Ivy League Admissions Secrets

Before we get too deep into this post, it’s important to note that the majority of kids who apply to the Ivy League don’t really deserve to get in, and they, themselves, don’t realize it. We don’t mean to say this to be cruel.  But before exerting time, energy, and money, you should consider what we’re saying.

The thing is, schools publish deceptive statistics about college admissions. For example, Cornell says its ACT range is a 31-34. So, you’ll have kids with 30s and 31s applying, but one secret is that the bottom 50 percent doesn’t include you. It includes kids with special circumstances, like athletes and major legacy/donors.  

The other thing we want to make note of is that kids are always looking for hacks to get into the Ivies. But, there’s no one easy tip that’s going to help you bypass everything else. It just takes hard work and tenacity, and odds are, if you’re looking for that one golden tip to get the easy A, the Ivies probably aren’t for you.

Secret 1: False Advertising

The biggest trade secret is that all universities are businesses. As such, they are beholden to boards, and how they please their boards and measure their own success is through their admissions rates. So, pretend you’re a university decision-maker. What’s the best way to build a more competitive admissions rate? Well, one sure fire way to do it is to increase your applicant pool. Schools have marketing budgets, just like other companies, and part of the responsibility of the marketing team is to get kids to apply who are not going to get in.  

Secret 2: We know what they’re looking for  

The reality is, they’re looking for kids with perfect grades and perfect scores who have interesting extra-curricular activities and demonstrate passion and expertise in some area.

Don’t @ us.  

Secret 3: By ‘some area’ we mean any area

Like life, where you can be successful in literally any field, it’s much harder to be successful at one something while you’re pursuing 20 somethings. So, when choosing an area do dive deeply into throughout your high school career, you have to specialize in something particular. A lot of kids end up doing 10 things at the same time. They volunteer at a soup kitchen, play on the soccer team, join the school play, participate in the debate club, and either have a lot of fun, or are really exhausted, but the end of the day, they’ve worked hard. The sad thing is, not all hard work is created equal. The same is true in professional life. It’s much easier to be the exception to the rule when you specify and focus.

Secret 4: The essay is key  

If you are anywhere near being qualified, the thing that’s really going to push you over the edge is your writing. Kids and parents get so caught up in all of the other application elements that when it comes to the writing, they think what they need to do is defend their kids’ record. So, if a parent is freaking out that their kid hasn’t done enough community service, they often encourage their kid to write an explanation for why that was. Nope. Don’t do that.

If you’re the kid who eats tuna at school every day, you don’t continuously apologize for eating tuna at the table. You’re the tuna kid and you’re not going to stop anytime soon, so instead of being self-loathing, you probably just rock it. Use the essays to build yourself out. Talk about how to make the world’s best tuna melt. They probably won’t get two essays about tuna melts. But they will definitely get hundreds on community service.


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