Charly Santagado


Charly Santagado attended Rutgers University on a Presidential Scholarship and graduated with highest honors in 2017 with a major in philosophy, and minors in creative writing, dance, and music. She won the W.J. Norton Alumni Prize for the female philosophy major with the highest GPA and the High Academic Achiever Award for the student athlete with the top GPA. Prior to joining Ivy Scholars, Charly worked for many years as an SAT and ACT tutor. She is also a freelance writer and the founding director of 501-c3 nonprofit arts organization Mignolo Arts.

Charly joined Ivy Scholars in 2018 as a test prep mentor and has since focused on the college applications and essay editing process. While she’s worked with students with a variety of interests and aspirations, she specializes in humanities and social science disciplines and particularly enjoys working with artistically inclined students. As an ex-D1 college gymnast, she is also familiar with navigating the NCAA.

Charly forges strong connections with her students that empower them to put their full selves into their college essays. Her students have gone on to excel at universities like Stanford, Cornell, UPenn, and Columbia, and Charly cherishes the many “I got into my dream school!” phone calls she’s had the pleasure of receiving during her time at Ivy Scholars.

Charly has helped students gain admission to the following colleges: Columbia, Duke, Emory, Fordham, Harvard, Northeastern, NYU, Rice, Texas A&M, UC Berkeley, UCLA, USC, UMichigan, UT Austin, UVA, William & Mary


Alma Mater: Rutgers University

Based In: New Jersey


Here are some of Charly’s past successes with students. Click to expand:

Nika came to Ivy Scholars as an accomplished fencer, and a dedicated scholar. While she did not have the test scores she knew she needed, her extracurricular performance was remarkable. The only thing she needed was to show colleges what she was capable of. 

Nika began working with Charly, and they had strong rapport almost immediately. They were able to bond over their shared athletic passion, and understanding what it meant to balance competing at a high level with the demands of course work, and the desire to continue their participation in college. 

The initial challenge was helping Nika prepare for the SATs. While her score did improve, it was still on the lower end of what top schools accept. Luckily, Nika was a stellar athlete, and if the rest of her application was perfect, then that would be enough to push her application over the edge. 

Charly and Nika began working on her essays, and on trying to find where her academic passions lay. Charly encouraged her to discuss her passion for engineering, and helped her describe how Nika had interacted with the field, the challenges she’d faced, and all she’d overcome. 

The strong rapport Charly built with Nika came in helpful here; the essay process many students find grueling went by in a breeze, with an essay completed each session, and much mirth found by all. 

In the end, the essays Nika crafted, combined with her amazing extracurriculars and athletic talents, proved sufficient to get her into Columbia. She plans to continue fencing, and we wish her all the best, in the Salle or the classroom.

Faizan was a challenging case. He applied to Yale early decision, and then rested, not bothering to apply to other schools. When he was deferred at Yale, he panicked, and turned to us for help. We matched Faizan with Charly, who is a master at helping students revise their applications under a tight deadline, and allowing them to show off all they had accomplished.

Faizan was a skilled debater, and a strong writer as well. Charly helped him quickly determine what he had missed in his initial application, and how to edit the essays he’d drafted for Yale to fit the prompts of the other schools on his list. SHe also helped him edit his Common App, so that his activities list more accurately captured all of his accomplishments. 

While Charly only had a few weeks to work, she was able to get Faizan back on track, and help him face college admissions calmly, in spite of his earlier panic. Faizan’s hard work paid off, and he was accepted to Stanford regular decision.

Transform your college application.

Wendy Y.
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.
Arda E.
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.
Samson S.
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!