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Upasana Gupta - September

5 Admission Tips for Ivy League Schools

Learn How You Can Increase Your Chances for Ivy League Education

Ivy League universities are considered some of the best learning institutions in the world. First, a definition-There are 8 Ivy League Schools (Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Penn, Princeton and Yale). It is not the selectivity or prestige that initially brought this group together as the ďIvyĒ League. It was not the Ivy creepers, but football. Thatís right, the Ivy League was an early athletic conference that has, in fact, evolved into a collection of this countryís most selective colleges and universities.

Ivy League schools accept fewer than 20 percent of applicants, and some institutions accept fewer than 15 percent. The competition for Ivy League acceptance is tremendous, so itís important to know what youíre doing. There are certain actions you should take to increase your chances of enrolling in these world class institutions.

(Suggested Reading: Preparing High School Students' For College;Does College Major Matter?)


Here are 5 tips that can help you meet your purpose.


1. Know if an Ivy League is The Right Choice For You: You must be clear as to why you should select Ivy League for your career enrichment. If your only reason is to prove your merit or worth to others, Ivy League may not be the best option. You need to have a very good reason to attend an institution like Harvard, which you don't appear to have. Few other poor reasons why most people apply to Ivy League include: 'It's a great school', 'it sounds really impressive', and 'it's the only good school I've heard of'. These schools are very expensive and selective in their admission process and your reason may lead to more trouble than it's worth.

But if you are genuinely interested to go to an Ivy League for it's quality of education, specific course material or for resources and professors only they offer, then it's definitely something you should consider. An important factor is what you want to get out of your college education. Although Ivy League schools generally deserve their good reputations, some of their programs are stronger than others. For example, if you're interested in engineering, you probably want to look beyond the 8 Ivy League universities because only a few Ivy League schools have top-rated engineering programs.

(Read: Graduate Admission FAQ's; How to Select a College; College Application Tips)


2. Start Your Applications Early: If youíre applying to Ivy League schools, you should complete your applications in the spring and summer before the fall in which youíre applying. Early application deadline is usually Nov. 1, two months before most regular-admission deadlinesó in this case, the applicant must agree to attend that school should they be accepted. Which means you can only apply early decision to one school. If the school says yes, so must you as a student.

Many people donít know that early-decision applicants get an edge when applying to college. What even fewer know is just how big that edge is. Itís enormous! Applying early to Ivy League schools is highly recommended because the statistics below clearly show that a significant percent of the total students accepted comprise of candidates who apply early. For example, in the case of Brown ‹niversity, for a targeted freshman class of 1,485 in 2013, Early Decision applicants made up 37.4 prcent of the incoming class. Also, with 639 applicants in 2013 accepted for a targeted class of 1,391 in Columbia University, the percent of the class that was filled by Early Decision applicants was 45.9.

2013 Ivy League Admissions Statistics

Ivy League Colleges

Overall Accept. Rate

Regular Decision Accept. Rate

Regular Decision Apps Accepted

Regular Decision Apps Received

Early Decision / Action Accept. Rate

Percent of Class Filled by Early Apps

Early Decision / Action Apps Received

Early Decision / Action Apps Accepted

Expected Number of Students to Enroll

Total  Apps Received

Total  Apps Accepted

Brown

10.8%

9.5%

2,152

22,645

23.7%

37.4%

2,343

556

1,485

24,988

2,708

Columbia

9.8%

8.2%

1,857

22,587

22.5%

45.9%

2,841

639

1,391

25,428

2,496

Cornell

17.4%

15.5%

5,318

34,381

36.7%

39.7%

3,405

1,249

3,150

37,786

6,567

Dartmouth

12%

10.8%

1,783

16,559

25.5%

35%

1,571

401

1,090

18,130

2,184

Harvard

7%

7%

2,046

29,112

n/a*

n/a*

n/a*

n/a*

1,655

29,112

2,046

Penn

17.1%

14.4%

2,770

19,273

31.5%

48.2%

3,666

1,156

2,400

22,939

3,926

Princeton

9.8%

9.8%

2,150

21,964

n/a*

n/a*

n/a*

n/a*

1,300

21,964

2,150

Yale

7.5%

5.2%

1,209

23,088

13.4%

  n/a*

5,557

742

1,310

26,000

1,951

(Source:The Ivy Coach)

3. Make Your Essay a Memorable One: Remember, admissions committees discuss a lot of candidates Ė particularly borderline ones. You want memorable stories in your college admission essay that they can refer back to, that they can quote, that they can point to and say, because of what this student did, they deserve to come to Stanford.

Your essays are your best chance at making that happen. Use powerful imagery and personal anecdotes whenever you can. Leave readers with a lasting impression and it will serve you well. Also, market yourself in the essay: you want to brag a little bit in your essays without overdoing it. But when you brag Ė make sure you brag about your most impressive accomplishments. At the end of reading your essay, the reader should have a much better sense for both your dominant personality traits and either your achievements or future goals in life.

(Suggested Read: Application Essay Do's and Don'ts; Common Essay Questions/ Topics; Tips on Writing an Application Essay;5 Tips for Acing the SAT)

4. Excel in Academics: It goes without saying that EVERY applicant must meet certain academic standards. While all Ivy League schools may be a little more flexible about those standards for certain population of applicants, they are not taking students that are terribly far off from their averages and standards. They are not taking an athlete who will be a success on the field, but who has very limited ability to succeed in the classroom. These schools have the luxury of choosing students who can do both. In case of standardized tests like SAT or ACT, aiming for a 2200-2250 combined score will help in your admission process. But you have to understand that the Ivy League schools look at more than just your SAT score for admissions. They read your personal statement and consider your extracurriculars, GPA and community service. They evaluate your class load (Honors, AP, dual-enrollment, etc.) and consult with your references. Sure, your SAT scores for Ivy League schools will matter, but your overall academic achievement will count high in the admission process.


5. Diversity/ Talent is a Seller: Ivy League colleges want uniquely talented or diverse students (in one or more particular areas) to form a well-rounded class. So, beyond academic success, schools will look hard at students who help them fulfill certain institutional priorities. These priorities often include: recruited athletes or students with special talents like oboe player, classical dancer, entrepreneur, etc. Also, a student from a war-torn African country with lower standardized test
scores may be selected over other candidates because of the diverse perspective he/ she brings to class.