Are you applying to Ivy League schools and wondering what you can do to stand out? In this blog we’ll give you some tips for Ivy League admissions to help you find what bar you have to jump over to get in!
What is the Ivy League?
The Ivy League is actually an athletic conference. It’s not actually a badge of a school’s ranking or academic level. In fact, there are many schools such as Stanford, Duke, Northwestern, MIT, and Cal Tech that aren’t Ivy League, but still extremely competitive. Some of these schools actually rank higher than some Ivies.
Tip #1: More Lottery Tickets
One of our first tips for Ivy League admissions is to give yourself more lottery tickets! Ivy League schools are extremely competitive. Even if you have perfect grades and test scores, you may still get rejected. Buying more lottery tickets means applying to more Ivy League schools. Even if you might think, “I’m not a good fit for a school like Cornell or Dartmouth,” you should still consider adding them to the list.
Over the last 80 years admissions have dropped to very low numbers, and they show no signs of stopping. Test optional policies due to COVID-19 have made acceptance rates are even lower. Applying to more schools will only increase your odds. Statistically, if you only apply to one Ivy League, your chances of getting in are at most about 8%. However, if you apply to every Ivy League you can, your likelihood of getting in rises to around a 35% chance of getting accepted to at least one of them.
Tip # 2: Have a WOW Factor
We’ve actually made videos on how to find your WOW factor in the past. Essentially, you want to have an activity that makes you stand out as awesome and unique. Some ideas of activities or accomplishments that may run you to the top of the pile include COVID-19 research, participating on the national team for your sport, winning an incredible award, or being recognized on TV for a special talent.
Other accomplishments that aren’t WOW factors, but can still help yo out, are strong strong activities at your high school. This includes roles like student class president, school newspaper editor, and debate team captain. If you’re the best player or captain of your sports team that is also advantageous. These roles can help you get into Ivy League schools, but it’s increasingly harder depending on how many other factors are weighing for or against you.
Tip #3: Have an Edge
If you’re from an underrepresented group or minority, that may give you an edge with Ivy League admissions. Another thing that can give you an edge is if you’re from a midwestern state with a smaller population. This includes states such as Wyoming, Oklahoma, Utah, etc… Some colleges really want state-by-state diversity, so if you’re from a state with less people applying to these Ivy League schools, then it increases your chances.
Another edge is if you are low income or a first-generation college student. When you’re filling out applications, you should have the ability to check a box stating if you’re a first-generation college student. On the flip side, legacy status may also help to give you an edge. This applies especially at schools like Harvard and Penn. You receive legacy status if you have a relative, often a sibling, parent, or grandparent, who attended the school where you are applying. In order to reap the benefits of your legacy status, we recommend applying to that school early, either through Early Restrictive Action or Early Decision.
Another edge is if you or a family member has a relationship with an Admissions Dean. If you’re interested in a niche topic of study that few schools offer, that can also be an edge. Finally, if you could be recruited onto a college sports team, a letter from a coach will definitely help in admissions.
Tip #4: Write a WOW Essay
One of our tips for Ivy League admissions is to write a killer essay. Basically, you want all of your essays to be awesome. Every essay needs to have some zing to it. Definitely check out our post on how to write a WOW essay! The goal is to make sure you sound like a teenager, but your essay is still captivating and the reader is convinced that you’re really smart and you’ll change the world.
Tip #5: Prove Your Intellect
At some point in your application or essays, make sure to prove your academic prowess. On stand out applications you’ll see a level of analysis and thoughtfulness. Make sure to include the perspective of an engaged, critical thinker. Talk about ideas that are universal and compelling.
Finally, make sure to show your vision. You need to show that you know the world is a bigger place than just the things you’ve done. What about the world do you want to change? How will you make a difference? You’re tying to connect with older admissions people who live in the real world. You can do this by proving you have an awareness of the world around you.