15 05, 2023

Top 5 College Admission Essay Books

By |2023-06-11T07:45:21-04:00May 15th, 2023|college, College Admissions, Harvard, Ivy League, Ivy League Advice, Ivy League College, Princeton, Standford, UPenn, Yale|1 Comment

Top 5 College Admission Essay Books

Crafting a compelling college admission essay is a critical aspect of the application process. The essay provides an opportunity for you to showcase your unique qualities, experiences, and aspirations.

To help you excel in this crucial task, I have compiled a list of the top five college admission essay books available to help you succeed.

These resources offer valuable insights, expert advice, and sample essays from successful applicants to some of the most competitive universities in the U.S. Whether you’re seeking inspiration, ideas, or just practical tips, the following books will guide you toward creating a great essay that will captures the attention of admissions officers at all the top schools.
1.”50 Successful Stanford Application Essays: Write Your Way into the College of Your Choice” by Gen Tanabe and Kelly Tanabe
Link: Buy here on Amazon!
How to write Stanford Essays
Gain valuable insights into the application process at Stanford University with this collection of fifty successful essays. The book offers a diverse range of essay topics, writing styles, and approaches that have impressed admissions officers. By analyzing these exemplary essays, you’ll discover effective strategies to craft a compelling essay that aligns with Stanford’s values and showcases your unique perspective.
2. “50 Successful Ivy League Application Essays”
by Gen Tanabe and Kelly Tanabe
Link: Buy here on Amazon!
Successful Ivy League Essays
This book presents a compilation of fifty successful essays that helped students secure admission to Ivy League universities. With a focus on top-tier institutions, the essays offer valuable guidance and inspiration. By reading through this collection, you’ll gain insights into the qualities and characteristics that admissions officers at Ivy League schools seek in applicants’ essays, helping you craft a compelling narrative that stands out from the competition.
3. “50 Successful Harvard Application Essays, 5th Edition: What Worked for Them Can Help You Get into the College of Your Choice” by Staff of the Harvard Crimson
Link: Buy here on Amazon!
Harvard Application Essays
Drawing from the experiences of successful Harvard applicants, this book provides a wealth of valuable essay examples. These essays cover a wide range of topics and writing styles, offering inspiration and guidance for crafting a standout essay. By studying the successful strategies employed by previous applicants, you can gain insights into what Harvard admissions officers are seeking and effectively convey your own unique story.

4. “The Ivy League College Admissions Guidebook”
by Jillian Ivy

Link: Buy here on Amazon!
The Ivy League College Admissions Guidebook
Written by a former Harvard admissions interviewer and Harvard graduate this comprehensive mini guidebook provides insider tips and expert advice specifically tailored to the Ivy League college admissions process. From essay writing strategies to tips on building a competitive profile, this book covers every aspect of the application journey. With a focus on Ivy League institutions, the guidebook offers valuable insights to help you navigate the complexities of admission requirements, boost your chances of acceptance, and present your best self to admissions committees.
5. “Paying for College, 2023: Everything You Need to Maximize Financial Aid and Afford College” by The Princeton Review
Link: Buy here on Amazon!
Paying for College
And, even though it’s not about writing your essays, financing your college education is a crucial consideration. This comprehensive guidebook from The Princeton Review equips you with the necessary knowledge to navigate the financial aid process effectively. Learn about scholarships, grants, loans, and other strategies to maximize financial aid and make college more affordable. By understanding the financial landscape, you can better plan your educational journey and ensure that your college experience is financially manageable.

In conclusion, crafting a strong college admission essay is a vital component of your application process.

These top five college admission essay books provide invaluable guidance, insights, and examples to help you create a compelling and memorable essay that showcases your unique qualities. From understanding the expectations of Ivy League institutions to maximizing financial aid opportunities, these resources cover various aspects of the college admissions process.

Remember, the essay is your opportunity to let your voice shine and make a lasting impression on admissions officers.

Take advantage of these recommended books to gain inspiration, learn effective writing techniques, and gain a better understanding of what top colleges are looking for in applicants.

By investing time and effort into honing your essay writing skills, you can enhance your chances of securing admission to the college of your dreams. So, pick up these books, immerse yourself in the wisdom they offer, and embark on your journey to college success. Good luck!

[Want more help with your own college admissions essays? I’m a former Harvard interviewer and Harvard grad. Contact me today for a free consultation at

IvyCollegeEssay.com

and get into the school of your dreams!]
Check out other helpful blog articles here:


  1. How to Get Into Harvard

  2. How to Get Into the Ivy League (Tips for Parents)

5 05, 2023

What Are My Chances of Getting Off An Ivy League Waitlist like Harvard?

By |2023-05-05T11:41:58-04:00May 5th, 2023|College Admissions, Harvard, Ivy League, Ivy League Advice, Ivy League College, Transfer, Transferring, Waitlisted|3 Comments

What Are My Chances of Getting Off An Ivy League Waitlist like Harvard?

The Ivy League colleges are among the most selective institutions in the United States. With an acceptance rate of less than 10%, it’s no surprise that many qualified candidates are placed on a waitlist rather than receiving a definitive acceptance or rejection. If you are one of these students, it’s natural to wonder what are your chances of getting off an Ivy League waitlist like Harvard’s — or, if it’s even possible.

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the waitlist process and provide some insights into your chances of getting off an Ivy League waitlist, using Harvard University as a prime example.

First, what is a waitlist?

Let’s start with the basics:  a waitlist is a pool of qualified applicants who have not been offered admission to a specific college but are still being considered for acceptance. Being waitlisted means that you have not been rejected, but you have also not been accepted.  You are in limbo, waiting for a decision.

So, what are your chances of getting off a waitlist, particularly at an Ivy League college like Harvard?

Unfortunately, there’s no straightforward answer to this question. It varies from year to year and depends on many factors, including the number of spots available, the strength of the applicant pool, and the yield rate (the percentage of admitted students who choose to attend). Generally speaking, Ivy League waitlists are incredibly competitive, and the odds of being admitted off the waitlist are extremely low.

Let’s take Harvard as an example.

In 2022, Harvard waitlisted 1,128 students, but only 12 were eventually offered admission. Keep in mind that Harvard is just one of eight Ivy League colleges though, and the acceptance rates at other institutions vary. The University of Pennsylvania, for example, pulled 55 students off their waitlist last year in comparison to Harvard’s 12.  Big difference!

So, what can you do to increase your chances of getting off the waitlist at Harvard or anywhere else?

Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  1. Follow the school’s instructions: If you’ve been waitlisted, be sure to carefully read and follow any instructions provided by the college. This might include filling out a form, submitting additional materials, or writing a letter of continued interest.
  2. Show continued interest: Speaking of letters of continued interest, this is one of the best ways to demonstrate your continued interest in attending the school. If you choose to write a letter, be sure to highlight any new achievements or accolades since you applied and explain why you would be an asset to the institution. Keep it short, though! Less is more in these letters and your letter should be AT MOST only 1-2 paragraphs top.
  3. Stay positive: Getting waitlisted can be disheartening, but it’s important to stay positive and keep your options open. Consider accepting an offer from another institution, but don’t be afraid to keep in touch with the waitlisted school and express your continued interest.  The worst thing that could happen if you accept another school and then get off your desired school’s waitlist is that you lose your deposit from the other school.  In the scheme of your life and your goals this may not be so horrible.
  4. Be realistic: While it’s important to stay positive, it’s also important to be realistic about your chances of getting off the waitlist. Ivy League waitlists are incredibly competitive, and the odds of being admitted off the waitlist are low. Extremely low when we are talking about the most competitive schools.  That doesn’t mean it’s impossible though, just don’t pin all your hopes on one school, especially when we are talking about the most competitive Ivy League colleges and be prepared to accept an offer from another institution if necessary.
  5. Consider other options: If you’re not admitted off the waitlist, don’t despair. There are plenty of excellent colleges and universities out there, and many students go on to have successful lives and careers regardless of where they went to college.

It’s also worth noting that being waitlisted is not necessarily a reflection of your qualifications or potential as a student.

Admissions decisions are complex and take into account a wide range of factors, including academic achievement, extracurricular involvement, essays, letters of recommendation, and more. Being waitlisted simply means that the college was unable to offer you a spot in the incoming class due to the high number of qualified applicants in your specific year.

Furthermore, it’s important to keep in mind that colleges and universities want to build a diverse and well-rounded student body. So, even if your qualifications are excellent, you may not be admitted if the admissions committee feels that your profile is too similar to other admitted students. This is why it’s important to highlight what makes you unique and what you can contribute to the college community.

If you are admitted off the waitlist, congratulations!

You should feel proud of your accomplishment, as it is a testament to your perseverance and dedication. However, it’s important to keep in mind that being admitted off the waitlist can come with some challenges. For example, you may have less time to make a decision, as the enrollment deadline may be closer than if you had been accepted outright. Additionally, you may have missed out on some of the opportunities available to accepted students, such as early registration or access to certain programs or resources.

In conclusion, if you’ve been waitlisted at an Ivy League college like Harvard, Princeton, Columbia, or Yale it’s important to be realistic about your chances of getting off the waitlist.

While, again, it’s totally possible to be admitted off the waitlist, and it happens to my students every year, the selection is incredibly competitive. If you do choose to stay on the waitlist, be sure to follow any instructions provided by the college, express your continued interest, and keep your options open. And remember, there are plenty of excellent colleges and universities out there, and your future success does not depend solely on where you attend college. Whatever happens, keep working hard and pursuing your goals, and you will undoubtedly achieve great things.

Want more advice about transferring your freshman year and trying again for the Ivy League? 

Contact me today for a free consultation and get into the school of your dreams!  www.IvyCollegeEssay.com 

Check out these other articles too for great Ivy League waitlist advice:

  1. Waitlisted At An Ivy League College?
  2. Want to Transfer to An Ivy League School?

 

7 11, 2022

Deferred From Early Decision?

By |2022-11-07T13:31:12-05:00November 7th, 2022|Brown, college, College Admissions, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Duke, Early Action, Early Decision, Harvard, Ivy League, Ivy League Advice, Ivy League College, MIT, NYU, Princeton, Stanford, UPenn, Waitlisted, Yale|0 Comments

Deferred from Early Decision or Early Action?

Have you been deferred from Early Decision or Early Action?  By now, everyone who was applying for college Early Decision for the Nov 1 deadline has gotten everything in and is in a holding pattern.  In other words: just waiting.

Some of you are already getting invitations for interviews, while others are sitting on their hands trying to not get too anxious while they wait it out for the one decision that could determine their entire future.

But, what if you don’t get rejected OR accepted for Early Decision or Early Action?

What if you get DEFERRED?

What does being “deferred” actually mean, and what everyone really wants to know:  what are your remaining chances?

Here’s the good news:  being deferred, while not the full-out acceptance you were looking for, is GOOD!

Take that in for a second — in lieu of a full-out acceptance from Harvard, Princeton, Stanford or MIT, being deferred is actually not a bad thing, and this is why:

Being deferred from college Early Decision or Early Action, especially when you’re talking about the Ivy League or Ivy League “equivalent” schools means you actually have what it takes.

In other words, it means you have what it takes to be competitive, not only at the Ivy League, but at that particular school.

That’s HUGE news if the college you applied to is in the top 20, let alone the top 10 or even top 3!

If Harvard defers you, that means the Harvard admissions committee thought you were good enough to put “on hold” for the moment, as they wait to compare you to the rest of the regular admissions applicants.

That’s what’s going on when you get deferred.  You are deemed “competitive” enough, because otherwise you would have been flat out rejected outright.  Admissions officers don’t need to make even more work for themselves.

The fact that you were NOT rejected though, means they thought you “competitive enough”.  That’s GREAT NEWS in terms of your opportunity.  It means regardless if you don’t get in to this particular school, you now know in your heart that you are at the level this TYPE of school is looking for, and you’re making the cut.

So, if you get deferred from Columbia, for example, that means that comparable level schools like Brown, Dartmouth, or UPenn might still find you interesting.

That means if you get deferred from Stanford, MIT just might want to snatch you up!

Don’t let a deferment dampen your spirits as though it’s not the ultimate that you were looking for, you are STILL IN THE RACE!

And, yes, that’s a race that you absolutely can still win.

I get many students into top Ivy League colleges every single year who were initially deferred.  Your hope is delayed, NOT shattered by any means.

So, what can you do if you get that deferment notice?  Contact me and let me help you navigate the new situation.  You have to know how to respond to a deferment properly (as in sending the “right” kind of follow up email),

AND, you need to now maximize your strategy for all of your other regular decision schools.

Want more information?  Contact me today for a free consultation.  I’m a former Harvard admissions interviewer + Harvard graduate and run the award-winning Ivy League College Admissions Firm: www.IvyCollegeEssay.com

Contact me today, and get into the school of your dreams!

You might also like to read these articles here on my blog:

20 09, 2022

Early Action or Early Decision: Ivy College Admissions Consulting

By |2022-09-23T23:07:25-04:00September 20th, 2022|College Admissions, Early Action, Early Decision|1 Comment

Early Action or Early Decision: Ivy College Admissions

Choosing Early Action over Early Decision can be confusing. Make sure you’re making the right choice!

Early Action and Early Decision are both college application STRATEGIES.  In other words, by getting your application in early, you will actually gain an advantage over students who apply regular decision.

How much of an advantage, you ask?  That depends on the school, but in my experience it is usually quite a boost — up to a 10% increase in the chance that you’ll get in.  When you’re talking about schools like Harvard, Princeton or Yale that adds up to be quite significant.

It’s hard to understand the difference between these two “Early” strategies though, and to make it even more difficult, each school has its own definition of the terms.  That’s why it’s always important to look on the school’s actual website so you understand what exactly you will be committing to, should you get in.

Early Action versus Early Decision: The Definitions

  1. Early Action is the less “committed” of the two choices, and you can choose more than one school for EA. In fact, you can apply EA to as many schools as you want. It is non-binding, which means you still have full control over where you want to attend, and can wait to make a decision once all of your other EA application results are in.
  2. Early Decision is binding, however, and for that reason you can only pick one college as your Early Decision school.  You usually find out if you got in mid-December and at that point will have to withdraw all of your other applications.  Only pick ED if you KNOW you would be thrilled to go to your school!

To make things even more confusing, there are also categories like ED 1 and ED 2

All you have to remember is that ED 1 is the earlier November 1 deadline, and ED 2 is basically the exact same thing but in December, if you’re just not ready in November to submit your application.

Then, there’s Single-Choice Early Action (SCEA)

Also known as Restrictive Early Action.  SCEA or REA is also non-binding, meaning you don’t have to go if you get in, however, you cannot apply to other schools’ EA or ED until you receive your decision from the school to which you applied SCEA.

In restrictive early action policies, however, you CAN still apply to public or state universities EA.

Now, some universities offer Single Choice Early Action or Restricted Early Action, which LIMITS your choice even more that the “rules” stated above, which is why it is very important to look at each school’s individual webpage first, to make sure you understand what you are and are NOT committing to.

I usually don’t recommend students apply SCEA or REA for this reason, and keep things simple by applying ED or EA alone.

So, should you apply early?

I think yes. It does give you an advantage, it allows you to receive your college acceptances (or rejections) earlier, it helps you make other plans if you get waitlisted or deferred and it give you more peace of mind.

Personally, I tell my students to do ED only, but that’s for another blog post another day!

If you are currently applying to college and looking for expert tips and advice from a former Harvard admissions interviewer + Harvard grad, contact my Ivy League College Admissions Consulting Services today, and schedule a free phone consultation to get into the school of your dreams!  www.IvyCollegeEssay.com

Check out my other Ivy League College Admissions Consulting blog articles too, for even more tips + advice, such as:

I work with all colleges and universities, but I specialize in the Ivy League, and Ivy League competitive schools!

  • Harvard
  • Princeton
  • Yale
  • Dartmouth
  • Brown
  • Columbia
  • Cornell
  • UPenn
  • MIT
  • Stanford
14 09, 2022

How To Get In to an Ivy League College (Tips for Parents!)

By |2022-10-01T14:22:25-04:00September 14th, 2022|Brown, College Admissions, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Ivy League, Ivy League Advice, Ivy League College, Princeton, UPenn, Yale|5 Comments

The Parent’s Guide to Getting Your Student In to the Ivy League

Parents want their children to do well in life, and if you have always dreamed of having your son or daughter graduate from an Ivy League college — which, to define the term “Ivy League,” refers to the eight schools that make up “The Ivies” and includes: HarvardPrinceton, Yale (the “Big Three”), as well as Brown, Dartmouth, Cornell, Columbia, and Penn (The University of Pennsylvania),  there are many thing you can do that will help your student succeed in the college admissions and Ivy League college admissions process, in particular.

#1.  Make sure your student takes as many AP courses as possible:  

College admissions officers, especially at the most competitive schools, want to see that your student is not only challenging themselves by taking the most difficult 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.

In other words, if your student’s high school doesn’t currently offer any AP or IB course work, make sure they get classes at that level somewhere else (like enrolling in a community college after school).

This shows that they will be able to handle the work-load once they get in to a highly competitive school like the Ivy League.  It shows they have the intellect to do well, and sometimes more importantly, can take the pressure.  That kind of “proof” is what makes Ivy League admissions officers happy. Lets your high school student pass the test and be seriously considered.  No AP or IB classes, and they aren’t even a contender.  It’s that important.

#2: Make sure your student has extracurricular activities that are interesting and different:  

By different, I mean something more unique than piano, violin, or swimming.

“Oh no!” you think, “but my student is taking piano, violin and swimming right now, what should I do?!”

Just reassess. These activities are fine if they’re a musical prodigy who intends to major in music, or a budding Olympic medalist or “ranked” athlete… but just in case they’re not, they need to branch out and try to expand into at least one other extracurricular activities that will make them stand out. They need to do something different than what their friends are doing.  They need to show some individuality in how they spend their time. This allows them to look even more unique to the college admissions officers – again, especially when applying to an Ivy League, or “Ivy League equivalent” college like Stanford, or MIT.

Schools like to diversify their class, and they like students who have done, or are doing, incredibly interesting things.  So, have them branch out!  Do something different, on top of, or in addition to, the regular “smart kid” activities like classical piano, school government, or Model UN.

You don’t want to just have them do what every other smart kid does: ESPECIALLY for the Ivy League. If they don’t stand out, they won’t be seen. Again, it is that important.

#3: Let your student choose their own, real interests

Really.  This one is important. Don’t push your kid to go into engineering or finance as a potential major in college if they’re sincerely telling you they just want to study Greek literature, or get a Ph.D in microbiology.

College admissions officers want to know what REALLY interests your student, again, this is especially true for the Ivy League.

What they don’t want to see is a child who’s been programmed by their parents to say something that simply sounds like a trendy thing to study right now, or with the only purpose being to set your student up for a well-paying job. The Ivy League looks for kids who are interested and curious about learning, not trying to position themselves so they can eventually make the most money possible.  They want people who value intellectual curiosity.

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 those Greek classes, too.  The Ivy League colleges often admit students who have a WIDE VARIETY OF INTERESTS, especially in the humanities.

These are 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.

Again, 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 words, the Ivy League is more interested in graduating students who will always be “well-educated”. They can 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 served better at a state school or highly competitive science or engineering schools like Cal Tech or 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. They 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. It will all help complete the college admissions package. But instilling in your student a desire to learn and convey the learning attitude. THAT’s what Ivy League admissions officers look and that is the “secret sauce” that will help them get in!

Check out the rest of my award wining Ivy League college admissions blog for free. Get my new IVY LEAGUE INTERVIEW PREP GUIDE here:

https://ivycollegeessay.com/interview-prep-ivy-league-colllege-admissions/

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

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

10 09, 2022

What Does It Mean If You Get Waitlisted?

By |2022-10-01T14:40:52-04:00September 10th, 2022|college, College Admissions, Ivy League, Ivy League Advice, Ivy League College, Waitlisted|3 Comments

 What Does it Mean If You Get Waitlisted?

More importantly, is there anything that you can do?

Decision day comes and when you see that email from your dream school, you discover that you have been waitlisted. Ugh. Horrible. Blech. Depressing. Just not what you were hoping for at all.  But, while this may leave you with a sinking feeling in your stomach, don’t despair.  Really.

Keep in mind that the Ivy League and  “Top 20” universities in general are all EXTREMELY  competitive. Getting on the waitlist is an accomplishment in itself.

That doesn’t make you feel better does it?  It should, because it means that there is still hope.

I’ve seen many students who’ve been put on the waitlist for the upper-level Ivy League and Ivy League competitive schools. In other words, I’ve had students get OFF the waitlist, get OUT of limbo, and actually gain acceptance sometimes at the very last minute and to the elite of the Ivy League schools.  In other words, Princeton, Harvard, and Yale.  So, as they say, it really “ain’t over ’til it’s over” and you always need to keep the faith.

Here are some interesting facts to keep in mind:  around 10% of students are waitlisted each year and end up getting in and last year that percentage was high. Students are applying to more and more of the Ivy League colleges, so every year predicting the percentage of admitted students that actually matriculate is a moving target, especially when students gain admission to multiple universities.

IMPORTANT POINT:  You can be notified of admittance as early as April or as late as August depending on the school.

That said, you need to move forward though as if it’s not an option, but always keep that small light of hope in the back of your mind burning. Because really — you just don’t know how it will all turn out.  Some students even turn down Harvard for Princeton, Princeton for MIT, or Brown for Dartmouth, so you really just don’t know how many spaces might suddenly become open and when your name can suddenly come up.

In other words, don’t assume things are out of your hands. Transferring to an Ivy League college can also be an option, as colleges accept transfers after only one semester. So go ahead and enroll in your next best choice as the better the school, the stronger your chances of successfully transferring to the Ivy League (or Ivy League competitive school) the following year.

Write a Statement of Continuing Interest

Meanwhile, take the time to write the waitlisted school an email, adding on any new awards or honors you’ve won since your application, and state your interest that, if allowed off the waitlist, the school is your very first choice.

Waitlisted and want help developing a strategic plan of action now, moving forward?  See what my clients have to say about how I helped them not only get into a top Ivy League college like Harvard, Princeton, or Yale, but how I’ve helped them transfer into these schools as well   https://ivycollegeessay.com/testimonials/.

Also, read my post on “How to Transfer to the Ivy League” here: https://ivycollegeessay.com/2020/01/21/transferring-ivy-league-college-harvard/

Want more help?  Reach out now for a free consultation at: www.IvyCollegeEssay.com and let me help you achieve your dream of getting into the Ivy League!

16 08, 2022

How To Get Into Harvard

By |2022-09-14T10:21:50-04:00August 16th, 2022|Harvard, Ivy League, Ivy League Advice, Ivy League College, The Harvard Admissions Interview|7 Comments

How to Get Into Harvard

How to get into Harvard — smart people want to know!  Actually, everybody wants to know, because getting into Harvard is a life-changing event.  It gives you opportunity in life.  It gives you a community of equally smart and interesting peers whom you will be able to fall back on, as part of a very tight community, for the rest of your life.

The high school seniors who attend Harvard today become the very well-known, authors, scientists, politicians, Presidents, humanitarians, doctors, scholars and artists of tomorrow.  They truly are the voice of the next generation.

So, what does it take to really get in to Harvard University? How do these successful college applicants do it?

You can try to substitute Princeton, Yale, Dartmouth, or Brown, etc., here, but it’s somehow not the same.  Even Stanford and MIT while excellent, extremely competitive schools (and, in some cases, even better for what you may specifically want to study) still doesn’t quite equate to that Harvard degree.

What is it then about Harvard University?  How do you become one of the lucky 1600 students admitted each year to not only the Ivy League, but “the” Ivy League?

As a former Harvard admissions interviewer and a Harvard graduate myself, allow me to provide some tips and advice.  In my overall experience, not only interviewing for Harvard’s incoming class for the College of Arts & Sciences, but also running my own Ivy League admissions consulting firm for the last 15 years, these are the top things you need to check off, if you’re even going to be seriously considered for that Harvard acceptance letter.

The points are, as follows”

  1. High School GPA
  2. High SAT / ACT scores
  3. Showing how you are UNIQUE + DIFFERENT in your interests, education, experience, achievements, creative work, or hobbies.
  4. Being able to communicate this well in your Harvard admissions essays.
  5. Having an excellent college interview
  6. Providing additional material with your application, when appropriate, like a portfolio of creative work,  that supports all of the above
  7. Great teacher recommendations

And that’s really the key!  The secret sauce.  The map to TREASURE.

I’m going to now go through, in much more detail, all of the above mentioned steps so you fully understand what Harvard actually looks for in an undergraduate applicant, and then, in terms of better understanding how to get in to Harvard, you’ll be able to adjust what’s in your power to control, and then just try not to think about the rest!

  1. Your GPA –  it obviously needs to be high.  Really high.  That doesn’t mean that if you have a fews “B’s” on your transcript that you still can’t get in.  You can.  Everyone who gets accepted to Harvard doesn’t have a 4.0.  Really. What this does mean though is that the higher your grades the more you’re showing the admissions committee that you belong at their school.  In other words, don’t give them a reason to say no.
  2. Your SAT/ACT scores  – I know, I know, “but everyplace says it’s optional now!”  It is.  That’s not incorrect — BUT, a high SAT or ACT score will still help you, and a REALLY HIGH SAT or ACT score will help you even more.  It adds to the same thing I said above: show them you belong at the school. Take the test if you think you can do well.  For all others, optional (but then you may not get in).
  3.  Showing how you are UNIQUE + DIFFERENT in your interests, education, experience, achievements, creative work, or hobbies.

    This is the most important point in my entire list.  This is everything in terms of the Harvard application (and hold true for really any of the highly competitive schools). What makes you unique?  What makes you different from the girl you sit next to in AP Calculus or Lit?  If you want to get into Harvard you MUST find something in your academic interests, experience, background, talent, skills, or philosophies that make you DIFFERENT.

  4. Your Harvard Admissions Essays:

    This, too, is everything.  Your essays have to be well-written, and your topic choice for your Common App is going to be incredibly important, if not the most important choice you make.  I’m linking to a recent blog post on my Ivy League College Admissions Blog that talks about how to make sure your Common App topic is GOOD, as the choice is that important (and same goes for supplementals and any short answer questions): How to Choose A Topic For Your Common App

  5. Your Harvard Interview

    Also incredibly important.  The two tips I’ll give you here are 1). That you need to prepare by going over some possible interview questions, and 2) You need to keep your interview as “conversational” as possible.  In other words, relax and try to have a normal conversation.  The best interviews just flow naturally.

  6. Additional Material  

    This means if there’s an optional essay, you take the opportunity and answer it.  This also means that if you have any creative or academic material at all (like a scientific paper) you submit it here.  Too many students leave this section blank.  Guess who doesn’t?  The students who get in.  Every question, even the ones not officially “required” are all opportunities to tell the admissions committee more about who you are.  Again, take all opportunities.

  7. Teacher Recs

    This falls in the category of things you can’t fully control, but you obviously need to ask for recs from the teachers whom you at least THINK know you well, and will write you a good one.  Teacher recs are more important than people realize, and the students who tend to get into Harvard usually have at least one teacher who puts their own reputation on the line by saying that a student is truly “one of the best they’ve ever taught, in all the years I’ve been teaching.”

Sentences like that actually do get the admissions committee’s attention, though if everything else in your Harvard application isn’t stellar, then it won’t get you what you need.

So, I hope that sheds some good light on what you need to get into Harvard, and this information holds true really for all of the top Ivy League schools.  The most important thing I’ve said here is that Harvard is looking for those who are the voice of the next generation.  They’re looking for the next leaders, writers, scholars, doctors, scientists, and artists in their field.

Show them that’s you, and Harvard will be lucky to have YOU.

For more free tips and advice, check out my award-winning Ivy League Admissions Consulting Blog

And don’t hesitate to reach out to me over social media or my website: IvyCollegeEssay.com

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[I’m a former Harvard admissions interviewer + Harvard grad, and currently run the Ivy League college admissions consulting firm Ivy League Essay. Contact me today for a free consultation about your Ivy League strategy, and get into the Harvard of your dreams!]

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Website:  www.IvyCollegeEssay.com

Phone:  (212) 671-0891

 

 

14 08, 2022

What Each Ivy League College is Known For

By |2024-01-20T11:38:54-05:00August 14th, 2022|Brown, college, College Admissions, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Ivy League, Ivy League Advice, Ivy League College, Princeton, UPenn, Yale|0 Comments

WHAT EACH IVY LEAGUE COLLEGE IS KNOWN FOR

Each Ivy League college has its own niche. It’s own “brand”

In other words, what each Ivy League college is known for in terms of reputation.  In terms of college admissions, and Ivy League college admissions in particular, understanding which school is the best fit for you, as well as which school will think you’re the best fit for THEM, is only going to increase your chances.

The following is a very brief list detailing each Ivy League school and what specific programs or majors it is best known for around the world.

Allow me to add, that all 8 of the Ivy League colleges mentioned here, as well as the ones I deem “Ivy League competitive”  are excellent universities, and truly do offer an extensive, wide-reaching, liberal arts education that will leave you extremely well-educated and intellectually valued around the globe.

And yet, knowing what each Ivy is known for, will give you an advantage when applying to universities.  It is 100% correct to say that 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 getting that acceptance letter, as well as finding a better intellectual  and cultural fit.

And so, without further adieu…

WHAT EACH IVY LEAGUE COLLEGE IS KNOWN FOR:


1. Yale: 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: known for mathematics and physics (Einstein used to teach there).

4. Brown: known for creativity and artist types (including poets, writers and playwrights)

5. UPenn: known for the Wharton school and hence, business and finance.

6. Cornell: known as one of the easier Ivy League colleges to get into and has a strong business and hospitality school link via its grad program.

7. Columbia: known for literature, religion, psychology, languages, politics, NY intellectuals and its proximity to Wall Street.

8. Dartmouth: known for liberal arts majors, as well as those wanting to get into the Tuck school of business post-graduation.

The “Ivy Equivalents”

Furthermore, as mentioned above, there are also “Ivy-like” schools, or “The Ivy Equivalents” in terms of a schools’ level of difficulty, reputation and competitiveness. Here I include schools like:
  1. MIT (obviously known for science, math, STEM, computer science  and engineering),
  2. Stanford (look up it’s proximity to Silicon Valley and it’s niche for business),
  3. Duke (famous for its medical school, so therefore pre-med)
  4. Johns Hopkins (again, famous for their medical school and thereby pre-med programs).

And, there you have it!  Just a sample list of the 8 Ivy League colleges and 4 “Ivy Equivalents” that tell you which university you might want to target if you’re looking at the Ivy League for this coming admissions cycle.

Understanding what I’ve mentioned here, and tailoring your applications appropriately when making you school selection list, and especially when choosing which school to apply for Early Decision, can truly make a difference.

Need more admissions tips and advice?  Check out my award-winning Ivy League college admissions blog for more on how to get in to the Ivy League.

If you’re thinking about Early Decision (you should be!)  then you may also like my articles:

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

Or, check out colleges organized by state, like this article here:

New York City Colleges

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 phone consultation, and get into the school of your dreams!

22 10, 2021

Ivy League Early Decision?

By |2022-10-04T10:50:11-04:00October 22nd, 2021|Brown, College Admissions, Columbia, Common App, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Ivy League, The Harvard Admissions Interview, Yale|0 Comments

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:

 

  1. 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.

 

  1. 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, because 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 into Harvard, or Princeton University are going to be way less, and you need to carefully rethink your decision, and 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.

 

  1. 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. Then 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 and It will count against you.

 

  1. 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.  However, 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, also take advantage of the “boost” and make sure you say it within one of the essays, and not just on the application.

 

  1. 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.

 

  1. 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 and 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.

 

  1. 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 and, tell the admissions committee even more?

 

  1. Early Decision Tip #8: The Ivy League schools 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, should be filled in with books and shows that are more intellectual in nature.  That’s what they’re looking for! If your whole list fills with pop culture teenage nonsense then you should think twice. The list is really a trick question Or Have doubts if your lists pass the test? Ask me.

 

  1. Early Decision Tip #9: Use your supplemental essays to show the admissions committee and what makes you unique. You want to use the essays as an opportunity to again showcase the most unique and interesting aspects of yourself. “Interesting” is the key word and also think about something you do. Or participate in what makes you different than your peers. Or is it something you have achieved at a very high level?

 

 

  1. 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 the top. Not necessarily but the thing you spend the most time doing and Remember, everything about your college application. Especially, if you are applying to the Ivy League (or Ivy League competitive schools) that is about showing the admissions committee who you are, as well as, why admitting you to their very select class, and, 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!

*Interested in getting your MBA degree and want to go to a top business school? www.MBAIvy.com

21 01, 2020

Transferring to an Ivy League College

By |2022-09-15T23:58:12-04:00January 21st, 2020|Brown, College Admissions, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Ivy League, Ivy League Advice, Transferring, Yale|3 Comments

Transferring to an Ivy League College? It’s Easier Than You Think!

Getting in to Harvard, Princeton, Columbia, Brown, or any of the Ivy League schools might just be easier than you think…

Though most of my Ivy League college admissions consulting blog centers around high school seniors applying to the most competitive universities in the US, every year I also work with students who are already in college, and are thinking about transferring to the Ivy League.

Did you hear that correctly?  YES, YOU CAN GET INTO AN IVY LEAGUE COLLEGE like Harvard, Princeton, Yale, Columbia, and more…by transferring.

And, I’ll tell you another secret:  it’s easier to get in than regular college admissions.

Each year, I get students into some of the top colleges in the country: as transfers.

Now, don’t get me wrong, you need to do really well your first semester. The better your grades, the better your chances. That said, I have had students who were rejected from Harvard (for example) — as in, not even deferred when they applied Early Decision. Not even waitlisted. Students who ended up going to not another Ivy League college, but an “easier” or mid-level college.

In other words,  a school that is not even IN the Ivy League. Schools like NYU, Boston College, Emory, any of the “Seven Sister” schools, or even schools like Georgia Tech). These students ended up applying as transfers to Harvard and actually GETTING IN.

The theory is, since there are WAY less transfer applicants than regular freshman high school applicants each year, if you have done well your first semester at your college of choice, you actually have a really good shot.

In other words, if you need that spelled out — it’s easier to get in to the Ivy League, and the Ivy League’s top schools (Princeton, Harvard, Yale) as a transfer student.

You need to have good grades, and you need to have decent test scores, but the Ivy League colleges are more interested in how you did your first semester, than anything you did in high school (including your SAT scores).

I have gotten kids in as transfer students to Harvard, who absolutely would have been passed over and rejected if they applied the previous year while they were high school seniors.

How you present yourself as a transfer applicant though, is very important.  You need to think about how you want to craft your story, your narrative.  You need to think about your reasons for wanting to transfer to an Ivy League college.

You’ll also be leaving your first school behind — any friends you’ve made, etc.  Most of all though, you need to craft that narrative in a way that will sound like a valid reason for transferring to the school.

And getting straight A’s your first semester doesn’t hurt.

If you’re interested in learning more about how to transfer into an Ivy League college, and not just give up on your dreams, please contact me today for a free consultation.

Transfer applications are due March 1.  I’m working with all kinds of college transfer students now.  Don’t think that it isn’t possible to transfer into Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Dartmouth, Columbia, Brown, UPenn, or Cornell because it is.

If you’re not thrilled by the school you got into, if you got rejected from the Ivy League either Early Decision or regular admissions, know that it is STILL possible.

You just need a strategy and a plan, and that’s exactly what I do.  Contact me today for a free consultation!   www.IvyCollegeEssay.com

See you in the Ivy League!

Check out some of my other Ivy League admissions consulting posts here, like: The Parent’s Guide to Getting Your Student Into the Ivy League

I’m a former Harvard admissions interviewer + Harvard grad, and currently run the  Ivy League college admissions firm: www.IvyCollegeEssay.com . Contact me today for a free consultation, and get in to the school of your dreams!]

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