We are a for-profit company, but we are in a good position to see the problems students face from the current state of college admissions, and how schools’ admissions policies are failing students. We understand that, unfortunately, there are many outstanding students who are unable to hire a college admissions consultancy to assist in their educational journey.
After all, we often exhort our students on the benefits of volunteering, it would be remiss for us to do otherwise.
Pro-bono students should be high achievers academically, but struggle with college applications due to outside circumstances. We select students with high grades (i.e. mostly As), who have challenged themselves academically, and who are at the top of their class. We also require students in the pro-bono program come from families earning under $65,000 per year.
We want to see students with a compelling story, who have worked hard and made the best of their situation. We look for the same thing colleges look for; engagement with passions, a desire to learn for its own sake, and internal motivation. We want to help our students succeed, and because our resources are limited, we pick the students who are most likely to benefit from our assistance.
Our pro-bono curriculum is the same as the one we offer to all our students. You can read about how it works here.
We usually meet with students twice a week, for an hour or less each time. However, we assign a lot of work outside our meetings. While the amount of time this will take to complete varies, you should expect to spend up to five hours a week working on essays or doing homework. This is a lot of work, but colleges demand a lot from applicants. The overall length of an engagement varies, depending on how many applications we are doing together.
Once or twice a week, for an hour or less each meeting. We may meet more often or for longer as deadlines approach if we need to finish essays or applications. This schedule gives students time to work on their applications between meetings, and finish any homework that gets assigned.
Our first meetings are informational and designed to finish clear and short tasks. We try to finish these early and quickly. Later on, we begin work on essays, which are more complicated, and require more effort to do well.
We’ve had great success with our students so far, with graduates of the program attending Columbia, Rice, and UT Austin’s McCombs Business Honors Program. Another student attended University of Houston’s Bauer College of Business on a full-ride scholarship. For more information on our past students, check out our case studies below.
As with our regular college admissions program, all of the lessons take place online. Ivy Scholars hires the best mentors we can find, regardless of where they live, which means in-person meetings are often impossible. We use an online project management software, Asana, to keep our progress on track and organized. We meet with students over Zoom, and use Google Docs and Classroom to good effect.
The child of immigrants from Brazil, and recently a citizen herself, Anna was enthralled by American politics, and wanted to leave her mark on 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 however, and turned to Ivy Scholars to help her get 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. She wanted to attend a school out of state, and needed one which would help her with scholarships as well. We helped Anna build a list of schools which would serve her well, all of which are dedicated to meeting financial need.
While her grades were amazing already, we also advised Anna on retaking her tests strategically. She had struggled with her tests before, due to test anxiety and a medical condition. We advised her on getting a doctor’s note to allow for additional time, and helped her prepare to ease her anxiety. When she retook the tests, her scores improved tremendously.
Anna had a great story, she just needed 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.
We sent out the applications, and Anna got accepted into Rice, USC, NYU, and UT Austin’s prestigious Canfield Business Honors program. She attended 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.