23 06, 2016

How to Prepare For An Ivy League College Education

By | 2017-04-19T12:38:04+00:00 June 23rd, 2016|Brown, college, College Admissions, Columbia, Common App, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Ivy League, Ivy League Advice, Ivy League College, MIT, Princeton, UPenn, Yale|0 Comments

If you have always dreamed of having your son or daughter graduate from an Ivy League college — which, to define the term, are the eight schools that make up the Ivy League and including: Harvard, Princeton, Yale (the “Big Three”), as well as Brown, Dartmouth, Cornell, Columbia, and the University of Pennsylvania —  there are many thing you can do that will help your teen succeed in the Ivy League college admissions and college application process.

#1.  Make sure they take as many AP courses as possible:  College admissions officers, especially Ivy League college admissions officers want to see that your student is not only challenging themselves by taking the most challenging courses possible at their particular school, but they want to see that they are ALREADY fully immersed in college-level classes, before they even get to college. So, if your student’s high school DOESN’T offer any AP course work, make sure they get it somewhere else (like enrolling in a community college at night).

This shows that they will be able to handle the work-load once they get in to a highly competitive school.  It shows they have the intellect and can take the pressure, and that kind of proof is what makes admissions officers happy, and lets your high school student actually pass the test and get in!

#2: Make sure they have extracurricular activities that are interesting and different:  By different, this means something more unique than piano, violin, or swimming.  Oh no!  What if you’re saying, “but my kid is taking piano, violin and swimming!”

These activities are fine if they’re either a musical prodigy, or an Olympic medalist, but in case they’re not, try…just try…to branch out and have the, expand into other activities that will make them stand out more than their friends and become even more unique to college admissions officers – again, especially Ivy League college admissions officers.

Schools like to diversify their class, and they like students who have done, or are doing, incredibly interesting things.  So, branch out.  Do something different – on top of the regular “smart kid” activities like classical music or Model UN.  You don’t want to just do what every other smart kid does: ESPECIALLY for the Ivy League!

#3: Let them choose their own, real interests:  Really.  Don’t push your kid to go into Engineering or Finance as a potential major in college if they’re sincerely telling you they want to study Greek, or eventually get a Ph.D in Microbiology.  The college admissions officers want to know what REALLY interests your student, again, especially for the Ivy League, and what they don’t want to see is someone who’s been programmed by their parents to say something that simply sounds like the hot thing to study right now, or with the only purpose of setting your student up for a (perceived) well-paying job.

The Ivy League schools in particular like to admit students who want to study something DIFFERENT.  Remember, they employ a lot of professors, and they need to fill the Greek classes, too.  The Ivy League colleges often admit students who have a WIDE VARIETY OF INTERESTS, especially in the humanities.

These are also the students who might later go on to law school, or medical school, enter a policy program in foreign relations, and/or get their Ph.D.

The Ivy League colleges in particular like students who appreciate the value of a broad education — one that will leave them post-graduation with a full and solid understanding of today’s world.  In other worlds, the Ivy League colleges are more interested in graduating people who will always be “well-educated” by anyone’s standards, and that means being able to speak on a wide variety of interests and topics at some depth.

What they are NOT interested in, are people who are simply looking at college as a way to get a job.  They try to weed those “non-intellectuals” the “non-scholars” out.  Those students honestly are better served by going to a state school or one of the more highly competitive science or engineering schools like MIT.

#4: In summary, Ivy League colleges are for students who appreciate learning…about everything!  They are students who have a passion for new things and intellectual topics, and understand and are well-versed in a wide-variety of literary, artistic, political, and academic possibilities.

If you can encourage that mindset, your child has a chance to get in.  Strong essays, high grades, good SAT scores, glowing high school recommendations, and a impressive college interview will all help complete the college admissions package, but instilling in your student a desire to learn, and to convey that attitude about learning in everything and anything as they go forth…THAT’s what Ivy League admissions officers look for the most, and that is the “secret sauce” that will  help them get in!

[I’m a former Harvard admissions interviewer and a Harvard graduate, and currently run the Ivy League college admissions consulting firm: www.IVY LEAGUE ESSAY.com  Contact me for a free consultation today, and get into the Ivy League college of your dreams! Email:  IvyLeagueEssayInfo@gmail.com ]

9 06, 2016

How to Improve Your Ivy League College Application

By | 2017-04-17T22:51:49+00:00 June 9th, 2016|Berkeley, Brown, College Admissions, Common App, Cornell, Dartmouth, Duke, Emory, Harvard, Ivy League, Ivy League Advice, Ivy League College, Michigan, MIT, NYU, Princeton, UCLA, UPenn, Yale|0 Comments

If you’re applying to an Ivy League college you already know that high grades, tons of AP classes, stellar SAT scores, unique extracurriculars, and fantastic teacher recs can all play a role in your application and acceptance to some of the most prestigious colleges in America.

The following are top ten tips though that you may not have thought of that when, combined with the standard qualifications above (i.e. stellar GPA, etc), can actually serve to help you get in!

  1. Social Media:  Schools check.  So, that said, you want to make sure that there is nothing crude or lewd on your facebook page and you’re not making extreme non-pc comments all over twitter.  It’s okay to show yourself having fun with your friends, and you certainly don’t have to show yourself as 100% scholarly and serious (it is a social outlet, after all), and you’re even allowed to have an opinion that maybe other people don’t necessarily agree with, but just keep in mind that the college admission officers are trying to get a sneak peak and quick overview of who you might be online. If you think your fb page shows you as an all around great person with dedicated intellectual and creative interests and great humanitarian projects under your belt (and on your page) then let them look.  It could help you.  More often than not though, it won’t.  Personally, I’d set my fb page to private right now to block anyone who isn’t a known friend. After all, why take the risk?
  2. Send your interviewer a thank you email: This is another tip that some might think of, and some won’t.  Sending a very BRIEF thank you, if you do in fact have your interviewer’s email address (some schools do not make this available) this is a sign of having good manners, which translates into a sign of strong upbringing and class.  The Ivy League especially is deciding whether you fit into their school culture, not only if you have the grades to succeed.  Sending a thank you (just 2-3 sentences at most- don’t go longer) can leave a positive impression in your interviewer’s eyes, and that translates to a positive feeling when they sit down to report on their interview with you, that can help to get you in!
  3. Mention legacy:  Do you have a family member who went to the school?  If not that that particular college, did they go to another college within the Ivy League.  If so, mention it.  Don’t feel like you’re bragging.  The Ivy League universities value “legacies” highly, so even though it’s usually a question on the application, mention it during your college interview, as well. The Ivy League in particular loves tradition and preserving and honoring family lines.  If your mom went to Columbia and your dad is a Harvard grad = mention it.  Believe me, it will help.
  4. Mention 1st Generation: As an alternative to the above, perhaps you’re the first one in your family to ever even go to college!  If this is you, don’t worry, MENTION IT – somewhere in your essays.  Again, this will only help you.
  5. Are you a twin? Yes, I know this one isn’t going to apply to most people, but it’s worth mentioning. The Ivy League in particular loves admitting twins who are equally ambitious and have the required credentials.  So, if you’re a twin – identically or fraternal – this should be everywhere in your college essays, and specifically at least mentioned in you Common App.   The colleges like anything and everything that makes you unique, and having a twin or sibling that is going to be in the same incoming calls puts you in that “special and unique” category, especially if you’re special and unique and can stand out in others areas, as well!

Those are just a few helpful tips that you might not find elsewhere regarding how to make your college applications, and especially your Ivy League college applications stand out even more.

Stay tuned in the coming days for even more!

[I’m a former Harvard admissions interviewer and a Harvard graduate, and currently run the Ivy League Essay college admissions firm: www.IVY LEAGUE ESSAY.com  Check out my website or send me an email: IvyLeagueEssayInfo@gmail.com, and request a free consultation today!]

 

 

8 05, 2016

How Do Prep Schools Groom Students for the Ivy League?

By | 2017-04-17T22:51:49+00:00 May 8th, 2016|College Admissions, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Duke, Harvard, Ivy League, Ivy League College, Princeton, UPenn, Yale|0 Comments

Harvard RowingApplying to college and ever asked yourself this question?  Let me provide an answer:

Since the prep schools are usually extremely well financially endowed they, first of all, have a very large assortment of AP classes available to their students (more than usually offered at a public school).  The more AP classes you take, the more qualified the Ivy League schools see your candidacy.

The prep schools also have teachers and guidance counselors who, more than likely, are Ivy League graduates themselves and so know what is required in terms of achievements and classes, and try to guide and mentor their students accordingly.

Prep  schools also usually have MUCH smaller classes, which means the teachers really get to know their six students, for example.  Think about the difference that could make when writing a recommendation letter = having SIX students you know well who are applying to college, versus 30 in a class.  That’s part of the difference.

Furthermore, the schools themselves, especially if you’re talking about the elite prep boarding schools in New England, or the top private schools in NYC, have intense admissions criteria themselves, that ensure that only the top students who apply are even offered this “best-of-the-best” opportunity.

The prep schools themselves also are usually very active in extracurricular sports and activities (sometimes at the Olympic level) that bring recognition to the school nationally.

Then there’s the fact that the admissions officers at Ivy League schools have come to know that any student who went to such-and-such academy is going to be a likely candidate for the Ivy League, otherwise they never would have gotten in to their current prep school.  This makes the admissions committee’s job easier, as they see a student from that school and they immediately go to the top of the pile for serious consideration.

Schools like Harvard and Princeton and Yale also maintain close relationships with guidance counselors at the top prep schools and basically recruit there.

I, myself, though got into Harvard from a public school!  It is possible and a lot of my friends at Harvard went to public school, too.

Hope that helps!

[I’m a former Harvard admissions officer and a Harvard graduate, and currently run the Ivy League admissions firm www.IvyLeagueEssay.com  Check out my website and blog or contact me today and get into the Ivy League!]

7 05, 2016

What Each Ivy League College is Best Known For!

By | 2016-07-01T13:16:28+00:00 May 7th, 2016|Brown, College Admissions, Columbia, Common App, Cornell, Dartmouth, Duke, Emory, Harvard, Ivy League, Ivy League College, UPenn, Yale|2 Comments

Each university has its own niche.  It’s own “brand” per se.  What it’s best known for in terms of reputation.  The following list is a very brief (but true) compilation detailing each Ivy League school and what specific programs or majors it is best known for around the world.

First of all allow me to add though, that all of the schools mentioned here are excellent and truly do offer a broad and wide-reaching liberal arts education that will leave you extremely well-educated and respected around the globe, but it is correct that some schools are known for certain specialties more than others.


1. Yale is known for turning out dramatists, poets, and CIA officers (government and international relations).
2. Harvard is Harvard (also strong in government, engineering, philosophy, languages)
3. Princeton is known for mathematics and physics (Einstein used to teach there).
4. Brown is known for its creativity and artist types (including poets, writers and playwrights)
5. UPenn is known for its proximity to the Wharton school and hence, business and finance
6. Cornell is known as one of the easier Ivy Leagues to get into and has a strong business/hospitality school link via its grad program.
7. Columbia is known for literature, religion, psychology, languages and its proximity to Wall Street.
8. Dartmouth is known for liberal arts majors, as well as those wanting to get into the Tuck school of business post-graduation.
Furthermore, you have what I call “Ivy-like” schools, in terms of their level of difficulty and competition in terms of getting in, and this includes schools like MIT (obviously known for science, math and engineering), Stanford (look up it’s proximity to Silicon Valley and it’s niche for business), Duke and Johns Hopkins (both famous for their medical school and thereby pre-med programs).

So, that’s just a sample list that tells you where you might want to target if you’re looking at the Ivy League.

The following is also a good article about how to get in to the most competitive schools, and if you need to know your major before applying (i.e. it helps).  If you want to take a look, then also read: Do You Need to Know Your Major When Applying to College?

Good luck and I hope that helps!

[I’m a former Harvard admissions interviewer and a Harvard graduate and currently run the Ivy League college admissions firm:http://www.IvyLeagueEssay.com  Feel free to contact me today and let me help you get into the school of your dreams! IvyLeagueEssayInfo@gmail.com ]