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College Candidate Building

Prepare Yourself for College Admissions

University admission gets more competitive every year.
Together, we'll create a personalized strategy to place your applications above the rest.

Contrary to popular belief, admissions committees want specialists, not well rounded studentsThe days where a high GPA and exceptional test scores guaranteed admission at a top university have passed. Academia is not enough to get into America’s top universities. Over 75% of applicants to MIT are academically qualified, yet only 5% are admitted. What sets them apart? Extracurricular achievement. 

We help students become the kind of candidates their target colleges want to accept: the eponymous “Ivy Scholars.”  We promote scholarship, accomplishment, introspection, conviviality, and the host of other traits needed to gain entry to and succeed at a great university. More concretely, we help students understand themselves through an exhaustive counseling process covering their own personal strengths, the kind of change they want to make in the world, and the kind of education they’re seeking from their college experience. Then, we review admissions strategy. Once we’ve helped students understand all that, we help them carry out unique, innovative projects, research, or initiatives to demonstrate their desire to change the world for the better, and their potential to become a future leader in their field. We provide organization-oriented project management, growth-oriented mentorship, and achievement-oriented coaching.

Ivy Scholars has done the homework necessary to strike an amazing balance between promoting holistic growth through introspection, and ensuring students develop the executive functioning skills necessary to get complicated, ambiguous tasks organized and completed.

Our process builds candidacy over four stages, detailed below. Each student is assigned to a mentor who will guide them through their journey. Our mentors have attended schools such as Harvard, Columbia, Oxford, and Johns Hopkins. We know what top colleges are looking for in applicants, and how to coach our students to success.

Our Process

Phase One
Assessment
We start by learning who your student is. We use assessments to determine their strengths, discuss their passions, and get to know them as people. By learning who they are now, we learn how we can build them up, and where their passions lie.
Phase One
Phase Two
Skills Development
Next, we help your student develop their hard and soft skills. From time management, to public speaking, to writing, to the mechanics of studying, we shore up the areas where our student is less developed, tailoring our program to the needs of each student.
Phase Two
Phase Three
Intellectual Vitality
In phase three, we help your student take their extracurricular activities to the next level. Our goal is to help students move from typical high school extracurriculars - National Honor Society, Debate, or Science Bowl, for example - into extraordinary arenas to demonstrate their exceptional skills. Our students launch collaborative projects for publication, intern at NGOs, participate in academic research - whatever it takes to provide amazing evidence of their passion for learning.
Phase Three
Phase Four
Leadership & Service
In phase four, we help students explore their potential for leadership and dedication to community service. We guide students through taking initiative on an issue they find personally significant, to show universities that your child is capable of creating social change on a local level. Our students frequently partner with regional nonprofits to extend the reach of their initiatives and enhance their candidacy. Students finish candidacy with amazing activities that convey their intellectual promise, leadership skills, and sense of civic responsibility. In our College Application program, these activities become the foundation of standout essays that lead Ivy Scholars students to acceptance at their dream school.
Phase Four

Our Results

Our Candidacy Building program works to make students more attractive to top tier universities by giving them tangible accomplishments through their extracurriculars. Top tier schools have limitless options for academically successful students, so extracurricular accomplishments are required to make an applicant stand out. We help build the story of a student, so when admissions officers read it, they can clearly see how going to their college is the next logical step in their story.

Ivy Scholars’ Candidacy Building program is designed to help your child become the best version of themselves; to build upon their strengths and passions, and to showcase how amazing they are for admissions officers. Your student will work with their mentor to develop their skills, and will grow as a scholar and person.

To understand our practical results:

  • One of our 2018 applicants wrote a Facebook API that connected private watercraft owners from Katy to League City with flooded-out victims of Hurricane Katrina. That student coordinated the arrival of private watercraft to transport nearly 100 people to safety. Their subsequent acceptance to Vanderbilt was well-earned. This student already knew they wanted to enter the field of computer science, but working with us helped them find what they wanted to do in that field. 
  • A 2019 student did medical research at Rice, then talked to his professor’s colleagues at Harvard, built a relationship, flew up to meet them, and moved to Boston for 3 months in the summer between his junior and senior year to continue his research at Harvard’s laboratory – the best of its kind in the world. He’s now at the Rice-Baylor BS/MD program, which accepted less than 1% of applicants that year. On a personal note, I’m incredibly proud of how much his professional communication skills developed.
  • Nika Filippov, one of my all-time favorite students, did an absolutely astounding job evoking the best talent from a team of strangers in one of her engineering competitions. You can read her Personal Statement here. Her GPA and SAT were below-average for Columbia, but they snapped her up in the first round of admissions anyway. I like to think that our mentorship helped her make the best out of her social and intellectual potential.

Schedule a free consultation to learn more about our Candidacy Building program.

Our experts make Houston students into Ivy League applicants.

5/5
Wendy Y.
Parent
Below is my son's review. He was accepted to his dream Ivy League school!

From an admitted student's perspective, I am incredibly grateful to have met Sasha - he has been instrumental in helping me achieve my educational dreams (Ivy League), all while being an absolute joy (he's a walking encyclopedia, only funnier!) to work with.

Many people are dissuaded from seeking a college counselor because they think they can get into their desired college(s) either way. Honestly, going that route is a bit short-sighted and can jeopardize your odds of acceptances after years of hard work. The sad truth is, the American education system (even if you attend a fancy private school and ESPECIALLY if you go to a public school) doesn't really tell students how to write a compelling and authentic application. Going into the admissions process alone, without speaking with an advisor, is like going to court without a lawyer - you put yourself at a significant disadvantage because you don't have all the facts in front of you, or the help you need to negotiate the system.

That said, you need a good lawyer just like you need a good college counselor. And that's where Sasha distinguishes himself from the crowd of people claiming they'll get you into Harvard. I came to Sasha worried about and frankly dumbfounded by the college admissions process. I was unsure what to write about and how to go about drafting the essay that perfectly captured my passion, interests, and self. And I was highly skeptical that anyone could really help me. But, damn, did Sasha prove me wrong. From the beginning, Sasha amazed me with his understanding of the process, and ability to lend clarity and direction to me when I desperate needed it. After interviewing me about my background, experiences, activities, outlook, and vision, he helped me see qualities about myself I had not previously considered 'unique' or 'stand-out.' This process of understanding myself was so incredibly important in laying the groundwork for the essays I eventually wrote, and I'm certain I would've drafted boring, inauthentic essays without it.

Looking back, Sasha's talent is that he can see where your strengths lie, even when you don't see them. The truth is, although we don't always realize it, everyone has a unique story to tell. Sasha helped me see mine, and with his big-picture insight I was able to write the application that truly encapsulated my life and vision. He inspired me to dig deeper and write better, challenging me to revise and revise until my essays were the most passionate and authentic work I had ever written. As clichéd as that sounds, that's really what universities are looking for. In retrospect, it makes sense - in the real world passionate (not simply intelligent) individuals are the ones who make a difference in the world, and those are the individuals colleges would like to have associated with their brand.

In the end, I was accepted to the college of my dreams, a feat I could not have achieved without the direction Sasha lent to me. Essays (and the personal narrative you develop through your application) matter so much, and can literally make or break your application. I have seen so many of my 'qualified' friends receive rejections because they wrote contrived essays that didn't truly represent who they were; conversely, I have also seen so many friends with shorter resumes accepted because they were able to articulate their story in a genuinely passionate and authentic way - I fall into the latter category.

As a former admissions officer at Johns Hopkins, Sasha knows what types of essays jibe well with universities, an invaluable asset to have in the admissions process. He is responsive, flexible, creative, positive, and witty. For anyone who is serious about going into the college admissions process informed and prepared, I highly recommend Sasha.
5/5
Arda E.
Student
I used Ivy Scholars to mainly help me with college applications. Within weeks of using this service, Sasha was able to simplify the already complex process. When it came to writing the Common App essay, Sasha didn’t just help with grammar and syntax, he brought my essays to life. Sasha also worked tirelessly to help solidify my extracurricular activities, including research and internship opportunities. Without his help, I would have never had an impressive resume.

Sasha is not only an extremely knowledgeable tutor, but also a genuine brother figure. His guidance, throughout my last two years of high school, was everything I needed to get me an acceptance letter from my dream schools (UC Berkeley, Tufts, Emory).

When it came to testing, Ivy Scholars worked like a charm. Sasha offered a very comprehensive plan when it came to completely acing my standardized tests. Without his test taking strategies I would have never gotten straight 5s on my AP tests and a 35 on the ACT.

Working with Sasha, I didn’t just become a good student, I became a genuine scholar.
5/5
Samson S.
Parent
We worked with Ivy Scholars during my son's senior year. I was concerned that we may be too late to take advantage of college advising but the Ivy Scholars team quickly and confidently directed us through the steps to ensure no deadlines were missed. Sasha's knowledge about schools, what they looked for in candidates, and how to maneuver the application process was invaluable. Mateo and Ryan worked with my son to help him create an essay that would get noticed and I am so appreciative he had their guidance.

Prior to securing Ivy Scholars, we tried using a less-expensive online service which was a terrible experience. As a parent, Ivy Scholars brought peace of mind to an area that was frankly overwhelming. This service was invaluable in the knowledge that we gained throughout the process. He has also met with my freshman daughter to provide guidance for her high school courses, career paths, extracurricular activities, and more.

Prior to signing with Ivy Scholars, I tried a less expensive online service and was very disappointed.

As a result of our work with Ivy Scholars, I am pleased to say that my son will be attending Stern Business School at New York University this fall! I highly recommend Ivy Scholars. Highly recommend!