We aren’t just about writing great essays. We want our students to become great applicants and for those great essays to flow naturally from developed writing skills and meaningful experiences. In essence, we want our students to become true “Ivy Scholars.”
The best time to start planning is 8th or 9th grade. Students are rarely self-motivated at this age, so parents have to take responsibility for helping their children to plan. Ideal students walk into their first day of high school with a list of extracurricular activities to explore and specialize in 1-2 activities by 10th grade. By 11th grade, a student’s college candidacy is mostly set, but quick intervention can still help juniors qualify for higher-tier admissions than they otherwise would.
Universities will often disregard freshman year grades and always value grades from 11th grade as most indicative of a student’s maturity and academic performance. Check here for a full article on the subject.
A college admissions coach serves as an intermediary between parents and students, provides clear expert advice, structure, and understands what universities want in an applicant. A student from Ivy Scholars class of 2018 (Wharton class of 2022) put it best, “going into the admissions process alone 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 navigate the system.”
We begin by developing an understanding of each student’s goals and perspective and teach parents how they can best support their child. By identifying the strengths and passions of each student, we provide them with opportunities to develop and capitalize on needs or problems in their community. From here, we help each student build projects that make the world better and showcase their candidacy. Finally, we help students explore which schools are compatible with these interests, and help them find their voice through admissions essays, focusing on how to convey an authentic, mature self to their target schools.
No. We work with students from all places and of all backgrounds.
Yes, about 20% of Ivy Scholars is international students.
No. Every year, we get a few students who call in with weeks on the clock and rush with us to finalize fantastic essays. Often, students rejected from their ED school reach out to us, and we rush to help them wrap up strong applications before the end of December.
Candidacy building! Freshman and sophomores should focus on exploring interests and taking the initiative to apply the skills they learn with small-scale projects around their school, community, or in connection with a research group or nonprofit organization.
Of course! We have homeschool students every year whose parents are used to finding the best resources possible to support their child’s unique needs and ambitions.
Depending on the year they come to Ivy Scholars, we can help them choose classes to take to meet and exceed admission requirements. We also look at the student and family’s goals and make sure that they are aligned with every aspect of their education from extracurricular activities to determining how they present themselves on their college application. Working closely with parents and students who are passionate about their education is always a bonus when working with homeschooled families.
No. While state requirements vary for high school students, admission requirements for colleges are the same for homeschooled children as traditional applicants alike.
Take 100 and divide it by the admit rate of the schools you really want to go to. For example, if you want to attend Harvard or Stanford, each with a 4% admission rate, you should apply to about 25 schools. If you want to attend a school about as selective as UT Austin, applying to five to seven schools is sufficient.
Four for students taking a conservative application approach, and ten or more for students doing everything possible to get into top tier schools.
Three to four. There’s no way you can visit all of them. Visit the schools on your list that track demonstrated interest and use your visits as learning opportunities, not ways to build candidacy.
Be authentic and show that you understand how you’ve developed throughout high school. Be purposeful and have a mission for who you want to be with measurable steps to achieve your goals.
Create a transfer plan. We’ve helped numerous students transfer into their dream schools after being initially rejected.
Students get rejected for failure to demonstrate intellectual vitality. If you didn’t get into a top tier school, but you had strong grades and test scores, you probably didn’t show your ability to learn and grow at their school as well as you needed to.
Sadly, universities never disclose their reasons for rejection.
Students with low grades and test scores get filtered out. Schools look for extraordinary reasons to accept students with average scores. Students with high grades are evaluated for achievements. Students with interesting achievements that demonstrate intellectual vitality, the initiative to lead projects, and a sense of purpose and joy in learning, will be judged on their essays. Students with all of these qualities and eloquent essays that can give admissions officers a vision of how they will function on campus will be offered admission. We discuss this in further depth in our article, here.
What sort of role would this student play in their peer group? What sort of abilities does a student have that let them succeed in that role? How will this student add to campus life? How will they participate in classes, extracurriculars, student activities, and campus culture? We discuss this in more depth here.
Students should challenge themselves in high school, taking the most difficult ones available.
Courses with maximum rigor and ones that students use to explore their interests. Prospective engineering students should take STEM classes.
Yes. They don’t want students to take it too easy, but would rather see them finish strong. Taking it too easy sends the message that students were only taking rigorous classes for admissions purposes and not for the love of learning. Universities won’t accept “senioritis” as an excuse for low grades.
You won’t be penalized if your school lacks AP/IB/Honors classes, but if you have those options, you should take them whenever possible. If your school offers them and you don’t take them, it’s a red flag to admissions officers.
Yes. Half of all accepted students are below average. The key is to be the type of applicant whose story justifies taking a chance on below-average numbers.
Mostly weighted, especially insofar as it plays into class rank. Ivies expect high weighted GPAs and for their students to take almost all of the most challenging classes available.
Write outstanding essays and demonstrate a personal and ideological connection with the school. See our Essay Archive here.
If you’re asking this question, you’re looking for a reason to accept “no” for an answer. Are you scared of the competition? If so, reach out to existing students and ask how they handle it. Are you scared of finances? Call the financial aid office, and honestly lay out your concerns. Reach out to people.
Extracurriculars should convey a sense of unity among your interests. Your approach can be “project-based”: starting a blog about a topic you are interested in, a reading group, club, or even an online business on Etsy. Are you enamored with a particular academic subject or professional vocation (law, medical, or business practice)? Sign up for volunteer opportunities, internships, or summer programs that explicitly relate to it. For instance, a student interested in medicine might go to a summer medical camp, take some online courses, volunteer at a medical institution, or try their hand at publishing an article in a medical journal/essay contest. We discuss this more in depth here.
Independent projects that demonstrate initiative, passionate curiosity, and the ability to carry out one’s vision over the long term.
Sadly, no. Sports are a fun way to flesh out a student and show they aren’t homebodies, but sports don’t start having an effect on admissions until you’re a top athlete. For competitive athletes, coaches will approach the admissions office and advocate for your admission.