Prospective Scholars

Eligibility Requirements

In addition to the Our Students section, students must:

  1. Demonstrate need and come from families who meet the following criterion: household income should be 400% or lower than the National Poverty Level for their family size (based upon fiscal year guidelines and state of residency).
  2. Demonstrate a satisfactory command of English. If English is not your first language this means 100+ on TOEFL or 7.5+ on IELTS.
  3. A Laurel Scholars student is in the top 10% of their class, is taking challenging courses, and has a transcript with mostly A’s.
  4. Must be in high school in 10th, 11th or 12th grade.

Note: We recognize that some gifted students have endured unique situations that might have impacted their schooling and/or grades. If this is your case, but you have other ways to demonstrate your academic prowess and/or niche expertise, we welcome your application.

The Commitment

The Laurel Scholars Program is a serious commitment. We ask that if selected, you commit to the program in its entirety, meaning you will work with us through your college acceptances and post-acceptance planning. 

We ask that you remain committed to your studies, as well as attend regular one-hour meetings on Zoom with your mentor and complete your work between sessions. Although the amount of time assignments will take will vary, you should expect to spend up to five hours a week working on essays or other endeavors.


In addition to meeting the requirements listed in the ‘Our Students’ section, students must demonstrate financial need.

Note: We recognize the complexity and nuance in how financial hardship may not be easily visible on paper and will consider circumstances on an individual basis for students who fall outside of these parameters.

We begin by developing an understanding of your goals and perspective. By identifying your strengths and passions, we provide you with opportunities to develop and address needs or problems in your community. From here, we help you build projects that make the world better and showcase your candidacy to top colleges. Finally, we help you explore which schools are compatible with these interests, and help you find your voice within admissions essays, focusing on how to convey an authentic, mature self to your target schools.

All coaching sessions take place online. We meet with scholars over Zoom, and review essays via Google Docs and Google Classroom. Students also have access to an online project management software, Asana, to keep track of assignments and stay organized.

100% of our students receive acceptance to a reach or target school. Many receive full ride scholarships, but we cannot guarantee it.

Our Laurel Scholars alumni have attended Columbia, University of Pennsylvania, Rice, UT Austin’s McCombs School of Business Canfield Honors Program, Bates, and USC, with over 50% of acceptances meeting 90% of financial need.

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.

Yes. While we primarily work with students in the United States, we welcome students from around the world that meet our language and grade requirements.

It is okay to feel lost in regard to the college application process.

If you believe you demonstrate the intelligence and drive that is essential for successful top-tier college admissions, but have unique circumstances that do not fit our status quo, we encourage you to still apply and advocate for yourself.

Ready to Apply?

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!