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Mission Possible: How to Get into the Ivy League

The term ‘Ivy League’ is used to denote a collegiate athletic conference, which comprises the best sports teams from 8 private universities in the USA. Besides, this name is commonly used to identify the eight schools represented by those teams. Ivy League includes Brown University, Dartmouth College, Harvard, Princeton, Columbia, Cornell University, the University of Pennsylvania and Yale.

These higher education institutions are considered to be the world’s academic and intellectual powerhouse, with the most talented and motivated students being admitted. So it is understandable why the term ‘Ivy League’ has connotations of sporting performance, academic excellence, and social elitism. The only question is how to get into these high-end educational institutions?

Why is it so Difficult to Enter Ivy League Schools

According to US News data, in 2016 only 8.5 percent of the applicants were admitted to Ivy League colleges and universities. As a comparison, the average acceptance rate for other American four-year education institutions was about 65 percent at that time. It’s worth noting that people who applied earlier had better chance to be accepted to the chosen college. For instance, in 2016 the average early decision acceptance level at Ivy League colleges was about 23 percent. The only condition for the students was that these programs were binding, i.e., if the school accepted them they couldn’t withdraw from it.

The same US News data show that in 2016 Princeton University admitted 19 percent of its early action candidates, while in Yale University they accepted only 17 percent of the students who submitted early applications. As for non-Ivy League schools of the USA, their early decision acceptance level was about 63 percent in 2016.

Early decision is not the only condition for the acceptance to the above mentioned institutions. In order to become the student of Ivy League, you should earn high grades and take more and more advanced courses. If you want to land a spot in one of these schools, your SAT score should be at least 1590 out of 1600. As for the ACT score, its optimum value is 35 out of 36: with these figures, you will be right in the top 25 percent for most Ivy League schools. Yale University establishes the highest passing scores: if you want to go into a further academic study in this institution your SAT score should be from 1490 to 1600 and your ACT should be from 31 to 35. The easiest from the perspective of college entrance conditions is Cornell University, as the minimum ACT score here is 30, while the AST score can be 1410.

Good Passing Scores Are Not the Whole Story

In fact, Ivy League high school requirements are not limited to certain SAT/ACT scores. According to the Directors of Admissions who work in these institutions, there is no perfect score level guaranteeing that you will be accepted to any of these colleges. These education institutions look for excellent passing scores as well as perfect recommendations, diplomas on vocational education, good overall grade point averages, and other achievements referred to as “additional factors”. Naturally, if your SAT/ACT scores are significantly high, you have an excellent chance to be admitted to the chosen college even with comparatively poor additional factors. And vice versa, when you are at the bottom of the range with the passing scores, your only chance to succeed is in these additional achievements.

Ivy League college admission requirements are closely connected with the person’s sporting achievements. We have already mentioned that these institutions are integrated into a collegiate athletic conference; therefore, they are seeking for passionate and dedicated students who go in for sports and achieve state-of-the-art results in it. It is essential for these colleges to have students who can impact the community and, ultimately, the whole world. If you are an excellent football player or a high-potential athlete, do your best to accumulate and develop your opportunities. If you’re a world-class wrestler and you were repeatedly recruited by Ivy League teams, your chances of getting, for instance, into Harvard or Princeton increase dramatically, though you still should not forget about your application and passing scores.

Step-by-Step Guide How to Get into Ivy League

Thus, you have good passing scores and quite outstanding additional achievements. Now, how to get in Ivy League university? In fact, everything – or almost everything – depends on your application. This is the document showing the Directors of Admissions that you are the very candidate they should never miss out.
Your application will include the following: 

1. Your Essay

According to Jillian, a former Harvard interviewer, it is very important for a candidate to know how to represent him- or herself in the entrance essay. You may be well aware of how to create a new global scale social network app, but not have much of an idea of how to talk about it. Start brainstorming and writing your essays as early as possible, as it is the key to Ivy League colleges.

Some students complain that they don’t have such a blockbuster life to write an outstanding paper. But Jillian emphasizes that everyone can create an excellent essay using the following tips:

Choose the moment of your life when you had unusual feelings or thoughts. No matter what you describe – the greatest event in our life or a common evening when you suddenly realized that you are a dedicated artist. For instance, you can write about the first time when you presented your scientific research or your first football league game. The question at issue is how you’ll describe this moment and what conclusion you’ll make.

Answer the key question – why. Why are you an outstanding person? Why do you deserve entering this college? It’s not enough to enumerate your accomplishments and say how awesome you are. Try to look into your feelings and emotions and, what is even more important, show them to the reader. Make him realize how passionate you are. Don’t try to be perfect – everyone understands that it is impossible. Be yourself, be real!

If you can’t make jokes, don’t try to. Do the things you feel confident in – describe the situation from different perspectives, play with different voices or use different writing tools. But still never hurry to do what is not like you. Remember that the Directors of Admissions will easily notice all your faults. Do not think about what they want to hear – think about what you want to say.

Your key to success is in the details. Try to describe everything as detailed as possible. Transport the readers into the moment you’re writing about, show them what you see, feel, touch, and hear. Manipulate the Directors of Admissions in the best way possible. Let them believe in you by showing them the piece of your life – real, exciting, sometimes difficult and sometimes quite easy, but apparently distinctive.

2. Letters of Recommendations

Surprisingly, many candidates do not take this section seriously. The only thing they do is pick several teachers that they hope will write them good letters. This is a wrong path, by all means. If you want to meet Ivy League high school requirements, do your best to make real connections with your favorite teachers. Ingratiate yourself with your principal and counselors, so that they could write really good words about you. Naturally, this should not be done at your last gasp. Start preparing to college entrance beforehand and take time to get to know your teachers. You may need several years, so think about it in due time.

Tell your teachers about your progress and achievements. Ask them for pieces of advice and show them how highly you appreciate their support. Thus, when the senior year starts you’ll easily see who of your teachers can write really good letters of recommendations.

All in all, it’s very hard to enter Ivy League colleges, but it’s worth trying. According to the statistics, these schools include only top 1 percent of students in the country. Every year, Ivy League admissions become more and more competitive, so far from everybody – even with perfect passing scores and outstanding sports achievements – will manage to enter these colleges. But if you feel like taking a chance, try your best to get the highest AST, SAT, and GPA scores and make close relations with your teachers. Moreover, you need to find success in the chosen field – sports, science, art or whatever you feel confident in. Become an outstanding student – and Ivy League colleges will be happy to get you.

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