How to get into the Ivy Leagues!
By Cody Sugarman -
By Cody Sugarman -
It’s 2020, and getting into an Ivy League is becoming increasingly competitive. Last year, over 300,000 students applied to the Ivy Leagues, and the average acceptance rate was under 9%. So the big question we all want answered is: How Do I Get into An Ivy League?
Step 1: Understand There Is No Magic Formula
The first thing to understand about the college admissions process is that admissions officers are real people. Just like you and me, they have biases and make mistakes! Fortunately, most college admissions teams use a ‘panel-style’ review process that factors in several perspectives.
Step 2: Stand Out in a Simple Way
There are thousands of candidates from good schools, with good grades, with good extra-curriculars. It might feel overwhelming to have to compete with this pool of applicants… but you have to keep one thing in mind: do they stand out in a simple way? In other words, is their application easy to remember. The key to increasing your chances of admissions at the Ivy leagues is doing something big. It’s hard for an admissions officer to remember the 15 amazing and vastly different extacurrricular activities that you did after school… but it’s easy remember those 1-2 incredible stand out things that you did!
Let’s look at some examples:
Karen plays varsity soccer at her school… she works part-time volunteering at the local animal shelter… she’s on the school debate team… she tutors students in Mathematics… she plays the saxophone in the school’s marching band… she did Bioengineering camp at Harvard…
Ok - I’ll admit… Karen sounds like kind of a superhuman. She’s incredibly well-rounded, and would be probably be an excellent fit at any good school… BUT… it’s quite difficult to remember all of the things she does…
Martina plays varsity soccer at her school… she loves programming… in her free time Martina built a WebApp to connect local students in the Bay Area and organize pick up soccer games…. she called it FootieMatch… eventually Martina started charging $5 for each FootieMatch game and donating that money to buy local disadvantaged students soccer cleats.
Ok – Martina is also a superb candidate. Although she might not participate in quite as many activities as Karen, she stands out in a simple way.
Step 3: Try and Give Yourself a Label
Let’s look at the previous example of Karen and Martina. Try and put yourself in the shoes of a college admissions officer. You’re reading hundreds of applications every day… when someone at the office asks you: “hey, did you read any really good applications today?”, what are you probably going to say? “Oh yeah, there were a lot of strong applications, but there’s one applicant who started this really cool program called FootieMatch! She built the whole thing herself, and used it to help raise money for a local charity!”