We get this question a lot, and there is no one size fits all answer here. We understand that at its core, what this question really asks is how students can best position themselves to get into college. The truth is that there is no one club that sends your application straight to the accepted pile.
Subject: College choice
Message: Hi! I’ve read your website and it seems like you’ve helped a ton of people get direction on their university choice. I was wondering if you could help me out too? I really have no idea where I want to go and I’m in my senior year of high school. I want to get into one of the Ivy’s but I don’t know particularly why or which one.
It’s about that time of year when we start fielding questions about timelines, essay topics, and the Common App. It’s also the time of year when students find every excuse in the book not to keep things moving regarding the college process. The dreaded task of studying for finals might even seem more appealing than creating your Common App account, or perhaps you’ve deemed rewatching every season of Game of Thrones more important than opening up the Common App homepage.
Recently we got this email:
Subject: Getting into ivy league with C's??
Message: Hi, I am currently a junior in high school and I was never really interested in studies and getting into good colleges back when I started 9th grade. But now, I finally found the motivation but I feel like its too late. Is there anything I can do with the time I have to boost myself?
Before you decide that you absolutely positively must attend Stanford, you need to get clear on why. “Because it’s Stanford!” is not a reason. While it’s impossible to characterize the entire school, we’ve spent years helping students apply (and get into) Stanford. Generally speaking, students who get into and thrive at Stanford have the following three qualities:
We recently received an email from a student with a very reasonable question that might seem like a panic-inducer to many:
There is no shortage of ways you could fill the summer between junior and senior year: sitting on the couch and watching all of Riverdale, sitting on the beach and playing on your phone, and sitting by your friend’s pool and sending snaps are all things you could do. But none of those things are going to get you into college. Fear not. We have a few thoughts on what will.
Junior year is a lot. There’s no way to sugar-coat it. However, there are myriad ways to make all of the ancillary college process items more manageable. So, before you dive-in head first, it’s really important to get organized, create a strategy, and stay on track. That way, when things feel chaotic, you have a plan to refer back to. In this post, we talk about ways in which you can forge a clear path for junior year.
We recently wrote a blog post on transferring into an Ivy League school and Cornell was a very clear outlier. When looking at the transfer acceptance rate chart from the post linked above, you might think “I want to go to a better school, Cornell is an Ivy, I’m going to apply there!” But in the grand scheme of things, an acceptance rate below 20% is not high. It’s only high when compared to the rest of the Ivy League schools. And it turns out there’s a reason for that figure, explained below:
Reading is probably the most important thing that you can do for your college applications.
Getting a deferral is not ideal. But it’s also not game over. We’re sorry in advance for the corny sports analogy, but sometimes, you just need to take a Rudy approach to life and give it the old college try. If your coach benches you, the last thing you want to do is accept defeat. The moment you are sidelined is the moment to give it everything you’ve got. Train harder than you’ve ever trained, keep up the drills, and get back on that high-protein diet. In this post, we talk about what you can do to stay in the game and how to make sure your timing is on point.
Picking the right college can feel like the most important decision of your life. And for most of you, it basically is. In this post, we go over some angles you should start thinking about before jumping into the selection process.
We have been conditioned to believe that there is a very specific checklist of requirements to get into a great college. First comes the mandatory minimums of excellent grades and scores, followed by knockout essays. On the second tier lie the extra-curriculars, the recommendations and of course, the impressive hours of community service you’re supposed to somehow cram in instead of sleeping. But one thing on the list is not like the others; colleges require you to submit test scores, grades, essays, recommendations and a resume, but what a lot of kids don’t realize is that contrary to popular belief, community service can really be extra.
The odds of you getting into a school where you don’t fall into the range for GPA or scores is slim. But if you’re on the cusp, having great essays can tip the odds in your favor. They are an absolutely crucial part of the application and something we are very rigorous with in helping our own students. In this post, we discuss strategies for writing killer supplements.
We want to start this post by drawing an important distinction that is often overlooked: going to a community college or state school for two years and then transferring to a top tier school doesn’t work. That system can work if you’re transferring from a satellite campus to a main campus, but won’t get you from Temple to Penn. Here’s why:
When it comes to Ivy League applications, the hardest part is figuring out exactly what to write about. We’re written about Ivy League common app essay topics, but this blog post is exclusively about supplements. Here you can read our advice on how to write the supplements for all of the Ivy’s: Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Princeton, University of Pennsylvania, and Yale. But this post will provide general tips that apply to every Ivy.
Colleges are getting more sensitive to mental health because they need to be. Amidst the stress and social pressure, suicide rates and incidences of mental health issues are not low. Incoming freshmen at any institution should, first and foremost, be aware of that. Even if you haven’t dealt with mental health issues in the past, college, leaving home, a new social circumstance, and all of the other exciting changes associated with university can also spur new feelings. We recommend students come up with a plan. Wherever you go to school, plan to learn about the mental health services available to you, and if needed, take advantage of them.
Some background information on SAT II’s: it’s true that many colleges are weeding these out of the application process, but not ALL colleges are weeding them out. TKG students take at least two SAT2s. Generally speaking, throughout the course of your high school career you should take 1-2 in the STEM field and 1-2 in the humanities. We always say that it’s better to have them and not need them, than need them and not have them.
When it comes to Harvard admissions, everyone is looking for shortcuts. But the unfortunate truth is there just aren’t any. The only way in is by working extremely hard and building an impressive portfolio. Dedication and perseverance are what get you to home plate. If anyone tells you otherwise, they’re likely pedaling snake oil.
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.