The most wonderful time of the year is rapidly approaching.  That is, college applications season is starting soon! The whole process can seem inscrutable when you begin, so here is quick outline so you can maximize your success.


You want to stay on top of everything.  The key to that is starting early and breaking each component of your application into small, manageable chunks with achievable deadlines.  Do this early on. That way you can always have a set of specific goals you’re constantly working towards. I often suggest writing everything down on Google Calendar so it’s easily accessible, even if you don’t have your computer on hand. Google Calendar is also great because it’s shareable.  If you use Ivy Admissions, we’ll be able to follow up with you to make sure you stick to your deadlines To bolster your organization, we recommend using Google Sheets to keep track of which phase you’re in for each application. Furthermore, you’ll want to sort the schools you’re applying to into one of three categories by your chance of being accepted: reaches, matches and safeties.  


Once you’ve done the preliminary work for your college applications, you can begin your personal statements.  We recommend doing a brain dump of everything you’ve done in high school to get a feel for what you want to talk about.  We really do mean everything: clubs, jobs, internships, community service, sports teams, and any and every award or honor you may have received.  Put it all down in a document so you can refer to it later in the process.


Once you’ve chosen a topic for your personal statement, you’ll want outline both the essay and how it fits into the rest of your application.  Always outline before you write! After you’ve finished your first draft, show it to your friends and family to get their feedback on it. Ideally, your essay will go through three to five revisions before it’s completed.


Lastly, you’ll want to start getting your letters of recommendation early on.  It takes time to craft a good letter and figuring out who to ask if half the battle.  They should be someone who is deeply familiar with your personal strengths. We suggest always providing them with a resume and cover letter that highlight why you want to go to a particular school and what qualifies you in order to simplify the process for busy teachers.  Don’t be afraid to occasionally follow up with teachers once they’ve agreed to write your letters. They’re often writing for many students on top of their regular teaching duties and its possible for your request to get lost in the shuffle.


Singlehandedly juggling your personal essays, letters of recommendation, standardized tests alongside the stresses of senior year is not for the faint of heart.  Ivy Admissions has standardized this whole process and will hold your hand through it.  We’ll collaborate with you to set deadlines, write essays, send cover letters and, ultimately, place you into one of your top schools.