1:56

Welcome back Athena! So, the students have Submitted their Early Applications and some Regular Applications. What should they be doing now?

Athena  2:07  [Next Steps after Submit]

Yeah, I'm excited to be back. And I know that probably a lot of our listeners are also excited to be almost done, or done with their applications. So congratulations. That's the first thing I want to say to everyone listening to this. I know this is a very stressful process, and that it's taken a lot of time and already busy season of your life with finishing high school. So congrats. You've made it you've hit submit. And that is a big step. And I know that a lot of you might be wondering what you're supposed to do next. Are you supposed to sit on your thumbs twiddle your thumbs, and you just gotta wait and see check your email every minute. Are you supposed to just ignore things and you know, pretend it never happened until you get that magical email. So yeah, you could either of those things is fine. But there are some key next steps that I want you to keep in mind as you're waiting for that decision. So immediately, so there are three things that I want to remind you.

Athena  3:09  

The first is to check your email. Because from now on now that you either submitted the Common Application coalition application or a school specific application, what you're going to receive next from the school is a link to their applicant portal. So that is the way that you're going to be able to find out if you got admitted to the school, as well as understand if there are any missing documents that they need in order to finish reviewing your application. So it is very important that you stay on top of your emails and make sure that anything from the school is not going to your spam folder. Because if you miss that, if you don't get a document in on time, they won't be able to review your application and then you won't even have a chance of getting in. So don't miss those those requests and make sure that you're keeping on top of all of that. That's my first reminder.

Athena  4:04  

So my second one is related, make sure you have access to that school specific applicant portal because that is where you're going to see anything come in. And if you have to upload any other materials it's going to be through there. Schools in general are getting lots and lots of emails from applicants from parents from schools during the season. So following instructions and following the link to upload things the way that they say to that's going to be very helpful that's going to I mean, it's not like that makes them like you more but it definitely helps keep the process smooth and keeps people less anxious.

Athena  4:46  

And finally, apply for financial aid if you haven't already. There are deadlines for financial aid. They usually give a little bit more time than the regular application deadline but you don't want to miss that, because if you aren't able to apply for financial aid this year, you most likely will not be able to apply in the future. And this is specifically for need based financial aid. And for merit scholarships, you know, why not give yourself the chance to be considered for those. So anyway, keep on top of those deadlines as you have been with your school deadlines.

Venkat Raman  5:22  

Awesome. So now, let's see I do all those things. When? When do I find out if I got in?

Athena  5:35  

Yeah, so that is definitely a most important question. It depends on every school, they have their own timeline. But generally speaking, early application results come out around mid December. So around December 15, a few schools might have a little bit later at the start of 2022. If they have a different schedule, they'll usually post that on their website for applicants, you can also look at different internet fora, the chat rooms, their college confidential, Reddit, all of those, we all know about them. And we know that people are usually posting when they're receiving any correspondence. So you can check those two and see how the rest of the world is doing. But I tend to avoid those because those can make people more anxious. So yeah, just know that around December 15, you'll you should check that applicant portal, check your email.

Venkat Raman  6:28  


Venkat Raman  6:33

So Athena, help us understand what these early application outcomes are.

Athena  6:42  [Early Application Outcomes]

You're going to see one of three different options in that email or in that decision notice application decision notification. So the three different statuses are admitted, deferred, and rejected.

Admitted, is self explanatory. So you can celebrate congratulations you got in deferred and rejected sometimes are a little bit confusing.

Athena  7:10  

So when you say deferred, that means that in this early round of the application cycle, you are not one of the candidates selected for admission, but your application will be looked at, again, in the regular decision round in the spring. So it's almost like you've applied twice, and you didn't get in round one. So you're going to try again, for round two, you don't need to do anything extra necessarily. At this time, I will share later some strategies for how you should approach deferred status. But technically speaking, your application will be automatically reviewed in the regular decision round. So you know, if you get a deferred status, I think that it, you know, you can keep up some hope that you might get in the school I've had, I've had plenty of students who didn't make it into the early round, but then they got in during regular decision. And I think first you have to know that in the early this app, early application. Early Decision rounds, a lot of times, especially at the top schools, the students who get in during this round are exceptionally exceptionally qualified. I'm sure you are too, but the pool is just really super strong. In addition, there are also athletes, recruited athletes, often legacy applicants, so students whose families have attended that school for many generations, it's just a very different caliber of students than sort of the general pool. So if you do not get it, make it into the early round, it really does not mean you are any less qualified than someone who did get in, it's just that the pool is exceptionally strong. And so let's see what happens in the spring.

Athena  8:56  

If you get the rejected status, this means that your decision is final about your application and it will no longer be considered it will not be considered again in the spring regular decision pool. So effectively, you know, your time with that school is over and you will you cannot consider going there at all. So if you get a deferred status versus a rejected status, I think there are some different strategies around how to deal with that.

Venkat Raman  9:28  

So what should a student be doing if they are deferred?

Athena  9:38  [To Dos if Deferred]

If you get to a deferred status, what I always recommend to my students is to do what you can do in between the time you submitted your application in November, and, you know, January to shore up your accomplishments and to really think through Okay, is there any update about my grades? any tests I might have taken like the SAT or ACT or anything like that, any accomplishments I've had in my extracurricular activities that I want to share with them to show that you're keeping, you're keeping up the level of excellence that you have had even before your application. So that's something to kind of keep track of and share in a cover letter to them. If you get deferred.

Athena  10:24  

In Addition, you might want to consider an extra recommendation. Because a lot of times, if you'll remember, in the regular application, you have to have usually one to two recommendations from a classroom teacher. So someone who is able to highlight your academic excellence, occasionally, you might have another recommendation from someone outside of the classroom. But you know, you want to reflect on that and think, Okay, well, maybe, you know, my, for example, biology teacher talks about how great I am at science and in class. And maybe my other teacher also was talking about how great I am as a student, maybe I want to highlight, maybe I want to pick someone to share recommendation about my leadership skills, or showing how much I care about the community, or just something that, you know, a key personality trait, speaking to SPARC, right, showing your resilience, your intellectual curiosity, your ability to deal with challenges or to pursue, to pursue challenges and all of that, think about that, and see who might be able to talk about that in more depth than, say, your classroom teachers did.

Athena  11:36  

So by sharing those, that additional information with schools, you're, you're really trying to enhance their idea. You're trying to enhance the sort of vision that you try to put forth in your original profile of how you have the personality traits, and the motivation and the the level of excellence in your academics that it takes to get into this school. And so you want to provide materials that are only going to add to that to that idea. So that's what you want to do with deferred, if you get a deferred status.

Athena  12:11  

The last thing that I tell students as well, is to talk to your school counselor, or the point person at your school who is sending those transcripts and materials to the university directly. Because often, universities are more likely to share with them helpful information than they would a parent or the student, the applicant themselves. So you might want to, you know, talk to your school and see if they can, you know, ask any more information or, or any tips from the university about how, how you might be able to share the most relevant information with them when they're reviewing your application during the regular decision round? Yeah, so that's a lot of tips. So basically, share extra information that enhances your profile, and ask your school for assistance in finding out what what might what else the university might want to know about you.

Venkat Raman  13:11  

Athena, if one is rejected, how should they handle that?

Athena  13:15  [To Dos if Rejected]

If you get it status of rejected, You know, I know that that can be that can feel maybe disheartening at first, no one likes getting rejected from anything. But I do think you should use that as a point of reflection, right? So if you're getting a rejected status from a school, that was your top choice, you know, maybe think about whether it's you maybe the the GPA or the test scores, that you know, the average candidates who are being accepted, maybe it's maybe you're not there, right? Or maybe it just really actually wasn't a good fit. And you have to think about other schools, where you know, that you were originally thinking of as matches or safeties, just to make sure that you are getting into schools and and that you have a chance to be accepted somewhere. Right. So that is hard to swallow, I think at first, but I think it's better to be pragmatic about it at this point and understand that that is a possibility, right.

Athena  14:18  

And then I think the second thing is with the common application with a and I think with a coalition application, too. If you do want to change your essays at this time, or some parts of the application or just maybe think about how your profile is being presented in your application, you can change it in between schools, you can't change your recommendations, but you can change your section. You know, take a more critical look at what you're presenting and see how you can improve that for the regular decision round.

Venkat Raman  14:57  

Tell us what is this ED2?

Athena  15:02  [What is ED2?]

There are some schools and these tend to be upper echelon schools as well, that offer another chance for you to apply early decision usually in early January. And the acceptance rates for early decision to I mean, it depends, like, some people ask me, is it different from Early Decision one, I mean, it's the same sort of thing where if you apply, and you get accepted, you're expected to go there and to withdraw your applications from other schools. And the timeline is usually that you apply for early decision to in January, and then you find out about the decision in February. And then if you know, a lot of schools have their just their decisions for regular decision coming out in mid March, late March, then you have to, you're taking a risk by of not finding out what your admissions decision was by accepting an early decision to offer earlier on, but you have the security of being accepted to a school that was probably closer to your top choice and going with that. So there are trade offs, right.

Athena  16:15  

So I would say that if you are a candidate who maybe is seeing a lot of deferred or rejected statuses from early action, or early, you know, early decision schools, consider applying EDtwo for a school that wasn't at the top of your list, but you know, you'd still be very happy to go to obviously, because they, again, that's a binding decision. And schools do take that into account. And they are trying, you know, they do want to fill some of their pool with their early decision candidates if they can. And I would say, though, that if you really just want to maximize your options and see where you get in at the end of the day, then hey, don't apply early decision to anywhere, just wait for regular decision to come out. It's really, it's really a toss up here. But I think that there is by applying early decision to there's a level of security sometimes that that comes with just choosing one school and kind of going after it. And if you get, you know, deferred or rejected from early decision to then the same rules apply for how you should think about your regular decision applications.

Venkat Raman  17:33  

So I understand some colleges have alumni interviews, what's this all about? And how should a student prep for that?

Athena  17:43  [Alumni Interview]

Because some schools, and you know, this, especially like Ivy, League's, and all of that, they may request for you to participate in an alumni interview. So what this means is that you get to have a 30 to 40 minute, maybe longer conversation, it could be in person or virtual, depending on where you're based with an alum from from that institution. So I know that this could be nerve racking, you might be wondering, are they going to quiz me? Are they going to try to trick me to see if I am actually not qualified for the school? What are they going to say? What are they going to ask me, and I say this as a former interviewer for for my alma mater for Harvard, as that the purpose of this really is a conversation, it's really 99.9% of alumni are not here to make you feel bad about yourself. And they and they want you they want you to succeed, we want you to have a good experience. Because in, you know, in on our end, we are ambassadors for our school, and we don't want you to walk away saying, oh, gosh, those people from Harvard are terrible. So, you know, we we have a purpose in this as well.

Athena  18:57  

So yes, there's a conversation. And the most important thing is that schools just want to make sure that you are who you say you are, that you're kind of that there's not really misrepresentation going on. So on a very basic level, you're definitely going to pass that bar.

Athena  19:15  

The second thing is that, you know, we want to find out about your personal motivations. What kind of qualities come out when you're talking to us, you know, what stands out about you in that way? What and what you consider your sort of main academic or extracurricular accomplishments and you know, involvements have significance to you. So, we just want to know more about that, like, what makes you you and what, what drives you to succeed. And, you know, everyone has their own unique take on that and there's no one else who's gonna say it like you can.

Athena  19:53  

Question is, what weight does the interview have on your application? If you say no, Is that a bad thing? Um, so I will say you should say yes to the interview, because that's just another data point for the university to understand how awesome you are. So refusing that opportunity doesn't make any sense. So definitely say yes to the interview. However, having an interview doesn't mean that you are more likely to get in than someone who isn't able to do an interview. So that's the thing is not everyone will be able to get an interview just because it's dependent on where alumni are located, and how many volunteers, these are all volunteers. So how many volunteers are available to participate? But if you do get the interview requests, say, Yes, understand that, it's just another data point, it's not a make or break situation. Um, so I've interviewed a lot of students, and you know, they haven't gotten in. Um, so you know, but it's better that if you have that chance to just present yourself and share a little bit more than we can share that with the admissions officers. And it's always better to have that additional positive data point than having nothing at all or a bad one. So think of it like that. And hopefully, that takes a little bit of pressure off the situation.

Athena  21:10  

So I think, to everyone listening to this first read, and second, just take, I think the best way to prepare for this is to just think about, you know, what have you done, what did you write about in your application? Right? What really do you think was the most meaningful class you took maybe, or the most meaningful extracurricular, who took part in? Is there anything about your family or any struggles that you face that you and overcame that you want to share with the person interviewing you? You know, just think about that. And as long as you talk about that, with in a genuine, enthusiastic way, you're going to be just fine. So that's, that's the big thing.

Athena  21:56  

I would also say to that, I think it's good to prepare one or two questions about the school, maybe about the alumni his experience at that school, so that you can show that you've done some research or not just applying to the school just for the name, but that you have, you've looked into what the student experience might be like, and you're trying to ask a few more questions.

Athena  22:21  

Other people have asked me, you know, do I need to bring anything do I need to dress you know, in a certain way. And I would say no dress, you know, kind of, you can dress casually, but not to casually write something appropriate to, it's almost like meeting a new friend, like pick something that you would wear to meet a new friend you want to make a good impression with.

Athena  22:44  

And you don't need to send almost always you like you do not need to send anything like a resume or CD. If you do have it on hand, we'll look at it. But you do not need to have that. It's really about how you present yourself and how articulately, you're able to share what drives you and what you care about and why. So as long as you have that in mind, and have kind of thought about that, it's going to be great. Also to send a thank you note, after after the call, or after the meeting, because it's good professional etiquette. And it will also help us stand out more to the interviewer.

Venkat Raman  23:30  

Great, when do these Admission Decisions come out?

Athena  23:34  [When are the Admission Decisions]

Yeah, so you'll start hearing back about more decisions from you know, late, from I said mid December, right for the early rounds, and then on in the spring, until the mid March, and especially the end of March. So by the last day of March, almost all schools will have decisions out. And you know, a lot of people will be using that month of April to figure out you know, what are my options, weighing the options, maybe visiting the schools and trying to decide where they want to go. In the US the national day to make a decision is May 1. Some schools have rolling admissions, which means that they might have more slots available until after May the May 1 deadline. And so you could still apply later. But I think the key dates that you should have in your mind are, you know, mid March, late March to get all the decisions back and then may 1 to make a decision for yourself of where you want to go to school. And that way you have the maximum amount of time to decide or to kind of go through the visa process and get a path to apply to that, you know, get ready to move and get ready to go to school and get housing. So those are the key dates in your timeline for early 2022.

Venkat Raman  24:54  

So Athena, you've just been great. Any closing thoughts as we conclude this podcast series?

Athena  25:01  [Close]

I just want to reiterate my congratulations for finishing the first round of applications to schools. I think what I noticed with my students is that, you know, once you get into the cycle of writing and understanding what schools are looking for in application essays, things just get a lot easier. At some point, I think, understanding that you just do what you got to do, do your best, right, and then let it go, let the universe sort of make its way to your application. Right? That that's, that's all you can do. And so once you do that, just sit back and relax and see what happens. I know at the end of the day, people always end up where they're meant to be. And if you approach it with a positive mindset, you are going to have a fantastic experience, wherever you end up going for university. So good luck to everyone. And I can't wait to see you on the other side.

Venkat Raman  25:56  

Fabulous. So, Athena. This is the last of the series segment. So thank you for all the support through the entire podcast series. And sure, we'll talk more, but for now. Be safe. Take care, Talk to you soon.

Athena  26:14  

Yes, you too. Thank you so much, Venkat, it's been a pleasure.

Venkat Raman  26:18  

Bye, Athena. Bye bye.


Venkat Raman  26:27

Hi Again!

Hope you liked Segment #10 of the Series How to Build a Stand out US College Application.

In this Segment discussed what to do after Submitting the Early Applications and beyond.

We covered:

  • I Just Submitted. Now What?
  • Early Decision Outcomes and Strategies;
  • Early Decision 2 (ED2);
  • Alumni Interview; and
  • Admissions Decisions

As mentioned earlier, based on this Segment we have an assignment for students in the 11th standard/grade. Check out the Assignments for the previous Segments.

Venkat  27:07   [Call to Action - Subscribe for Assignments]

Now, You need to Subscribe to get the assignments.

It’s easy To Subscribe.

Just email to podcast at almamatters.io [podcast@almamatters.io] with the Subject: Assignments.

We will send you an email with instructions on the assignments.

Venkat  27:32

This series is for high school students in their 11th Grade/Standard and who plan to apply to US Colleges at the end of this year.

This series is being created in collaboration with Admissionado, a US-based college counseling company.

Transcripts for this podcast and previous podcasts are on almamatters.io forward slash podcasts [almamatters.io/podcasts].

To stay connected with us, Subscribe to Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts or Spotify or visit anchor.fm forward slash almamatters [anchor.fm/almamatters] to check us out.

Thank you again for listening to this podcast and for your support through the entire Series.

Till we meet again, take care and be safe.

Thank you!

Summary Keywords

US Colleges, College Admissions, College Applications, 5 Things about Letters of Recommendation, Letters of Recommendation, LOR

Is College in US for you?