The Ivy League has a well-deserved reputation. As eight of the best universities in the United States, and the world, they attract thousands of applications each year. So, if you want an Ivy League education, what is essential to know while preparing for your application?
1) You're already in the race
And by this we don’t just mean to start the application process early, a successful Ivy League application will be the result of years of applied work. You’ll need an impressive academic record and evidence of your impact as a person to win a place, and they will need to be in place long before you see an application form. So whether you were aware of it or not, you already entered the race.
2) Research. Research. Research
Although the Ivy League is a shorthand for eight incredible universities, they are also eight very different universities. Understanding the differences will help guide an application; first, by helping you to identify the best college for you, and then in shaping your application to highlight why you would be a good match.
3) Play the numbers
Obviously, the most important thing is getting into the right place for you. But if you are having a hard time deciding, consider the admissions data. It’s hard to get into any Ivy League college, but some are easier than others. This year Harvard had more than 30 applications for each place, but at Cornell usually has around ten applications per place. They are all competitive, but some are less competitive than others.
4) Apply early
If you are applying for an undergraduate place, then consider applying under an ‘early decision’ or ‘early action’ scheme. These schemes vary, but acceptance rates tend to be much higher than the general application pool. In part this is because those using this route tend to be stronger students who are confident about their choice, but universities also like students through these pathways because they tend to be more committed, organized, and studious.
5) Make your application carefully
The application process at any university will be rigorous, but applying at an Ivy League university there is no room for error. With strong competition for places, even the smallest mistake can be costly. Make sure you are meeting all the application requirements, have great recommendation letters, and craft your personal statement and resume to ensure you highlight exactly why you will be a great Ivy Leaguer.
6) Be yourself
All the Ivy League universities will tell you they are looking for people, not exam scores or lists of extracurricular clubs. Taking subjects that are easy to get good grades, or making a token effect volunteering to fill your resume won’t work. Instead, show that you can thrive with academic challenge, and undertake community work that is close to your heart and makes a difference. Show them a well-rounded individual, not a template.
7) Finally, don’t fall for the myth that Ivy Leaguers are exceptional
What marks them out is not innate talent, but instead their ability to work towards academic success while contributing to society. Make sure you have an application that shows you can do that too and, with luck, you’ll be starting an Ivy League course soon.