As we’ve stated before, we do our best to answer the emails we receive from our readers. Recently, we wrote a blog post titled “Which Ivy League Should I Go To?” and in that post we kindly requested that our readers stop asking both that question, and variants of it. If you’re a regular reader of our blog, you should know that we do not subscribe to the theory that everyone needs to go to an Ivy League school.
Our clients and the regular readers of this blog should know by now that we do not subscribe to the insane theory that everyone should go to an Ivy League school. The truth is that most students aren’t better off at an Ivy, and one of our goals is to demystify the application process so that kids can apply to schools that they actually have a chance of getting into. That said, there are still a lot of high school students (and parents) out there that think the Ivy League is the only way to go.
When people ask us if it’s really worth it to go to an Ivy League school, it’s admittedly hard to answer. It’s a personal question, and a loaded one at that. Our answer is that it depends.
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.
The Ivy League has always been hard to get into. But over time, it’s become astronomically more competitive. In fact, according to our estimates, the Ivy League has a combined average acceptance rate that hovers around 5 percent.
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:
The headlines can be recycled (again)! This year, like many consecutive years before it, marked a new record low for acceptance rates across the countries. With acceptances sinking down below 5 percent for some Ivies and nearing the single digits for some non-Ivies, there is no sign of competition slowing down in the near future. In this post, we chart out how rates have changed over the last few years.
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:
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.
In this blog post, we take a deep-dive into the Why Cornell essay. The good news is, there is a formula to crack. There are several key points students should hit in reaching their overall objective of persuading the admissions committee that they are qualified to pursue their intended area of study.
We post some of our favorite essays on our website in hopes that you’ll read them. They’re fun, interesting, and great examples of thinking outside the box. We also realize that they aren’t necessarily helpful to someone looking for actual tips on how to write their own essay.
Have you ever heard the phrase “just because you can doesn’t mean you should?” Your preschool teacher probably said it to you after you coated your hair in fingerpaint, or after you decided it was easier to pee in the playground than to waste precious time going inside. If neither of those things happened, you probably heard it from a parent or grandmother, or concerned aunt. It’s a classic, and it’s a classic for a reason.
Here is a typical email (paraphrased) that we get this time of year…
My kid is applying to college, and we’re looking to hire someone to help us. He isn’t sure where he wants to go, so can you just do all of the Ivy League apps with him? We can do the rest on our own.
The only answer we give (albeit in a wordier and more *slightly* friendly format) is “N.O. Absolutely no.”
Q: Can I get into Columbia?
A: Statistically, no. Without looking at you, without seeing your grades or knowing your name or knowing anything else about you, you can not get it.
Prospective parents always ask us what we can do to help ensure their kids get into the Ivy League. As hardworking and bright as we’re sure they all are, those with B+ (or less) averages don’t always like our answer: If you’re knocking on the Ivy door, they’re not going to answer for you.
2018 acceptances for the Class of 2022 are out and what we predicted has come to pass: it is harder to get into college than ever. HOT TAKE. Acceptance rates are plummeting, and the rates at top schools have yet again hit record lows. At the same time, the number of applicants who were waitlisted is off of the charts. Colleges are becoming more conservative in their admissions decisions. Unfortunately, students are bearing the brunt of it.