Ivy League Early Decision: Nov 1 Deadline!
Ivy League Early Decision applications are due Nov 1.
With only one week left, what can you do to make sure your college admissions essays are in the best state possible to secure your chances of getting into the Ivy League? Read on for the “Top Ten” tips for Early Decision from a former Harvard Interviewer:
- Early Decision Tip #1: Only submit your best work. Yes, early decision will help you, but if you’re struggling to finish your college admissions essays on time, just to get in by the deadline, and as a result are submitting sub-par, or what you know is not your best work, it is better to WAIT and submit regular decision, than get rejected now because you ran out of time.
- Early Decision Tip #2: Make sure you’ve chosen the best school for your early decision (or early action) pick! I usually tell my students who work with me via my Ivy League College Admissions Consulting service, that you want to pick the most difficult school on your list for early decision, as it will give you a slight (slight! as in many 5-10%) boost to your chances, BUT you don’t want to “waste” your decision if you truly, truly, don’t have a fighting chance of being competitive for the school.
That means if you know your GPA isn’t stellar, or maybe your SAT score isn’t what would normally be considered “solid” or “high” then your chances of getting in to Harvard, or Princeton University are going to be way less, and you need to carefully rethink your decision, as perhaps you would be missing out on getting in to Columbia University, for example, or UPenn, or Cornell = all Ivy League schools, and extremely competitive, but sometimes slightly easier to get into than Harvard, Stanford, or Princeton.
My caveat? Choose wisely.
- Early Decision Tip #3: Ok, and now for the actual essay tips — DO NOT REPEAT YOURSELF IN YOUR ADMISSIONS ESSAYS! Repeating yourself is one of the seven deadly sins of college applications. Each essay is an opportunity to reveal a different side of yourself. Don’t waste that opportunity to reiterate something you already talked about somewhere else. It will count against you.
- Early Decision Tip #4: If you’re a legacy SAY IT. I know in this day and age we all like to think that everything is above board and equal, but the truth is, the Ivy League schools still value legacy. That means if your mom or dad went to Harvard, as with your Early Decision choice, it will give you a slight boost. Now, for all those who are not legacy, that doesn’t mean you’re out of the running. It doesn’t even mean you’ll be looked over in favor of someone who is — it just means that if you have a family member who graduated from the school, take advantage of the “boost” and make sure you say it within one of the essays, and not just on the application.
- Early Decision Tip #5: As with the above, if you are ranked nationally as an athlete in any sport, SAY IT. I’m surprised how many students have very significant achievements in all kinds of athletics, but because they are not being actively recruited, think this just doesn’t matter. It matters. As with everything else above, it will give you a “boost.” You want the boost.
- Early Decision Tip #6: Make sure you are choosing the strongest topic for your Common App essay! The Common App essay, as all of you reading this know, is THE most important part of your college application after your grades + SAT / ACT. You better make sure you have chosen the best topic for you. The most common mistake I see with my students, over and over again, is choosing a weak topic. If you’re not sure if your topic is weak or not, seek out someone like me, and I will be happy to tell you. As you can see in the link below, I offer free consultations. Did you hear that? That’s FREE.
- Early Decision Tip #7: Always take advantage of any “additional information” essay and do it. Each essay, again, is an opportunity to show a different side of yourself. Why would you not take this opportunity to tell the admissions committee even more?
- Early Decision Tip #8: The Ivy League schools, in particular, want to see how sophisticated you are in your tastes. In other words, cultured. That means that supplemental questions, or questions on the Common App application itself that ask you to list books or TV shows you might have watched or read, should be filled in with books and shows that are more intellectual in nature. That’s what they’re looking for, and you should think twice if your whole list is filled with pop culture teenage nonsense. The list is really a trick question. Have doubts if your lists pass the test? Ask me.
- Early Decision Tip #9: Use your supplemental essays to show the admissions committee what makes you unique. You want to use the essays as an opportunity to showcase the most unique and interesting aspects of yourself. “Interesting” is the key word — think about something you do, are, or participate in that makes you different than your peers, or is something you have achieved at a very high level.
- Early Decision Tip #10: The order of your “Activities List” on the Common App matters! Again, you want to put the MOST INTERESTING activity at top, not necessarily the thing you spend the most time doing. Remember, everything about your college application, and especially if you are applying to the Ivy League (or Ivy League competitive schools) is about showing the admissions committee who you are, and why admitted you to their very select class, will only make their class better.
Good luck, and reach out to me if you’re looking for more bespoke Ivy League college admissions support or advice. Thinking of transferring? Check out my blog post here: Transferring to the Ivy League?
I’m a former Harvard admissions interviewer and Harvard grad, and run my Ivy League College Admissions Essay Consulting firm: www.IvyCollegeEssay.com out of NYC, and work with students all over the world. Contact me today for a free consultation, and get into the Ivy League!
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