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Ivy League Admission Tips: Strategies for a Strong Transcript

A competitive transcript is one of the most important elements of an outstanding college admissions profile. If your grades are excellent and reflect your academic interests and goals, the admissions officers at top colleges will likely be impressed. As with every other aspect of your admissions profile, the key is to make sure your transcript matches your unique admissions theme and narrative.

Still, it can be challenging to make your transcript stand out. The following Ivy League admission strategies will help you develop a strong transcript by being aware of your school’s grading policies, choosing challenging courses carefully, and mitigating the impact of any poor grades.

Be Aware of Your School’s Grading Policies

High schools around the country calculate and report grades in a variety of ways. At some high schools, the GPA is based on a four-point scale that correlates to the letter grade assigned in class. This is probably the most well-known grading system.

But many high schools use variations of this system, and some use a different system altogether. As you enter high school, you should be aware of your school’s grading policy and adapt your expectations accordingly. For example, if your high school uses a tough grading scale, a strong grade might be in the high 80s or low 90s. Admissions officers are aware that some schools use tougher grading scales and that students from such schools will have to work harder to get good grades. The opposite is also true: if your school’s grading scale is particularly easy, you should have stronger grades.

You should also consider your school’s grading policies when deciding how much effort to invest in your classes. For example, some schools report letter grades with pluses and minuses, but others don’t. If your high school reports only the letter grade without pluses and minuses, an A- is as good as an A. In such cases, if the effort to get an A in one class would result in a B+ in another, it would be better to get an A- in both.

You should perform well within your high school’s grading context, whatever it may be. Admissions officers are aware of how schools differ in their grading policies, and they adjust their expectations accordingly.

Challenging Courses vs. Good Grades

One of the dilemmas you will face as you try to develop a challenging course load is not knowing whether the coursework will be too difficult to handle. For example, you may be able to get an A in AP Calculus BC, but if you take many other challenging courses, you may not be able to get an A in every class.

The keys to solving this dilemma are self-awareness, timing, and careful strategy. It’s never too early to start planning for the academic rigors of high school.

You need to focus on your strengths and play to those strengths whenever possible. Don’t select advanced classes simply because they are available. Rather, select advanced classes that fit your narrative and will allow you to excel.

Timing and strategy are vital if you must take a course that is likely to prove challenging. If, for instance, you know you are not great at math, Calculus may be a struggle. If possible, try to take an honors Pre-Calculus class before taking AP Calculus AB. In any case, make sure not to take more challenging courses than you can handle.

What If You Get Some Poor Grades?

If you get one or more low grades, you should address the situation proactively. One of the most important steps is to ensure that your counselor understands the extenuating circumstances that led to the poor grades. If your counselor understands your situation, they may include an explanation in your letter of recommendation.

In addition to talking about the situation with your guidance counselor, you should also inform the admissions office of each school to which you apply. Make sure not to assign blame or make excuses. Instead, you should simply explain what happened, how it affected your grades, and what you learned from the whole situation. Doing so will demonstrate perseverance and a positive outlook despite circumstances—qualities that are valued by top colleges.

As you begin high school and start to plan your academic goals, you should keep these Ivy League admission tips in mind. Planning your course load strategically will allow you to craft an outstanding applicant profile.

Ivy League Admission Tips: Test Prep Strategies

Preparing for the SAT or the ACT can be intimidating—your performance on the standardized test you choose will be an important part of your college admissions profile. You’ll have to prepare well, get acquainted with each exam’s general layout and content, and develop test-taking skills that will help you perform your best.

We’ve noticed that many high school students fail to apply general test prep strategies when studying for the entrance exams. The following Ivy League admission tips will help you take the SAT or the ACT with confidence and get a high score.

Start Test Prep Early

Early planning and preparation can significantly reduce the stress associated with the entrance exams and increase your chances of success. Start preparing for the ACT or the SAT as a sophomore, and take the PreACT or the PSAT. In fact, the summer before junior year is a prime opportunity to prepare for your entrance exam; you will be able to study without worrying about homework or extracurricular activities.

If you begin test prep early, you will also have more chances to take your exams. For example, you could theoretically take the ACT a total of 12 times (not that you should, of course). Keep in mind that tests are offered a limited number of times throughout the year.

Get to Know the Exam

If you get to know the ACT or the SAT before taking it, you will be able to study more effectively. Instead of having to become familiar with the exam’s instructions on test day, you will already know what to do in each section.

Develop Test-Taking Skills

Effective test taking requires a strategic approach. Before taking the standardized tests, be sure to master the following test-taking skills:

  • Manage your time carefully
  • Use the process of elimination to make informed guesses
  • Answer the easiest questions first
  • Follow your instinct (first responses are often correct)
  • Pay attention to key words and qualifiers (e.g., “usually,” “none,” “all but the following,” “the best,” etc.)
  • In multiple-choice questions, anticipate the answer before looking at the choices

Take Practice Tests

Taking practice tests helps you become familiar with the test format and instructions, develop test-taking skills, and determine which subjects and question types require the most attention.

You should practice with actual ACT or SAT test materials. ACT and the College Board offer official practice tests on their websites for free. Test prep books that include practice tests are also available, but you should be careful to ensure that the test materials are up to date and include actual ACT or SAT content.

Spend Your Free Time Reading

In addition to taking advanced courses, one of the best ways for you to prepare for the entrance exams, college, and a career is to read voraciously. You should read a wide range of authors, styles, genres, and eras: Greek mythology, news articles, the classics, biographies, current bestselling novels, historical accounts, and more.

Get Help

One of the best ways to ensure you are adequately prepared for the ACT or SAT is to participate in an independent test prep program, enroll in a group class, or engage a professional service like Ivy League Prep. Our Ivy League admission tips have helped many students gain admission to selective schools, including Harvard, Yale, Stanford, and others. We offer our clients individualized guidance programs starting from 8th grade and continuing until senior year.

Ivy League Admission Tips: Faculty and Trustee Recommendations

The college admissions landscape in the United States has never been more competitive; the most selective colleges and universities have very high expectations for their applicants. Therefore, crafting a strong college admissions profile can be challenging, especially without proper guidance. Ivy League Prep’s mission is to fulfill this need and provide students with personalized, specific guidance as they prepare to apply for college.

The three main components of a successful college admissions profile are a compelling theme, a unique narrative, and a competitive transcript. To supplement these elements, many students work hard to obtain recommendations that highlight their values and abilities. However, securing strong recommendations requires careful planning, and each recommendation should focus on a specific aspect of your potential as an applicant. For example, teacher recommendations should generally focus on your academic success, while school counselor recommendations should provide insight into your personality.

In this article, we focus on faculty and trustee recommendations—that is, recommendations from teachers, researchers, or board members of the school you are applying to. These types of recommendations may add value to your applicant profile and are relatively uncommon. Still, there are certain risks associated with using faculty and trustee recommendations. The following Ivy League admission tips will help you make the most of your recommendation letters.

The Dangers of Using Faculty and Trustee Recommendations

Few students are admitted to top colleges simply by virtue of a recommendation from a faculty or board member. And if your admissions profile isn’t strong, you are unlikely to be given a faculty or trustee recommendation—the reputation and credibility of that individual are on the line.

What is more, pursuing a faculty or trustee recommendation may adversely affect your admissions profile in several ways. First, admissions officers often bristle at the idea of a trustee or faculty member trying to influence the admissions process. It may be counterproductive to ask for a recommendation from a faculty member or trustee who is a family friend or a business partner. Second, trustee and faculty recommendation letters are often short and contain little substance—this may give the impression that you lack confidence in your academic performance, extracurricular achievements, and application theme.

Incorporating Recommendations Effectively

While recommendations based solely on relationship are unlikely to carry much weight and may hurt your chances of admission, that doesn’t mean that faculty or trustee recommendations are always inadvisable. A recommendation given by the right person for the right reasons will augment your admissions profile and make it stand out.

If, for example, you attended a summer course at college and impressed a professor because of your exceptional work, a recommendation from that professor would add value to your application. Or suppose that a member of the college’s board of trustees is a partner at the firm you interned at during the summer. If that trustee worked with you and can write a letter describing your qualities, skills, work ethic, and potential, the admissions officers are likely to be impressed

As with all other recommendations, the key is to not rely on this aspect of your admissions profile. You are unlikely to benefit from recommendation letters unless you are already a strong candidate.

Admittedly, it can be difficult to navigate the college admissions process. Fortunately, Ivy League Prep is here to help. Contact us to find out how we’ve helped many students gain admission to the most prestigious schools in the United States.

Ivy League Admission Tips: How to Approach Financial Aid,
Part 2

As we explored in our previous post, financial aid may be one of the most important factors to consider when making your list of potential colleges. The financial aid opportunities in U.S. colleges and universities vary greatly, so you need to take the time to learn about each school’s offerings. These Ivy League admission tips will help you get the best possible scholarships and financial aid packages.

Negotiate for Better Financial Aid

If you receive multiple acceptance letters, you may be able to negotiate to increase your financial aid. For example, suppose that you were accepted by two colleges, and one of them is offering you a larger financial aid package. However, you would prefer to go to the college that offers less financial aid. In this case, you could contact the admissions office of your preferred college and explain that you will be unable to afford tuition without additional financial aid. Requests for additional aid will carry more weight if you received a larger offer from another school comparable in selectivity and national rank.

Generally, colleges want to see that a request for additional aid is about making enrollment at that college feasible, not just cheaper. Moreover, negotiating for a better financial aid package may or may not result in more aid, but doing so will not put your acceptance at risk.

Seek Outside Scholarships

If your financial aid offers don’t completely cover your cost of attendance, you may be able to rely on scholarships from other organizations. There are numerous national, merit-based scholarship funds in the United States—far too many to cover in this post. Instead of examining specific scholarships, let’s consider some general strategies for finding suitable scholarships.

Don’t Limit Yourself

Since there is no limit on how much scholarship money you can receive, you can pursue as many scholarships as you’d like.

Start Early

You should begin searching for scholarships as early as freshman year. Since these scholarships are based on merit and accomplishment, they could also help strengthen your admissions profile.

Search Locally

Ask your guidance counselor about any local businesses or organizations that offer scholarships to local students.

Search Regularly

You will be busy throughout high school, and searching for scholarships can take time. Instead of spending a lot of time at once looking for suitable scholarships, you should regularly set aside small portions of time for that purpose.

Be Practical

Many of the same elements found in a compelling admissions profile can be incorporated into scholarship applications. To avoid making a lot of extra work for yourself, you should apply to scholarships that don’t require a great deal of additional time or effort.

Apply to a Variety of Scholarships

While you may be drawn to prestigious national scholarships, you should not ignore smaller local, regional, or niche opportunities. The smaller the number of applicants, the greater your chances of winning scholarship funds. Keep in mind that several small scholarships can eventually amount to a significant amount of financial aid.

Financial aid can be one of the most important factors in the college admissions process—it’s never too early to start looking for scholarships or researching your potential schools’ financial aid packages. These Ivy League admission strategies will help you find the best financial aid available. Contact Ivy League Prep to receive specialized guidance on how to gain admission to the most prestigious colleges and universities.

Ivy League Admission Tips: How to Approach Financial Aid,
Part 1

The costs of an education at a top college can be sizeable. For many families, paying a quarter of a million dollars for their child’s education is an insurmountable obstacle. However, it is important to note that some of the most selective schools are also very generous toward their students.

Even though each school is different, generous financial aid in the form of scholarships and grants is fairly common for low-income applicants. Before starting the college admissions process, you need to have a frank conversation with your family about finances. If you determine that you need financial aid, then you’ll have to research the specific financial aid opportunities available at each school to which you plan on applying. If you follow these Ivy League admission strategies, you may be able to mitigate some or all of your college expenses.

Select the Right Colleges

If cost is an important factor to you, you’ll have to craft your list of potential colleges very carefully. When selecting potential colleges, you should be sure to consider the following questions:

  • Is the college need-blind (that is, it does not consider financial need when making admissions decisions)?
  • Does the college offer merit scholarships? If so, are these scholarships awarded based on the college application, or must additional materials be submitted?
  • Does the college offer need-based grants or student loans?

From a financial aid perspective, you should consider selecting at least one safety school that is also fully within your price range. In case you aren’t offered enough financial aid by other schools, this school will serve as a backup option.

Apply for Application Fee Waivers

Depending on your level of financial need, you may be eligible for application fee waivers. These waivers can be obtained through the Common Application, the College Board, the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC), or even the colleges to which you plan on applying. In general, if you qualify for free or reduced-price school meals, you will also qualify for an application fee waiver.

Seek Merit-Based Scholarships

Many colleges offer merit-based scholarships for applicants with exceptional academic, leadership, or extracurricular achievements. As part of your application strategy, you should consider applying to at least some schools that offer merit-based financial aid. Merit scholarships vary in size. Some scholarships pay for a portion of tuition, and others cover all tuition costs, room and board, and other fees.

Many merit scholarships are awarded based on a student’s application and do not require applicants to submit additional forms, essays, or other material. If you are applying to such a college, it will be even more important to develop a compelling admissions profile. The stronger your application, the higher your chances of receiving merit-based scholarship funds.

At some colleges, merit-based financial aid requires an additional application and, possibly, an essay. If you are accepted to such a school and need additional financial aid, you should certainly take the time to apply for a merit scholarship. When applying to receive a merit-based scholarship, you should keep in mind all the principles of developing a compelling admissions profile.

Some colleges offer scholarships to athletic recruits. If you are a highly skilled athlete, you will definitely want to consider these opportunities.

Take Advantage of Need-Based Grants

A need-based grant is based solely on the applicant’s level of need and does not require repayment. Many top colleges offer generous need-based grants that may cover most if not all the costs related to your education. Unlike merit-based scholarships, need-based grants are solely based on family income.

As we’ve seen, U.S. colleges and universities offer a wide variety of financial aid. The key is to research each potential school carefully, note its financial aid offerings, and craft a compelling admissions theme and narrative—if you are a truly exceptional applicant, the admissions officers are very likely to accept your applications. Visit our Ivy League admission blog to learn more about how to craft a unique applicant profile.

Ivy League Admission Tips: Strategies for Student Athletes

Athletic ability can make a powerful difference in the college admissions process. If a college or university recruits you as an athlete, you will automatically gain admission to the school. Even if you are an exceptional athlete, however, you must still develop a compelling transcript and a unique application theme and narrative.

In this article, we explain how top colleges recruit athletes. Then, we provide some Ivy League admission strategies on how to increase your chances of being recruited.

The Athletic Recruiting Process

There are two basic stages in the athletic recruiting process.

First, college coaches travel extensively, review local news columns, and conduct other research to find potential recruits. They look for distinguished players (such as all-Americans, state and national champions, and the like) and evaluate whether these athletes meet the academic standards of the school they represent.

Second, after finding potential recruits, coaches carefully compile a list of athletes who are highly skilled and meet the school’s other eligibility requirements. Regardless of their athletic ability, students with low academic achievement will not gain admission to top colleges.

Factors That Influence the Athletic Recruiting Process

When evaluating an athlete’s college application, admissions officers are typically concerned with determining whether the student will succeed academically. Therefore, your college admissions profile must show that you are a serious student who can handle a top college’s academic workload.


Admissions officers who review an athlete’s admissions profile do not only check the student’s grades—they also place importance on their course load. Athletes who maintain strong grades while taking demanding courses show that they are prepared to face a top school’s challenging academics. If you take on a demanding course load that demonstrates academic strength, determination, and commitment, you will have a much better chance of being recruited.

Still, if athletics is your way of standing out—if you have invested countless hours into practicing a sport and are truly exceptional—the admissions officers will understand if you aren’t quite as strong in other areas. Most top-tier athletes have to dedicate themselves to their sport, so many of them don’t have much free time for studying and preparing for college entrance exams.

Regardless of your situation, always keep in mind that top schools have high academic standards—even the most amazing athlete will have trouble gaining admission if they have a weak academic record. If, however, you pursue a rigorous course load and get strong grades while excelling at your sport, you will be a much stronger applicant.

Student Background

In general, the athletes at top colleges with the weakest academic records play football and hockey. Due to bias against applicants from privileged backgrounds, most athletes with low academic performance are middle class. In fact, athletes who attend private or college preparatory schools, maintain average grades, and do nothing else to stand out are much less likely to be admitted—regardless of their ability—than students from low-income schools.

Of course, this general trend does not necessarily mean that athletes from affluent families cannot be recruited or that the process will be harder for them—each student’s case is unique.

Athletic Scholarships

While many top colleges award athletic scholarships, none of the eight Ivy League schools do so. Ivy League financial aid is based entirely on a student’s need, but other top colleges often award athletic scholarships to the best athletes.

Because of this policy, many outstanding athletes who would otherwise apply to an Ivy League school instead choose to attend another, less selective university that offers athletic scholarships. You will have to carefully analyze your financial situation to decide on the best school for you.

When crafting your athletics-based college admissions profile, keep the above factors in mind. Most importantly, remember that your athletic ability needs to be coupled with a solid academic performance. If you follow these Ivy League admission strategies, you will be sure to impress college coaches and admissions officers alike.

Ivy League Admission Tips: An Overview of Legacy Admissions

The Ivy League admission process is certainly complex—students can take a myriad of different approaches toward crafting an outstanding applicant profile. Each student’s academic interests, talents, and extracurricular activities will vary, but all college applicants should work hard to develop a compelling theme and narrative.

Your unique circumstances and goals will constitute an important part of your admissions narrative and will help you decide on your theme. For example, being a legacy applicant can help your admissions profile stand out. In this article, we provide an overview of legacy admissions and explain how you can use this status to your advantage.

What is a Legacy Applicant?

A legacy applicant is the child of an alumnus. At top colleges, the definition tends to be fairly narrow: the parent must have graduated from the undergraduate college. However, some undergraduate colleges consider an applicant as having legacy status if their parent attended their graduate school. However, being the sibling, grandchild, or great-grandchild of a graduate will not make you a legacy applicant.

Why Being a Legacy Applicant Matters

Of course, you have no control over whether you are a legacy applicant, but if one of your parents attended a top college, your chances of being admitted there are significantly higher—about twice as much as other applicants.

While a 20 to 40% chance of being admitted is far better than a 10 to 20% chance, not all legacy applicants are admitted. In fact, roughly two-thirds of legacy applicants are rejected, so legacy status does not guarantee admission to the best schools. Still, it can make a significant difference in the admissions process.

Why Legacy Students Matter to Colleges

Admitting legacy students at a higher rate than others may seem unfair, but top colleges have several incentives to do so.

First, top-tier schools see legacy admissions as a recognition of the special relationship between a school and its alumni—a connection between past and future students. This preference for legacy applicants is not really concerned with fairness, and none of the top colleges try to hide their preferential treatment of legacy applicants. Still, many alumni are disappointed each year because their children’s applications are rejected.

Second, prioritizing legacy admissions is financially beneficial for top schools. Alumni are often generous donors to their alma maters. Moreover, while regular donations won’t affect your chances of admission (unless those donations are in the hundreds of thousands of dollars), alumni donations can help a school’s finances. Legacy applicants provide a short-term economic benefit, but they also result in a more long-term advantage: a loyal alumnus and potential donor.

Ivy League Admission Strategies for Legacy Applicants

If you are a legacy applicant, you should certainly leverage that status in your application to increase your chances of admission. However, keep in mind that being a legacy applicant will in no way make up for a weak admissions profile.

Legacy applicants with mid-range academic ratings have better chances of being admitted than other applicants of comparable academic rank, but the pool of applicants to any given highly selective college is still very competitive. Therefore, you shouldn’t rely on legacy status. Instead, craft a compelling profile that stands on its own merits—being a legacy applicant should serve only to complement an already excellent profile.

The truth is that no preexisting advantage—not even legacy status—will gain you admission to a top college. Rather, your exemplary academic record, clear application theme and narrative, and fitting extracurricular activities will impress the admissions officers and get you admitted into your top-choice schools.

Ivy League Admission Tips: How to Refine Your List of Potential Colleges

As the deadlines for college applications approach, it may be tempting to apply to every school possible. On the other hand, you may only have one or two schools you’d like to attend. However, these two extremes—making an overly long list of potential colleges or crafting a very short one—can be dangerous. If you don’t apply to enough colleges, your chances of receiving at least one admission letter will be much lower. On the other hand, if you apply to too many, you won’t have time to make each application compelling and unique.

In this article, we discuss how to craft a balanced, realistic list of about 10 to 12 potential colleges. Be sure to keep these Ivy League admission strategies in mind as you decide which schools you’ll apply to.

Review Your Preliminary List

Perhaps the most important factor to keep in mind is academics. If you have decided to pursue a certain major, but one of the colleges on your list doesn’t offer it, you should remove that school from your list. It’s also important to consider your motives for including each school on your list. If you added an uninteresting college only because someone else—perhaps a well-meaning teacher or friend—wanted you to do so, you should remove that school.

As you refine your list, aim to narrow it down to about 10 or 12 schools, but never go below six—doing so would be risky.

As you consider each option, ask yourself these two questions: Am I genuinely interested in this college? If so, why? If you cannot answer these questions easily, then the school isn’t worth including on your list.

Factor in Selectivity

Your list should include a reasonable balance of safety, target, and reach schools. Safety schools are those that will almost certainly admit you, target schools are more moderate options, and reach schools are the most competitive colleges, which may or may not accept your application. In general, try to keep at least three of each type on your list.

Remember, adding reach schools is not risky as long as you have enough safe options on your list. We suggest applying to at least one reach school.

Factor in Cost

At this stage of the process, you and your parents need to assess which colleges are within an acceptable financial range. Do research on the financial aid options offered by each school. The key is to have several backup options in case the financial aid packages from more expensive schools aren’t ample enough to make tuition reasonable.

Narrow Down the List to 10 to 12 Schools

After refining your list based on careful research, selectivity, and cost, you should ideally be left with 10 to 12 schools. The most important thing is not the number of schools on your list; rather, you should have a balanced, realistic, and reasonable list that will result in at least one acceptance letter in the spring. If you include too many schools on the list, you won’t be able to give each application the attention it deserves.

If you want your college applications to stand out, your list of potential schools must be strong. The more time you spend fine-tuning your list and doing research on each school, the better your applications will be. This step may be challenging and time-consuming, but it is undoubtedly one of the most important parts of the Ivy League admission process—after all, your choice of a college can be critical in determining your career path.

Ivy League Admission Tips: How to Use Talent to Enhance Your Admissions Profile

In the current college admissions landscape, it takes much more than good grades to build an outstanding applicant profile. If you want to impress the admissions officers, you’ll have to craft a unique admissions theme and narrative. The key is to use your personal experiences, extracurricular activities, and academics to prove that you will be a valuable asset to your target colleges.

If you have a talent or ability such as painting, photography, music, or another performing art, you can build your admissions profile around that skill. These Ivy League admission tips will help you use your talent to enhance your college applications.

How to Incorporate Talent into Your Admissions Profile

Your admissions profile should show how you will add value to your target schools. Unless your talent or ability is clearly linked to your admissions theme, it may not be worthwhile to discuss it at length. On the other hand, if you are particularly gifted and can demonstrate your high level of ability with third-party recognition and accomplishments, you should consider highlighting your talent even if it is not the primary focus of your admissions profile.

Building Your Theme and Narrative Around a Talent or Ability

If you are exceptionally gifted or have a natural ability that you developed through practice and training, that ability could become the focus of your theme and narrative. For example, if you love acting, want to pursue it professionally, and have the talent to do so, you could build your admissions profile around that talent. The key is to use third-party recognition to prove that you are highly skilled.

Including Exceptional Talent in Your Theme and Narrative

What if your talent or unique ability is not your primary focus? In that case, you may still be able to find a way to work that skill into your admissions narrative.

For example, if you are particularly gifted in music, you might integrate that skill into your profile. Whatever your career goal is—mechanical engineering, medical research, biology, computer science, psychology—you could draw upon your skill and love for music to lead a unique community project, develop a mobile application, or study the effects of music on the mind.

Don’t Focus on Talent or Ability at the Expense of Academics

Your talent or ability may help you stand out, but by itself, it will not gain you admission into a top college. Solid academic performance is an absolute must, so you should not develop any skills to the point that your academic performance suffers.

Should You Provide Supplemental Materials?

In general, you should not provide example material such as artwork or a recording of your music unless you are exceptionally talented and plan on using your ability to contribute to the school. In other words, don’t provide supplemental materials if your skill is just a hobby.

Since the admissions officers are rarely qualified to assess artistic ability, any additional materials you submit will be forwarded to the appropriate department. The department will then evaluate your skills.

Depending on whether the college allows it, you might consider sending materials directly to the relevant department. If you do, make sure to indicate that you are an admissions applicant seeking a recommendation letter  (Xanax). Moreover, you should be serious about developing your talent during college.

As we’ve discussed, possessing a talent or ability can certainly enhance your admissions profile. However, you should always make sure to link your skill to your theme and narrative. At the same time, keep in mind that your academic performance should be paramount. Schedule a meeting with Ivy League Prep to learn more about our Ivy League admission strategies.

Ivy League Admission Tips: Avoiding Common Mistakes, Part 2

As explained in our previous blog post, many college applicants make mistakes that lower their chances of gaining admission; unfortunately, there is a plethora of bad advice on how to craft a strong admissions profile. Every year, admission officers from the best colleges and universities deny thousands of applications from students who make common mistakes, all of which could be easily avoided. Ivy League Prep’s mission is to help students develop a compelling admissions theme and narrative, and our approach is a proven, data-driven model. As you go about the Ivy League admission process, take care to avoid the following pitfalls.

Being Passive

Your parents can certainly be a source of support and excellent advice during the admissions process, but you should neither expect nor allow them to take over—after all, you are the applicant. For example, don’t have your parents make calls that you should be making. If they do, the admissions officers might notice. Moreover, your parents shouldn’t sit in on your admissions interviews—you need to demonstrate independence, responsibility, and maturity. Show the admissions officers that you are actively engaged in the admissions process.

Making Decisions Based on What Others Want

Others will likely pressure you to apply to certain colleges. Friends might try to convince you to pursue the same colleges they are applying to; relatives might pressure you to apply to their alma maters; and teachers or guidance counselors might weigh in with their personal opinions. However, you need to choose a school that will suit your personality, academic goals, and financial needs.

Focusing on a Single School

You may be determined to attend a particular school, but focusing too much on just one of your applications can have disastrous results. You cannot let your first-choice school interfere with researching other potential schools, creating a strong list of colleges, and submitting applications to these other schools. It is always a good idea to include several “safe” options on your list of potential schools.

Failing to Get to Know a School Before Enrolling

Once you receive your acceptance letters, take the time to get to know each school before making your final decision. If you haven’t visited your potential colleges, make sure to do so before enrolling. Accepted student events are great opportunities for you to take one last look at your options and make an informed decision.

Applying Early Decision When Uncertain

Do not apply early decision unless you are completely sure that you want to attend the school in question. Just think: if you are accepted early decision and forced to attend a school you don’t like, it may ruin your college experience and hinder your chances of starting a successful career after graduation.

Letting Your Grades Slip

Once you are accepted, you may be tempted to let your grades slip or transfer out of your advanced courses. However, top colleges will continue to evaluate your academic performance until you graduate from high school. If you aren’t careful (Nizagara), colleges may even rescind your acceptance, so you must keep up your academic performance until the end of senior year.

Inappropriate Behavior

The most dangerous mistake on this list is to speak or behave in an inappropriate manner. Top colleges have little tolerance for bigotry, hate speech, excessive lewdness, and illegal activities. Take care not to list an inappropriate email address on your application, wear clothing with explicit content to admissions interviews, or include obscene, bigoted, or otherwise inappropriate language in your essays.

Additionally, keep in mind that the admissions officers will likely visit your social media accounts—make sure that your profiles and posts won’t hurt your chances of being admitted. Even after you are accepted, your college could notice any inappropriate behavior on social media.

The ultra-competitive college admissions landscape may seem intimidating, but following the right advice will enable you to create an outstanding applicant profile. Our Ivy League admission strategies are designed to help you avoid common mistakes and really impress the admission officers. Schedule a call with Ivy League Prep to learn more about our complete guidance programs.