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Michelle Hernandez and Mimi Doe are renowned college admissions consultants. They specialize in helping students raise their profiles for admission to highly selective colleges. Ivy Bound’s Mark Greenstein posed a few questions based on recent statistics on Early Decision acceptances.

What's Your Score?Q and A with Mimi and Michele:

Mark Greenstein: Those ED statistics for competitive colleges look FAR more favorable than for regular admission. Are the ED candidates better qualified?

Michele & Mimi: Remember in the early round, odds go up because colleges want to fill their classes. Duke, for instance, filled up 50% of their class in early, Dartmouth 47% and Williams also 47%. Hooked candidates make up a good part of that group in early as you can see from the stats. So, an academically strong candidate stands out even more. Our students all have an early plan clearly outlined before their senior year even begins to take advantage of the big bump up in odds.

MG: Do these ED stats include recruitable athletes in a disproportionate way?

M & M: Not just recruited athletes, but other hooked candidates such as underrepresented minorities. The statistics get skewed a LITTLE, but even taking into account athletes and legacies, the acceptance rate is for sure higher in ED for “normal” apps and, keep in mind your app is read in a small pool, so they can really read what you wrote carefully (as opposed to the main pool which has 30K plus kids!) – also, the ED pool is lower stat wise than the regular pool, so a strong student (but not over the top) stands out!

MG: Have you noticed any 3-year trend among the applicants you have successfully steered to elite school admissions?

M & M: Don’t waste your early “ticket” on a Single Choice Early Action unless you have some super high level awards and are #1 or #2 in your class. Also, if you have an interest in the humanities, focus on that interest and take it to a high level, as STEM kids are swamping admissions offices.

MG: In your work with students, can you discern what type of students need top SAT/ACT scores and which types might be able to get in despite mediocre scores?

M & M: All students need top scores. Even a recruited athlete needs to meet a number to ensure the Academic Index of the recruited team.

Michelle and Mimi are the Directors of Top Tier Admissions. Mark is the Founder of Ivy Bound Test Prep.