2 Answers

Janice Kirn-Sottilaro Points0

I recently responded to another question on this forum asking what to do, in order to be seriously considered for an Ivy League college. Truth is, same rules apply to this question so, I have relisted, my response.

Think and plan ahead!

Getting into an Ivy League college is not just hard rather, it is exceptionally difficult. This does not mean however, that it is impossible.

Ivy League schools look at a student's GPA this we know but, is that all and if not, what else does one need to do??

To begin, I can not overstate the importance of a demanding program while in HS, all of HS not just junior or senior year. In addition, the ability to read, comprehend, infer, analyze, etc., traits which can place a student in strong standing academically, need to begin as early as elementary school. Please understand  I am not suggesting parents need to think about how their child will do when applying to college as a senior in HS while in a primary classroom but what mom and dad can do, is to push reading, reading and more reading . Fostering a love of reading at an early age, is a sure sign of future success across the board as it develops a solid thought process and, higher level writing skills. No need to take out catalogs for Yale or Princeton while your daughter is only in fifth grade. No need to talk about college while your son is in seventh grade but, reading to them or with them every week, is the one essential, common feature of a successful student that can be nurtured throughout elementary school.

Upon entering HS with that strong love and level for and in reading, students need to engage in the most demanding classes available but, one must be sure they will do well. It does not help a student if they enroll in Honors or AP classes but obtain a C for a grade. If in a higher level course, one needs to obtain a high B with the hope of more A's to attain and maintain, a substantial overall GPA.

An Ivy League college wants to see a transcript reflecting strong rigor with good results in diverse areas (advanced classes in not only Social Studies but also in Science, English as well as Math to show one's ability to transfer skills and knowledge from one area to another). They want to see exceptionally high standardized test scores (although more and more are going test optional). They want to see outside of the classroom activities displaying leadership, team effort, commitment, diversity & involvement in summer programs offered through colleges such as Johns Hopkins. They also want to see a student's level of interest. How often have you visited the college? How often have you spoken with the admissions rep. which, reads the applications from your high school? This is called the IQ, Interest Quotient and it does, oh it does, count!

There is also the application essay to keep in mind. Students through the essay, are able to show colleges the level of interest they have in a particular school. The essay reflects past experience, can address one's leadership ability offering strong examples, it can show growth as evidenced through how they have dealt with a particular situation or, offer something funny allowing for a good laugh by the admissions rep. keeping a student's name high on their list. I had a young man write his essay a few years back, on his most important class in response to a question on the supplement from Princeton University. It was a wonderful essay speaking to his Family Development class. He spoke of what his transcript reflected, outstanding GPA, AP and High Honors classes, etc. but, that it was his Family Development class which taught him what it meant to be a parent, what it was like for his mother, what it means when a person says - no matter how old you get, you will always be a child to your parents. It was amazing and funny and yes, he was accepted!

Lastly I would suggest selecting individuals to write your letters of recommendation that can give strong examples of not only your level of ability but, how you work as part of a team, as an individual, how you accept constructive criticism, etc. You want your letters to say more than what a nice young lady you are or that you were a pleasure to have in class. Although these compliments are nice to hear, a rec. letter needs to be reassuring to the admissions rep. that you are ready for the demands of study at the college level.

Getting into an Ivy League college is not impossible but it does require planning early on and, dedication throughout your educational career.

Please see the article below for even more information!


Good Luck!

Janice Kirn-Sottilaro

Jon Semcer Points0
The top colleges are always on the look out for students who will bring something extra to the campus --- a talent, an educational accomplishment that they can continue to build on while in college, an athletic skill, or an accomplishment that sets them apart from others. Much has been written about the academic side of the application process. Truth is schools such as Princeton, Harvard, University of Chicago, Cal Tech, UCLA, Stanford and the others could easily admit all students with perfect or near perfect SAT or ACT scores, but they do not. Each year scores of #1, #2 and #3 ranked students are denied admission to top schools in the country. It is never a question that the students do not have great academic profiles but rather there are other factors that are either missing or the admissions office feels the candidate is not going to make the incoming class " diverse."  Be aware that top schools admit students from all over the world, from every economic background, from different social circles, and they want a class that is going to bring talent, experiences and accomplishments to the campus. While grades, and course selection are important, as well as SAT / ACT scores, it is the " other factors" that carry just as much weight in a final decision. I would suggest that you contact the admission office one of top schools and talk with the admission rep for your area and ask them:

1. How many people will review my application?
2. Outside of academics what else are you looking for in a candidate?
3. How does your office rank or award points for extracurricular activities outside of school? What about in school activities?
4. What was the average SAT/ ACT, grade point average, AP scores for admitted students
5. From how many different countries did your office admit students?
6. What were some of the accomplishments of admitted students?

From answers to these questions, I think you will get a clearer picture of what it takes to be admitted. All the best to you.

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