16 12, 2019

Rejected Early Decision? Ivy League College Admission Help

By |2019-12-16T14:02:05-05:00December 16th, 2019|Brown, College Admissions, Columbia, Common App, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Ivy League, Yale|0 Comments

A lot of students this week got rejected from their early decision (ED) schools, and the heartbreak is horrible. Maybe it was a “reach” school, maybe it was Princeton or Harvard or Brown University, or maybe you just really, really wanted to go there from the time you were 8.

Getting rejected from your first choice college though, doesn’t mean you can’t still get in to a really good school — it does mean however, that you want to take a serious look (or have someone like me) take a serious look at your previous application and essays, to make sure you don’t make the same mistake TWICE.

Often, the essays are the reason people get rejected from their Early Decision schools, when everything else in their application (their stats, SAT scores, grades, extracurriculars, rec letters, etc) are stellar and up to par.  It comes down to the writing, and more specifically, usually your topic choice for the Common App essay, or way it is written.

This is good news and bad news.  The good news is, you can change or revise your essay now, before you submit to your other schools and make the same mistake twice.  The bad news is, you have to be confident enough to know that maybe you don’t know how an essay really “reads” via the college’s admission office, and you should seek out someone who does know how things work, so pure pride and “but I liked my essay” doesn’t get in your own way.

I will repeat myself: most often, when everything else in a student’s background is “good” or even “excellent” and at the level it needs to be for the school targeted, the reason for the college’s Early Decision rejection is The Common App Essay, and how it is written = not as good as you think.

So, my one piece of advice to any of you who were just rejected by your Early Decision school, and are now maybe panicking a little as you apply to your other schools, if you have the resources, take the time to reach out and have someone like myself (a former Harvard admissions interviewer + Harvard grad) look over your “rejected” Early Decisions application, and tell you what you need to do or change, so you don’t get rejected again.

A huge number of my students go on to get in to ALL of their other schools.  The worst thing you can do if you were rejected my friends, is nothing.  If it didn’t work the first time, something needs to change.  My advice = figure out what that is.

A Early Decision rejection is a warning shot.  Heed it, and make the changes.  Otherwise, you’re only throwing the same dart at the college or even Ivy League college board, and just hoping it will stick.

[I’m a former Harvard interviewer and Harvard grad, and currently run the top Ivy League College Admissions Firm: www.IvyCollegeEssay.com out of Manhattan.  I work with the top students all over the world.  Contact me today for a free consultation, and get into the school of your dreams!]

 

 

 

2 12, 2019

The Ivy League College Admissions Essay That Will Get You Into Harvard

By |2021-10-28T09:25:49-04:00December 2nd, 2019|College Admissions, Common App, Harvard, Ivy League|1 Comment

The Ivy League College Admissions Essay That Will Get You Into Harvard

This is a strong example of a successful Harvard admissions essay, and I will be posting examples this week of admission essays from other Ivy League schools like Princeton, Yale, Columbia and Brown, that got people in.

The essay was written by a student named Calvin Heiman, to give credit where credit is due.  However, as a former Harvard admissions interviewer, had this come across my desk while I was interviewing for the university (and if everything else in his application was super strong) he would have gotten my recommendation to admit.

Here is his Common App essay in its entirety. It has everything I was trained by Harvard admissions to look for: originality, personal emotion, serious challenge, adversity, and yet his positive outlook comes through, and he creates a great, thoughtful and somewhat whimsical conclusion at the end that ties everything together. In other words, he paints a great picture with words.

More so, his Common App essay really gives us a sense of who this person is: what he values, the tastes and flavors of his world (literally), and once again, his positive outlook, despite real, serious hardship going on in his family.

And now for the essay, so you can see a prime example of what a strong essay looks like, if you’re trying to get in to an Ivy League college this year.  Here it is!

I love pasta.

I’m not Italian, nor do I know anyone who is. I’m a half-Polish, half-German kid from Boulder, Colorado. I should instead crave perogies, wienerschnitzel, or maybe vegan avocado toast sprinkled with microgreens.

So why exactly do I love pasta? Memories.

When I was seven, my favorite restaurant, Noodles, had mac-n-cheese that was legendary. However, it played second fiddle to Pasta Fresca, my little secret that hid down on the bottom right of the menu. I would order it every time, exactly the same: extra tomatoes, half spinach, double feta. Perfection.

But with my insatiable desire for perfection, came complications; it was impossible for a seven-year-old to routinely find his way to Noodles, come up with $8.50, and convince the cashier that No, I am not lost, and Yes, I know the feta will cost extra. Therefore, I had to get creative. Armed with a to-go menu and one brief shopping trip later, I attempted to make Pasta Fresca. I unfortunately learned, however, that an ingredient list alone contains no indication of measurement; a teaspoon quickly turns into a tablespoon. The result was a soupy, vinegary mess. That magic touch, that fresca, was missing. In fact, calling it Pasta Fresca would’ve been a crime. But it was my own–I made that pasta and there was something powerful in that.

Five years later, that warm glow of pride of my foray into Pasta Fresca was long gone. I had hit rock bottom. It was winter and I was living with my best friend. Sledding, snowball fights, and hot cocoa filled our days. So, how does a twelve-year-old living his dream hit rock bottom?

Cancer.

My brother Klaus was diagnosed with a rare form of childhood sarcoma that forced my family to New York City for treatment, while I was stuck in cold Colorado. Days bled into weeks, weeks into months of simply grinding away at school, craving the comfort of sleep, where I could forget my anxiety for a while. My sole comfort, the one thing that turned the worst of weeks into something bearable, was Gruffalo Pasta. Contrary to the name, it contained no mythical beast; it was simply penne with meat sauce, and yet there was something magical about it. Every Friday night, my friend’s family and I would sit down and eat Gruffalo Pasta with their famous garlic cheesy bread (worthy of its own essay). Laughs rang out as we played games, watched movies, and went sledding–we would be a family. Although my real family was thousands of miles away, every Friday night, home felt tangible.

When my family returned, spring gave way to summer, and with it came neverending afternoons of skinned knees, balls lost over fences, new neighborhood friends, and Mac n’ Cheese. We ripped through box after box, new faces cycling through the kitchen as mac n’ cheese lunches became a neighborhood tradition. There was a sense of independence that came with it, as us kids cooked it ourselves–exactly how we liked it. We added extra butter and milk, peas, chicken, bacon; whatever our little hearts desired. The days seemed infinite, brimming with possibility and spontaneity, with the comfort that there was always a mac n’ cheese lunch at someone’s house to look forward to.

Pasta continues to weave its thread through my life, from the Christmas dinners of Pasta Puttanesca, my pesto business started in 8th grade, gifts of exotic pasta and sauces for my birthday, to the cross-country team’s pasta parties. Pasta is a narrative tightly intertwined with that of my own. It’s been said that one should look for good in the world, whether it be memories, hope for the future, or simple joys, find that good that drives your every day. I say you need look no further than what is in front of you. I found that goodness in a bowl of pasta.

So, to conclude, this essay is solid. Of course his supplemental essays would also have to be equally solid, and show different and unique alternative sides of his experience and personality, but in terms of just looking at a strong Common App essay, it’s a good example.

I will be posting successful essays from each Ivy League college over the next few weeks, so you can see what works (and maybe what doesn’t), so subscribe to my blog, or follow my Ivy League subreddit on Reddit https://www.reddit.com/r/ivyleaguecollege/  and stay tuned!

Applying to college this year?  I’m a former Harvard admissions interviewer + Harvard grad, and run the award-winning Ivy League college admission consulting firm: www.IvyCollegeEssay.com Contact me today for a free consultation, and get into the school of your dreams!]

Are you a parent looking for Ivy League college help?  Check out my blog article here, especially for parents!: https://ivycollegeess.wpengine.com/2016/06/23/how-to-prepare-your-kid-for-an-ivy-league-college-education/

29 11, 2019

Things You Can Do to Boost Your Ivy League Application!

By |2020-01-19T12:26:19-05:00November 29th, 2019|Brown, College Admissions, Columbia, Common App, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Ivy League, The Harvard Admissions Interview, Yale|1 Comment

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, and check out my other Ivy League Essay articles, here: https://ivycollegeess.wpengine.com/2017/05/01/top-5-books-to-read-before-applying-to-an-ivy-league-college/

[I’m a former Harvard admissions interviewer and a Harvard graduate, and currently run the Ivy League Essay college admissions firm: www.IVY COLLEGE ESSAY.com  Contact me for a free consultation today!]

23 11, 2019

Your Ivy League College Admissions Interview

By |2022-09-17T22:25:58-04:00November 23rd, 2019|Admissions Interview, Ivy League, Ivy League Advice, Ivy League College, The Harvard Admissions Interview|0 Comments

Your Ivy League College Admissions Interview

How to Prepare What to Expect

So, you’ve been offered your first Ivy League college admissions interview.  Congratulations! Though, of course, now you actually have to do it.

It’s incredibly nerve-wracking to have to go into a room and have a stranger decide your future.  If you’re also a top student, it’s even more nerve-wracking to not know if you’re really going to get to go to a top-tier, super-competitive school like Harvard, Princeton, MIT or Yale and have your future and career laid out for you, or if you really even have the slightest chance of even getting in at all.

That’s why I’ve laid out the top questions students often hear during their Ivy League college interview.

Even if you’re not applying to the Ivy League, this will work for any other competitive top to mid-tier colleges, too.

So, whether you’re applying to Harvard and Princeton, Penn or NYU, studying these questions will help you be more prepared in terms of what to expect from your college interview, and how to be more confident during the interview itself, so nothing — and I mean nothing — will take you by surprise!

As an overview though, college admissions officers want to know that you have the maturity to speak clearly, that you can be comfortable even in a nerve-wracking situation, that you can look them in the eye, smile, chat, have a solid “adult” conversation on an adult level, and are clear in terms of who you are at this point in your life and where you want to go.  These questions will help you get there:

1. “So, what are you interested in studying in college?”

What college interviewers are looking for here, is an answer that reveals your academic and possible future professional plans and interests, but also shows uniqueness and a background (however slight it may be) related to your answer.

In other words, just saying you’re interested in pre-med is fine, but saying you’re interested in pre-med because you spent time interning over the summer at a make-shift hospital in India, or at an inner city hospital in Chicago, is better because it shows you have actual experience to back up your goals. .

The main thing that will get you bad marks here on this question?  Being too vague – that’s what this question is trying to screen for.  Your college interviewer wants to make sure that you have the focus and ambition needed to truly succeed in a top Ivy League college (and in life).  They want to make sure you’re someone who has a plan and has a direction…even if that direction later changes course.  Just show them that you have an initial thought-out plan.

 So, if they ask you this question, pick an academic subject and back it up, even if you end up changing your major 4 times once you’re in.  First, get in!

2. “What high school accomplishment are you most proud of?”

Here, your college admissions interviewer is trying to get a sense of what you value, as the accomplishment you are most proud of will not only show off your best strengths academically (or extracurricularly, as could be the case) but will show him/her what things and pursuits you actually  identify with, in your own life – and that gives them great information about YOU.

The main thing that will get you bad marks on your college interviewer’s report with this question? Not showing a real passion or energy behind your answer.  You can’t expect someone to be excited about what you’ve done in life, if you yourself aren’t that interested.

3. “Tell me about your family background? Where did you grow up?”

What the admission officer is looking for here, is a sense of trying to place you = what I call, trying to paint a picture of your home life in their mind.  Did you grow up in a big city, a suburb, a rural farm?  Were you home-schooled, or did you attend a highly competitive science magnet in your area?

They are trying to place you, but they are also trying to discern how you yourself feel about your background.  There’s no wrong answer here, except a one-word answer.  That will get you a bad mark on the interviewer’s report, and you don’t want that.  If someone asks you a question, expand and expound!

4. “What is an example of something difficult you’ve had to go through, or an important event perhaps that took place in your life in the last few years?”

Here, as with the question above, the admissions committee (through the college interviewer’s report that they will write about you)  is simply trying to get a sense of who you are, what you value, and what stands out in your mind.  They are simply trying to understand who you are as a person, and how you see yourself in relation to others.

The one thing that will get you bad marks on this question?  Not having a strong and solid answer.  It’s really not so much what you say with any of this, but how you say it.  Always speak with confidence and self-reflection = that’s what they really like.  Don’t be afraid to show them who you are as a thinker and a person.  The fastest thing to get you dinged on all of your questions is, again, a weak, one-word response!

5. “Why Harvard” or “Why Princeton?” or “Why Columbia?” or “Why Berkeley?”

Most likely, you already wrote an admissions essay covering this question, so I strongly suggest you review all of your essays before going into your college interview.  Your answer “Why Harvard, or University of Pennsylvania, or Columbia, Brown, Duke, UCLA, MIT, or NYU?” (just to name a few), should focus on that particular school’s program, core curriculum, professors, classes and extracurriculars that are specific to your interests.

The focus should be academic at the core, but don’t be afraid to let your personality and true interest in a school’s outside extracurricular activities also shine through.  Do your homework and understand the differences between different programs and how they’re set up with their own unique flavor, especially when we’re talking about the Ivy League colleges and universities.

In the end, your college admissions interview should be conversational, interesting, educational and engaging!  In other words, just try to have a very real and connected conversation. Most interviews last 30-45 minutes, and if you’ve gotten this far, it’s a very good sign that you are already on your way!

I currently have a 10 page ebook titled “Ivy League Interview Tips” available for download on my website.  This short book highlights all of the top Ivy League interview questions and strategies you need to succeed. Click here to get my interview tips eBook today!

Buy Interview Tips Book

Still want more help?

I’m a former Harvard admissions interviewer + Harvard grad, and  I currently run the Ivy League college essay admission consulting firm: www.IvyCollegeEssay.com.  

I provide expert advice on college essays and applications to students all over the world, and specialize in the Ivy League and “Top Ten” schools.  Feel free to contact me today for more information, and get into the school of your dreams!

Rather listen to this article?  Click below to watch the video!

1 05, 2017

Applying To An Ivy League College? The Top 5 Books I Recommend!

By |2022-09-13T15:26:16-04:00May 1st, 2017|Brown, college, College Admissions, Columbia, Common App, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Ivy League, Ivy League College, Princeton, Stanford, UPenn, Yale|0 Comments

Applying To An Ivy League College? The Top 5 Books I Recommend!

Applying to an Ivy League college this year?  Good.  Now let’s actually see if you’re competitive for the schools you’re targeting.

Did well in high school?  Check.  Strongly involved in your extracurriculars?  Check. Aced your AP exams, and scored pretty high on your SAT / ACT  and are in an IB program (if your school offers one)? Triple check.

More than likely if you fit the above, then you probably have at least some aspirations to get in to an Ivy League college.  Maybe you’re not sure you’ll get in, but you definitely have the hope.  The dream.  If only you could MAXIMIZE your chances.  If you only knew what you could possibly do to just push your Ivy League college application and essays just a little bit more, so you can secure that acceptance.

But where is this secret knowledge???   Who has this secret insider information?! How can you find out EXACTLY what else you can possibly do, sit down this year to apply to your list of schools?

Read.  That’s my answer, to parents and students alike.  Read the right books. Find out all you can from the right people. The ones who have credentials. Research the right information.

As a former Harvard admissions interviewer + Harvard grad, I know what it takes to successfully apply to an Ivy League college. The following books are the top 5 books in their field, and 5 of my favorites, which give you many, many examples of what a successful Harvard, Yale, Princeton or  Stanford college application essay actually looks like — and there are lots of examples within these books from which to access and learn.

The important thing to remember though, is that while I do recommend reading these books, in the end, you need to read and then DIVERT from what you just read.

In other words, you need to be unique in your own approach.  An individual in terms of what YOU decide to talk about in your essay and reveal.

Because, believe me, the admissions officers at all of the top schools are aware that these books are out there, and they are not only familiar with the essays these books contain, but they are REALLY familiar.

You must make your college application essays DIFFERENT, both in structure and certainly content, but that said, understanding what exactly makes a strong (i.e. successful) Ivy League admissions essay, can be a very powerful first step towards your  college and Ivy League application success!

So, with no more delay, the following are the top 5 books I recommend all rising college seniors read, or at least flip through, as they begin their college application process:

Click on the books themselves for the larger links. And, the winners of this year’s recommended Ivy League College Admissions books are:

Book #1:

 

Book #2:

Book #3:

Book #4:

And, Book #5:

Remember, these books are just a jumping off place.  A starting spot.  In the end, you need to find what exactly makes you stand out on your own, and what makes YOU unusual and unique.

Try to think about what makes a college admissions officer want to say, “Wow, this student BELONGS here, and I would hate to lose him or her to another rival Ivy League school.”

 See, each school wants the next generation’s leaders and visionaries to be associated with their university. So, take my advice, read some books, and let that future be YOU.

Also, check out some of my other helpful Ivy League college admissions tips and advice to help you get into the Ivy League, such as “How To Get into Harvard”
===================================================
I’m a former Harvard admissions interviewer and a Harvard grad, and currently run the Ivy League college admissions firm: www.IvyCollegeEssay.com.  Contact me today for a free consultation and get into the school of your dreams!
9 06, 2016

How to Improve Your Ivy League College Application

By |2019-11-18T10:41:31-05:00June 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, and check out my other Ivy League Essay articles here! https://ivycollegeess.wpengine.com/2016/06/23/how-to-prepare-your-kid-for-an-ivy-league-college-education/

[I’m a former Harvard admissions interviewer and a Harvard graduate, and currently run the Ivy League Essay college admissions firm: www.IVY COLLEGE 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 |2019-12-01T14:03:35-05:00May 8th, 2016|College Admissions, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Duke, Harvard, Ivy League, Ivy League College, Princeton, UPenn, Yale|0 Comments

Applying 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.IvyCollegeEssay.com  Contact me today for a free consultation, and  get into the Ivy League!

7 05, 2016

What Each Ivy League College is Known For

By |2022-09-17T14:14:57-04:00May 7th, 2016|Brown, College Admissions, Columbia, Common App, Cornell, Dartmouth, Duke, Emory, Harvard, Ivy League, Ivy League College, UPenn, Yale|3 Comments

What Each Ivy League College Is Known For

Each Ivy League university has its own niche, it’s own “brand”:

In other words, each Ivy League university is known for certain things in terms of reputation. Understanding this in regard to college admissions, and Ivy League university admissions in general, is important.  This knowledge lets you target which school is the best fit for you, as well as which college is actually where you become the best fit for THEM.

This is only going to increase your chances of getting accepted.

The following list is a very brief compilation listing each Ivy League university, and what specific programs or majors they are best known for around the world!

Allow me to add as well, that all 8 of the Ivy League colleges mentioned here, as well as the ones I classify as “Ivy League competitive schools” like Stanford or MIT,  are all excellent universities. They truly do offer an extensive, wide-reaching, liberal arts education that will leave you extremely well-educated and intellectually respected for your college degree around the globe.

In other words, you can’t go wrong with any school in the Ivy League.

However, knowing what each Ivy university is known for, will give you an advantage.  Some of the schools are known for certain specialties more so than the others, and if you pay attention to that fact, you will have a better chance of receiving that acceptance letter and finding a better intellectual  and cultural fit.

And so, without further adieu…

WHAT EACH IVY LEAGUE COLLEGE IS KNOWN FOR:


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, as mentioned above, you also have what I call “Ivy-like” schools, or “Ivy Equivalent” by which I mean, the schools’ level of difficulty and competition in terms of getting in. Here, I include schools like:
  1. MIT (obviously known for science, math, computer science  and engineering),
  2. Stanford (look up it’s proximity to Silicon Valley and it’s niche for business),
  3. Duke and Johns Hopkins (both famous for their medical school and thereby pre-med programs).

So, there you have it! 

Just a sample list of the Ivy League universities that tell you which college you might want to target if you’re looking at the Ivy League for this coming admissions cycle.

Understanding what I’ve listed here, and then tailoring your applications appropriately when making your school selection list, can truly make all the difference. Especially when choosing which school to apply to for Early Decision.

Need more free admissions tips and advice?  Check out my award-winning Ivy League college admissions blog for more on how to get in to an Ivy League university — and, if you’re thinking about Early Decision (HINT: you should be!)  then you may also like my article: Early Decision: Choosing the Right Ivy League College

You can also join my Ivy League college admissions discussion on Reddit at: https://www.reddit.com/r/ivyleaguecollege/

I’m a former Harvard admissions interviewer and a Harvard graduate and currently run the Ivy League college admissions firm: www.IvyCollegeEssay.com. 

Contact me today for a free consultation, and get into the school of your dreams!

5 06, 2015

Applying to an Ivy League College? Common App Essay Advice from a Former Harvard Interviewer!

By |2019-01-03T18:53:04-05:00June 5th, 2015|Brown, College Admissions, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Duke, Harvard, Ivy League, Princeton, UPenn, Yale|1 Comment

1. What are some of the common misconceptions/mistakes you see regarding students’ Common App essays? Do you have any general advice for the Common App?

The biggest mistake I see students repeatedly make with the Common App, is not understanding what makes them unique. Schools are looking for “original thinkers”…. “original doers” and in your Common App you want to show off just what makes you different from your peers. It may be something you don’t even realize, or pay much attention to, so look for it!

I had one student for example, who had spent her life studying ballet at a very high artistic level, where she was even asked to join a big city ballet company as an apprentice, and yet she didn’t think this was something worth mentioning, and instead wrote her essay on a science fair she participated in (wrong approach). Another student of mine had had an extremely interesting life growing up in a town where he and his brother were the only Jewish kids in their entire school system in the rural South. He (again, wrong approach) wrote about going on a summer trip to Mexico with his high school class. WRITE ABOUT SOMETHING UNUSUAL! The most unusual experience, or fact, or interest in your life that you can think of. Done well, that is what will get you in.

 

  1. Social media is a boon for some students and a bane for others. Does Harvard search up students’ social media profiles during the admissions process?

 I actually was an admissions interviewer for Harvard before social media was so prevalent, so can’t officially answer this question on Harvard’s behalf. However, as a general rule, if an admissions committee is very interested in someone, or if they’re on the fence about a candidate, they will sometimes google the student to see what comes up, and this includes more often than not, facebook profiles. It simply helps to put a face with a name in most cases, and that is really often all they are looking at, just trying to get a “feel” for the applicant, but whether admissions officers will admit to this practice or not, is debatable. Again, wasn’t around as an option 15 years ago!

  1. What advice would you give to students who want to succeed in an admissions interview?

 I actually offer free interview prep for all the students who work with me on their applications, at no extra charge. We go in-depth into what they can expect, how to prepare, how to present themselves, but in general, the overriding action needs to be: confidence. No matter what you say, it is going to be more important how you say it. Again, this is something I work on with my clients more specifically.

4. Some students I know are self-studying for AP exams in subjects that aren’t offered at their schools, and not taking the actual class itself. Is this a good idea?

 It is a good idea if they can do it well, and score well on the exam. By “well,” I mean achieve a 4 or a 5. Preferably a 5. Anything less and I would not report. I would also consider enrolling in a community college class if the student’s school doesn’t offer a particular AP that they’re interested in, as the admissions committee will be impressed that they had the ambition and drive to branch out and education themselves on their own, outside their immediate resources.

 5. Are some majors harder to get into compared to other majors at Harvard?

Not if you can demonstrate “original thought” in terms of why a particular major is right for you, why a particular interest stems out, and can be backed up by, your own unique experience. Saying, “I want to be a Biology major, so I can be pre-med” or, “I want to major in Economics so I can get my MBA and eventually work on Wall Street” isn’t going to get you in, unless that uniqueness in terms of your background and experience can shine through.

So, in that regard, saying you want to major in Latin, because you are very interested in expanding your already ongoing research in ancient Catholic cryptology, and have already published papers on the topic in some well-read Vatican journals…is going to give you a better chance than the pre-med student above, but it all depends on you and, again, what makes you uniquely interesting in your major of choice.

6. What general advice would you recommend to students who have been waitlisted, or students who are appealing their decision?

First, I have known both clients and friends who were waitlisted and then got in at the very last minutes, so there is always hope! The best thing you can do, is follow the school’s instructions and submit any additional materials IF REQUESTED. If nothing is requested, than you simply have to wait it out, also knowing that you could consider transferring after your first year elsewhere if you truly wanted to try to get into that particular school.

  1. What are the main qualities Harvard wants to see in extracurricular activities?

Again, uniqueness! I can’t stress this enough. Everyone who applies to Harvard is President of some school club, ether plays the piano or the violin (at an extremely exceptional level), and/or is on the swim team or math team (take your pick). Everyone also volunteers and “gives back.” It’s all the same.

What they’re looking for though, once again, is originality.   What do you do with your time that’s unique? What do you do with your time that’s already at an adult level? Find what makes you different and emphasize it throughout your college application…especially if you are applying to the Ivy League. These schools pride themselves on creating an “interesting” class. A class where you look at the person next to you and think, “wow, that’s really cool.” Be that person and you add to the school’s diversity. That is what will get you in, on top of already having the excellent scores and grades.

[I’m a former Harvard admissions interviewer, and a Harvard graduate, and currently run the Ivy League Admissions Consulting Firm: www.IvyCollegeEssay.com. I work with students all over the world. Contact me for a free consultation today!]

 

 

 

 

23 02, 2015

Thinking About Transferring to Another College? What You Need to Know…

By |2015-02-23T18:50:05-05:00February 23rd, 2015|Berkeley, Boston University, Brown, College Admissions, Columbia, Common App, Cornell, Dartmouth, Duke, Emory, Harvard, Ivy League, Michigan, MIT, NYU, Princeton, Standford, UCLA, UGA, UPenn, Yale|0 Comments

Deciding to transfer schools is a big decision when you’re in college.  Whether you’re in your first or second year, transferring will entail making new friends, living most likely in a new city, and making sure that your current credits transfer to make it all worth your while.

That said, there’s a lot that can come out of transferring, especially if you truly don’t like your current school.  I fully believe that there is no reason to stay somewhere you don’t like once you have given it a good try.  Instead you should try to salvage what you can of your college career, pick yourself up and find a better place, so you can still have great memories, great friends, and (most importantly to the admissions committee) a much better academic experience that better aligns with your goals.

And, that’s where I will start:  What You Really Need To Know For a Great College Transfer Application.

1. You need to make it about the academics

Colleges understand that perhaps you don’t have any friends, or just don’t feel “connected” at your current school.  Maybe you’re going to a community college and want to go to a 4-year program, or maybe you just want OUT, anywhere that isn’t where you are, or perhaps anywhere not so close to home.

Whatever your reasons, what you tell the college admissions committee needs to focus on your ACADEMIC reasons for transferring, and not your social ones.  Successful applicants always have an academic reason for wanting to go elsewhere.  For example, perhaps you can’t major in Biophysics where you are, because your school just doesn’t offer that major, and would therefore have to settle for a more general degree in Biology, which will limit what you really want to be studying.

Or, perhaps there is a professor at another school who is doing research on EXACTLY the topic and speciality you’re interested in, and that’s why you “need” to transfer in order to take advantage of the best opportunity you can.

Perhaps it makes more sense if you want to study economics to be in a big financial capital like New York, or perhaps you’re an English major but really want to be a Journalism major, and your school “just doesn’t offer that.”

Those are the reasons that will get you in: something ACADEMIC that is logical and makes sense.  Basically, you want the admissions committee to read your essays and say, “yes, that is a very logical and appropriate reason for wanting to transfer.”  It’s that response that will get you in.

[I’m a former Harvard admissions interviewer and a Harvard grad.  I currently run the college admissions consulting firm: www.IvyLeagueEssay.com  Looking to transfer colleges?  Contact me for a free consultation today!]

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