COLLEGE SAVINGS 101

Savingforcollege.com

How younger students can build a competitive profile for the Ivy League schools
http://www.savingforcollege.com/articles/how-younger-students-can-build-a-competitive-profile-for-the-ivy-league-schools-799

Posted: 2015-7-6

by Lulu Curiel

Founder and CEO of Ivy Advisors

Admissions rates for the Ivy League schools range between 5–9%. Parents often ask me what their child can do from an early stage to land in an Ivy League school.

My answer is always the same: there is no guarantee. There is no magical recipe that will land you in the Ivy League. However, there are ways to shape your profile to be competitive in the admissions game. This starts with getting educated about the schools, their culture, values, and purpose.

1. Be well rounded and focused

Which one is better? Ultimately, you can’t be both at the same time, can you?

You can! A well-rounded person has the aptitude to solve complex problems as well as to communicate clearly and confidently with others. Demonstrating these abilities doesn’t mean that you have to be enrolled in a dozen extracurricular activities, spanning from sports to arts to math camp. It means that you will write your essays beautifully, score high on your tests, carry a high GPA in whatever concentration you choose, and submit recommendation letters that endorse your ability to work with others and lead teams.

Being focused means that you know your passions. Choose one field to focus on in your extracurricular activities. I repeat this to parents over and over again. Don’t enroll your children in every activity with the goal of demonstrating a "well-rounded" individual.

Instead, help them develop well-rounded skills—the ability to solve problems, communicate with others, and resolve conflict. Then focus their time and effort, in school and out, on the things they enjoy the most. Build a sustained story over time. Their transcript should show whether they are science driven or arts driven.

2. Deconstruct the school’s mission statement and align to It

Ivy League schools craft the composition of the student body. Find your target schools’ mission statements, break them down into their components, and then ask yourself, "what aspects of my life and career fit the mission statement.?"

For example, Harvard College’s mission is "to educate the citizens and citizen-leaders for our society. We do this through our commitment to the transformative power of a liberal arts and sciences education."

How have you demonstrated that you’re a citizen-leader? What does leadership mean to you? How have you fulfilled your responsibilities as a citizen of our society? How are you fit for a transformative education?

Take a hard look at your profile. Where do you struggle to fit what your school is looking for? When you still have time, find opportunities to fill in those gaps.

3. Take risks and enroll in harder courses

Ivy League schools value individuals who excel when challenged. It’s not just about holding a high GPA, but also taking risks that reflect your passions and demonstrate your ability to excel in complex scenarios.

Acing AP courses that are related with your passions, are harder in degree of difficulty, while maintaining your overall GPA range, even if it goes down a little bit, is hugely beneficial. On the contrary, in an effort to keep a 4.0 GPA, acing subjects that are flat in degree of difficulty and are considered "softer" subjects than your intended field of story is less impressive.

4. Hone your writing skills

A keystone of the application is the essay. The essay is your opportunity to convey a part of you that couldn’t be told in any other place in the application. Schools have distinctive topics for their essay, and they also have a word count.

Your ability to communicate in written English in a succinct, concise way is very important. Don’t wait until your senior year to polish your English.

Practice writing from an early age. Look up the essay questions every year and try to answer them. Then ask a trusted person to provide feedback. Did you communicate what you were supposed to?

5. Be a leader, not just an achiever

When I ask parents to tell me about their child’s leadership experience, they commonly answer: he was the captain of the football team; she is the first in her class; he won the toughest chess tournament in the entire state; she is the champion of the debate team …

Achievements are good. They are proof that an individual can compete and excel in a challenging setting. Achievements are necessary to include in an application to pass the basic filters.

But achievements don’t equal leadership. Beyond achievement, Ivy League schools select individuals who’ve made an impact. After they graduate, these alumni will represent the school’s name and make a difference.

The best way to demonstrate that you will make a difference is by showing the differences that you’ve made. Being captain of the debate team is less impressive than being a regular member of the team who organized a fundraiser that raised $10k for the club and increased the membership by 30%.

From early on, write down the events in your life where you made an impact, however small they seem to be. Then keep expanding that list! When it’s time to apply, you’ll want to show how you’ve grown as a leader.


Lulu Curiel is the Founder and CEO of Ivy Advisors, a leading Admissions Consulting company that helps people with their application process for college and graduate school. Lulu has helped over hundreds of people construct their application strategies and gain admissions to their respective dream schools. Prior to Ivy Advisors, Lulu worked at Apple and Deloitte Consulting. She has an MBA from the Harvard Business School, and a B.S. in Computer Engineering from Boston University.



Founder and CEO of Ivy Advisors

Admissions rates for the Ivy League schools range between 5–9%. Parents often ask me what their child can do from an early stage to land in an Ivy League school.

My answer is always the same: there is no guarantee. There is no magical recipe that will land you in the Ivy League. However, there are ways to shape your profile to be competitive in the admissions game. This starts with getting educated about the schools, their culture, values, and purpose.

1. Be well rounded and focused

Which one is better? Ultimately, you can’t be both at the same time, can you?

You can! A well-rounded person has the aptitude to solve complex problems as well as to communicate clearly and confidently with others. Demonstrating these abilities doesn’t mean that you have to be enrolled in a dozen extracurricular activities, spanning from sports to arts to math camp. It means that you will write your essays beautifully, score high on your tests, carry a high GPA in whatever concentration you choose, and submit recommendation letters that endorse your ability to work with others and lead teams.

Being focused means that you know your passions. Choose one field to focus on in your extracurricular activities. I repeat this to parents over and over again. Don’t enroll your children in every activity with the goal of demonstrating a "well-rounded" individual.

Instead, help them develop well-rounded skills—the ability to solve problems, communicate with others, and resolve conflict. Then focus their time and effort, in school and out, on the things they enjoy the most. Build a sustained story over time. Their transcript should show whether they are science driven or arts driven.

2. Deconstruct the school’s mission statement and align to It

Ivy League schools craft the composition of the student body. Find your target schools’ mission statements, break them down into their components, and then ask yourself, "what aspects of my life and career fit the mission statement.?"

For example, Harvard College’s mission is "to educate the citizens and citizen-leaders for our society. We do this through our commitment to the transformative power of a liberal arts and sciences education."

How have you demonstrated that you’re a citizen-leader? What does leadership mean to you? How have you fulfilled your responsibilities as a citizen of our society? How are you fit for a transformative education?

Take a hard look at your profile. Where do you struggle to fit what your school is looking for? When you still have time, find opportunities to fill in those gaps.

3. Take risks and enroll in harder courses

Ivy League schools value individuals who excel when challenged. It’s not just about holding a high GPA, but also taking risks that reflect your passions and demonstrate your ability to excel in complex scenarios.

Acing AP courses that are related with your passions, are harder in degree of difficulty, while maintaining your overall GPA range, even if it goes down a little bit, is hugely beneficial. On the contrary, in an effort to keep a 4.0 GPA, acing subjects that are flat in degree of difficulty and are considered "softer" subjects than your intended field of story is less impressive.

4. Hone your writing skills

A keystone of the application is the essay. The essay is your opportunity to convey a part of you that couldn’t be told in any other place in the application. Schools have distinctive topics for their essay, and they also have a word count.

Your ability to communicate in written English in a succinct, concise way is very important. Don’t wait until your senior year to polish your English.

Practice writing from an early age. Look up the essay questions every year and try to answer them. Then ask a trusted person to provide feedback. Did you communicate what you were supposed to?

5. Be a leader, not just an achiever

When I ask parents to tell me about their child’s leadership experience, they commonly answer: he was the captain of the football team; she is the first in her class; he won the toughest chess tournament in the entire state; she is the champion of the debate team …

Achievements are good. They are proof that an individual can compete and excel in a challenging setting. Achievements are necessary to include in an application to pass the basic filters.

But achievements don’t equal leadership. Beyond achievement, Ivy League schools select individuals who’ve made an impact. After they graduate, these alumni will represent the school’s name and make a difference.

The best way to demonstrate that you will make a difference is by showing the differences that you’ve made. Being captain of the debate team is less impressive than being a regular member of the team who organized a fundraiser that raised $10k for the club and increased the membership by 30%.

From early on, write down the events in your life where you made an impact, however small they seem to be. Then keep expanding that list! When it’s time to apply, you’ll want to show how you’ve grown as a leader.


Lulu Curiel is the Founder and CEO of Ivy Advisors, a leading Admissions Consulting company that helps people with their application process for college and graduate school. Lulu has helped over hundreds of people construct their application strategies and gain admissions to their respective dream schools. Prior to Ivy Advisors, Lulu worked at Apple and Deloitte Consulting. She has an MBA from the Harvard Business School, and a B.S. in Computer Engineering from Boston University.



 

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