Almost all overachievers dream of attending the world’s number one sports conference.  No, not the Big Ten. Rather, the Ivy League. (Yes! It’s really a sports conference!)  The Ivy League is primarily known for its academic prowess – you can’t step outside with seeing at least three valedictorians.  To give some perspective: the average weighted GPA of a high schooler is a 3.0, but at the Ivies, most admitted students have at least a 4.0.  Furthermore, over 90% of admitted students were in the top 10% of their graduating class. But getting straight A’s isn’t enough to get into the world’s most prestigious universities.  Rather, it’s just a prerequisite.


There isn’t a recipe for the quintessential Harvard attendee.  But, applicants to the Ivies need to demonstrate a variety of qualities that put them a cut above the rest.  This takes a variety of forms. That can be a passion for community service, deep intellectual engagement with the world or raw creativity.  Determining how to cultivate and highlight that “X-factor” is an essential part of the college admissions process. The way you will express what sets you apart from other applicants is your college essay.  There are stories of students who were accepted by writing an essay discussing their innovative ideas for an alarm clock or what working with their high school’s janitorial staff taught them. The Ivies want creativity; they don’t want a quotidian perfect student, they want someone who can reflect upon their life and come out the other end with a unique world view.  Regardless of what experience you choose to magnify in your essay, write with verve and an eye towards your individuality.


Beyond have exceptional grades and essays, there are a few more ways to improve your odds of admittance to an Ivy League school.  The first is the closest thing to a “hack” for Ivy admittance that exists. Applying Early Action or Early Decision to an Ivy League school more than doubles your chance of admittance to each school with the exception of Harvard.  This boost is most powerful at Princeton where the regular admittance rate is 7 percent but early applicants are nearly three times as like to be admitted. Early Decision does lock you the school if you’re accepted, so make sure to do plenty of research about the culture and academics at each Ivy before you do so.


The last way to bolster your chance of admittance is by hiring a private college consultant.  These firms have much more experience than any other guidance counselors giving one-on-one help to prospective Ivy League students.  Whether that’s giving your essay an extra oomph, improving your SAT scores or preparing for a college interview, Ivy Admissions wants to be part of your success story.