LAUREL Scholars Program

Learners Access to University Readiness through Education and Leadership

Our Mission

We aspire to unlock the potential and transform the trajectory of marginalized high school students who demonstrate curiosity, sincere passion, commitment and drive through individualized college application coaching and mentorship.

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Our Service

The Laurel Scholars Program serves to provide college admission consulting services to high school students who demonstrate need. In recognition that ability is equally distributed yet resources are not, the Laurel Scholars Program works to build a bridge between aptitude and opportunity for individuals who lack access to the necessary support. We believe that students who have overcome difficult and transformative life experiences are essential to the academic vitality of collegiate institutions and support the diversity of ideas that strengthen these communities. With emphasis on mentorship in the Socratic method, the Laurel Scholars Program supports students who seek to rise above challenging circumstances and helps them realize their goals and access the power of higher education. Laurel Scholars is devoted to giving students the resources and help they need to prosper in this process.

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Success Stories

Emigrating from Brazil and only recently a citizen, Anna was enthralled by American politics and wanted to affect change in her new home. With a future goal of becoming a Senator, she had already involved herself heavily in politics in high school, serving as the Houston Regional Director for High School Democrats. Anna knew she needed a great education to support her dreams and turned to Ivy Scholars to help her obtain it.

Our first priority with Anna was helping her determine where she should apply. Her grades were good enough to ensure admission to UT Austin, but she had her sights set higher. We helped Anna build a list of schools which would serve her well, all of which were dedicated to meeting her financial need.

Though Anna came in with a high GPA, we advised her in SAT strategies and helped her manage test anxiety. When she retook the tests, her scores improved tremendously.

Anna had a great story, she just needed guidance in how to tell it. We helped Anna brainstorm, draft, and edit her essays, showing her passion for the political process, and her drive to change the world and help people. Like many others, Anna desired to help as many people as she could, and saw politics as the best way to do that. In her personal statement, she showed the strength of her convictions, and how they drove her forward. With our help, she took her essays to the next level, and was able to submit them with confidence.

Anna was accepted into Rice, USC, NYU, and UT Austin’s prestigious Canfield Business Honors program. She chose Rice, due to the amazing scholarship she was awarded. We were happy to help Anna on her educational journey, and look forward to seeing how she will go on to change the world.

The first in her family to attend college in the United States, Zara had excellent grades and test scores but needed help understanding the admissions process. Her goal was to become a doctor, and dedicate her life to helping others. Ivy Scholars was glad to help her on her journey.

We began by helping her organize her applications using our deadline management program. This tracked all of her applications, their due dates, and the materials she was working on. Zara wanted to apply to many colleges, so keeping everything organized was of paramount importance.

Next, we turned to her essays. Zara knew what programs she wanted to pursue, and we helped her craft the perfect essays to appeal to them. With her hard work and a bit of help, Zara is now studying pre-med at UCSD, well on her way to a medical career. Ivy Scholars is proud to have helped her achieve her collegiate dreams.

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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!