Nick Popow


Nick graduated from Rutgers University with a B.A in philosophy and a minor in comparative Literature, he also completed an M.A in philosophy at The City University of New York. He is also a founding editor of Pinky Thinker Press, an interdisciplinary arts journal. Nick hopes to complete a PhD in philosophy in the near future. He enjoys nurturing his reading addiction, short story and poetry writing and film-watching. His personal and intellectual philosophy expresses itself in a commitment to always finding an interesting, even downright exciting avenue of study in even the most (at first blush) unspectacular-sounding fields. 

Everything, every discipline or job, has an angle that touches on the philosophical, an area where difficult, thought-provoking questions are posed and answered. Nick brings this approach to his work with students: whether their interest lies in comparing indigenous religions or dissecting contemporary macroeconomics, Nick seeks out the particularly vital points of interest that ignite his students’ curiosity. He has a great deal of experience in writing essays with students that take experimental approaches, although sometimes a more straightforward strategy is the approach that serves the student’s needs best. 

His (current) favorite essay written with an Ivy Scholars student is a personal statement he helped a former student compose. The essay uses an extended analogy based on the student’s love for fly fishing: illustrating that reeling in a great fish is like pulling in a grand idea or concept. What makes this essay special lies in the perfect balance it achieves between the high and low, the heady and the intimate, the fated and the random. It is both deeply idiosyncratic and completely relatable to anyone who has gone through the process of dealing with a tough, unfamiliar situation.

Fun Fact: I am addicted to reading books that have no practical relation to my life.

Nick has helped students gain acceptance to the following colleges: Cornell, Georgia Tech, Rice, Texas A&M, UC Berkeley, UChicago, UT Austin, UVA


Alma Mater: Rutgers University

Based In: New Jersey

Favorite Quote

We fill preexisting forms and when we fill them we change them and are changed” – Jorge Luis Borges.


Here’s a parent review from a student I mentored 2020-2022. Here’s another from two sisters that I mentored 2020-2022; they were accepted to JHU and MIT. Here’s another about my strategy for acceptance to UT Austin, and another from 2 siblings who both were accepted to Rice.

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

Giancarlo was already an accomplished and motivated student when he started working with Nick, with special passions for STEM, specifically programming and video game design, and philosophy. It was his interest in philosophy that caused him to be partnered with Nick, whose expertise in the field helped direct Giancarlo’s candidacy building development. 

Giancarlo had been in the process of coding an app which would ask users about their philosophical views, and then advise them which philosophical school is most aligned with their views. Nick helped guide him to resources, and the app was published shortly thereafter. 

Giancarlo’s passion for game design and philosophy sparked interesting questions, so Nick guided him to books on the philosophy of video games as an art form, and whether or not video games (or indeed, art at all) can be used to convey information. As Giancarlo did more research, he realized he had things to say on this topic. With Nick’s help, he wrote a research paper striving to answer this question and submitted it for publication; it was published shortly thereafter. 

When it came time to apply for colleges, Nick helped Giancarlo express his love of both in his essays, culminating in a personal statement wherein he narrated his experience creating a video game. 

Giancarlo applied to a number of top programs, and got into Rice, Georgia Tech, and UT Austin’s Turing Scholars program. Nick enjoyed working with such a motivated and intellectually curious student.

Max was a passionate and academically talented student with two specific interests: math and film. Nick’s own interest in avante-garde cinema, and the philosophical questions it raises, made them an easy match. 

The first challenge was starting a film club at school, so Max could share his passion for film with others. His first attempt went poorly, as the first film he screened was too much too fast, his fellow students ill-equipped to discuss and analyze avante-garde films. Nick helped Max analyze what went wrong and try again, and in the second venture found success. Screening films his peers would enjoy and find accessible, and introducing them to the joys of critical analysis and discussion. 

These discussions between Nick and Max sparked philosophical questions in turn, and led to Max doing research on philosophy as well, to understand whether film as an art can transmit non propositional knowledge; that is knowledge which transcends individual statements, and cannot be broken down into individual falsifiable propositions. He believed it could, and Max composed a paper arguing that films provide a unique window into the historical cultural zeitgeist, a sense of time and tone which transcends what can be expressed through words alone.

While this paper did not get published, it did inspire Max to create and host a city-wide short film festival for high school students, drawing dozens of submissions from amateur auteurs. The festival was a remarkable success, and Nick is helping him transform momentum from it into a city-wide organization devoted to the love of film. 

These passions came to play in Max’s essays, as Nick helped him express his dual passions for math and film in language college admissions officers could understand. Mac’s top choice was Rice and he applied Early Decision. We are happy to report that he got in, as they recognized his academic and extracurricular achievements. Nick loved working with such a motivated and talented student, one who so enjoyed exploring his passions, wherever they led him.

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!