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Dave Wtorkowski

Mentor

Dave enrolled at Dartmouth to study medicine, but fell in love with storytelling and learning and switched his major to Psychology. He was active in speech competitions, improv comedy, and wrote and illustrated a children’s book. He spent considerable time studying abroad in Greece, France and Hungary. He was traveling through Eastern Europe when the Berlin Wall came down, and was seized by Czech border guards because he was American. He survived, barely. After college, Dave spent two decades as a professional writer in Hollywood, crafting pitch documents for major TV studios. His writing career culminated in a six-year stint as a Vice President at Disney, home of the world’s greatest storytellers. When it was time to leave the Hollywood grind, Dave returned to his academic roots, helping starry-eyed students like himself tell their own personal stories, write the perfect college essays, and get into their dream schools.

Dave joined Ivy Scholars first as a College Essay Specialist, and then as a Candidacy Building mentor. As much as Dave loves the process of helping students craft the perfect college essay, he knows that the real work begins years earlier, as an underclassman. The experiences you have earlier in your career will not only help you grow and develop as a person, they provide essential fodder for your application essays later on. It’s one thing to look back and try to put the best “spin” on what you’ve already done. It’s infinitely more powerful to look ahead and build the future you want to have. But regardless of whether he’s helping a student with Candidacy Building or College Applications, he tries to make his sessions as enjoyable as possible. He’s genuinely interested in getting to know his students and helping them discover what makes them shine.

“Being a mentor gives me a chance to re-do my own college application experience, where I was needlessly stressed and unprepared. While I was fortunate to get into my top choice school, my high school career lacked a clear narrative. I dabbled in everything, but excelled at nothing. These days, competitive schools don’t want generalists. They’re looking to recruit a student body of specialists who together will form a well-rounded class. When I work with generalists like myself, I help them find a unifying thread in all of their disparate activities — like leadership, entrepreneurialism, or fearlessness — to tie everything together. And when I work with specialists, I help them balance out their strong A-side with a compelling or unexpected B-side so they come across as multi-dimensional, layered, and interesting. In this way, I arm students with the insights and strategies to crack the college code.”

Fun Fact: Dave used to perform improv comedy with Rachel Dratch (aka Debbie Downer) from Saturday Night Live.

Profile

Alma Mater: Dartmouth College

Based In: Connecticut

Favorite Quote

Stay hungry, stay curious, stay foolish. Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition; they somehow already know what you want to become.” — Steve Jobs

Transform your college application.

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!