How to join an Ivy League university

How to join an Ivy League university
How to join an Ivy League university

Thousands of students around the world dream of being admitted to an Ivy League university or other elite institution considered the most prestigious in the world of higher education. Getting there has become more and more difficult with the increase in the number of applicants, but there are still ways to increase your chances. Here is a roadmap that will improve your chances of entering an Ivy League college. Even if you fail, it will give you good habits to succeed in high school and to have an excellent university course in another establishment.


Part 1 of 3: Succeed in high school

Get Into an Ivy League School Step 01

Step 1. Test yourself

Seek out the most demanding and rigorous opportunities in your high school, especially in academia. It is often better to be good at a difficult program than to be brilliant at an average program. If your high school offers advanced level courses, an Ivy League college will expect you to have taken them, especially if those courses were credit-sanctioned.

  • The prestigious universities cannot take into account the competence or not of the professors. They can be based solely on your transcripts. Look for courses that are recognized as difficult, but that are not graded too severely.
  • It is more helpful to take tough classes and work hard in subjects that you are supposed to continue in college. Indeed, this will make your job easier once you get to the upper level.
Get Into an Ivy League School Step 02

Step 2. Start early

Try to be a good student from the start. An irregular student who begins to have good grades at the end of high school is unlikely to be admitted. You must have a regular background as a good student.

Exceptions may arise, as some universities particularly value improvements and advancements. If you have encountered any issues that were beyond your control, you can attach an appendix to your membership application form that outlines them and shows how you did it anyway

Get Into an Ivy League School Step 03

Step 3. Get Excellent Averages

Having an overall GPA in the top 10% of your class is essential. Getting into the top 5-6 in your class greatly increases your chances of being admitted. Remember that you are trying to get into universities that are demanded almost exclusively by the top of the class.

Get Into an Ivy League School Step 04

Step 4. Get excellent marks in national competitions

This is a critical step in your application in general, as it is an area in which you compete directly with all other applicants on an equal footing. Aim for at least 700 out of 800 on the SAT (as well as on the individual SAT II tests) or an average of 30 on the ACT to have a reasonable expectation of admission. By picking up scores over 750 in each section of the SAT or at least 33 in the ACT average, you will have solid grades that won't ask for improvement.

  • Do not take the tests more than three times. According to Chuck Hughes, a former Harvard admissions panel member, the admissions panel will pick up on your repeated essays and interpret them as overly fixated on grades. Practice before taking it.
  • Take a prep class or practice with a few textbooks. Speed ​​and accuracy during these tests are unique skills that must be learned. Start preparing early and nurture your skills so you can solve problems without wasting too much time thinking.
Get Into an Ivy League School Step 05

Step 5. Engage in non-academic activities

The Ivy Leage universities are looking for a candidate who has not been isolated for four years to get good grades. Join a sports team (even a team that doesn't compete), a club or two and get involved with the theater troupe.

Get Into an Ivy League School Step 06

Step 6. Volunteer

Think nationally or internationally, don't limit yourself to local initiatives. Spending a summer raising money to build a school in Peru will have a bigger effect on the admissions panel than if you have raised money for your neighborhood church.

Get Into an Ivy League School Step 07

Step 7. Be a leader in the areas where you are good at

Look for opportunities to be recognized and take on leadership responsibilities. Becoming a class delegate, becoming the captain of the cheerleaders, or even the president of a new association, is a good idea. Don't take your leadership role lightly, as what you learn in this role can help you stand out from the crowd in written compositions and in interviews.

Part 2 of 3: Master the application procedure

Get Into an Ivy League School Step 08

Step 1. Learn about universities

Not all Ivy League universities offer the same experience. Learn about research opportunities, location geography, social life, faculty, climate, and housing and food options. Remember that you will be at this university for four years.

Get Into an Ivy League School Step 09

Step 2. Visit the campus

Talk to teachers and students. Try to get an idea of ​​what your life would be like at this university. Also, try to spend a week there. Several universities offer this service.

Get Into an Ivy League School Step 10

Step 3. Find out about financial aid options

Ivy League universities are known to be very expensive and they don't offer any scholarships, whether athletic, merit-based, or regional. You must complete a state-level scholarship application to receive scholarships.

Get Into an Ivy League School Step 11

Step 4. Request letters of recommendation from your teachers

Look for teachers who know you well, who like you (this should be the case for all teachers!), And who seem willing to write you an excellent letter of recommendation. Some will appreciate it if you make it easy for them through a discussion or a few notes with the topics they should cover in their letter.

Get Into an Ivy League School Step 12

Step 5. Take care of your application

What many applicants ignore is that good grades are not enough for admission. They just make you skip the first round. After that, the university will try to figure out what type of person you are. To do this, it is based on one or two of your essays, on letters of recommendation from professors and advisers, on an interview and sometimes on a letter of recommendation from one of the other students.

Start the application process very early so that you have enough time to edit your admission file if necessary. Seek advice from adults with knowledge of higher education culture (eg your guidance counselor). Ask them what to highlight in your case and how to present it. These tips can help you with interviews too

Get Into an Ivy League School Step 13

Step 6. Prepare for the interview

Interviews can take place with a member of the admissions panel or with a former student. The atmosphere of the interview can range from a relaxed discussion to a real questioning. Dress properly and anticipate questions that may be asked of you. Most importantly, be yourself or a slightly more mature version of yourself!

Find someone who can train you for an interview. Even if the person is unfamiliar with the procedure, they can help keep you relaxed and consistent. If your interview goes badly, don't worry too much. Interviews rarely make the difference between admission and registration

Get Into an Ivy League School Step 14

Step 7. Sit down and wait for the results

Most Ivy League universities send their results in early April. They can also upload them around the same date. Some universities also send "letters of probability" to the most promising applicants 1-2 months before official admission to inform them of their admission.

Part 3 of 3: What to do after admission or retiming

Get Into an Ivy League School Step 15

Step 1. Don't let your averages drop

A student can be fired from his university if his grades deteriorate drastically. Even if you are officially admitted, you can still fail if you ever get in trouble with the law.

Get Into an Ivy League School Step 16

Step 2. If you are on the waiting list, consider other solutions

If you've been put on the waiting list, your chances of admission are pretty slim. Switch to your plan B.

Get Into an Ivy League School Step 17

Step 3. Try to transfer to an Ivy League college

If you shine during your bachelor's degree, you can apply to transfer to an Ivy League college after a year or two. However, you may lose all your credits acquired during your license. You will probably be able to avoid having introductory courses, but you will still have to validate the equivalent of 4 years of study, which will push you to take more advanced courses and courses that interest you. outside of your major discipline. Your degree is the one given by the university in which you finish, not the one given by the university in which you started.

Some public universities guarantee automatic transfer to better public universities if your grades are up to par. It can save you a huge amount of money and get you into a prestigious public university, not at Ivy League level, but close by, which might turn down your application in the first place

Get Into an Ivy League School Step 18

Step 4. Find out about the master's programs at Ivy League universities

By shining during your license and during your admission exam (GRE, LSAT), you can be admitted to an Ivy League master's degree. In addition to providing you with excellent academic opportunities, these programs also allow you to limit your financial expenses by finding yourself a teaching or research assistant position.

A master's degree from a prestigious school has a much greater positive effect on graduation salary than a bachelor's degree from a prestigious university. For masters who pay great attention to grades, it is better to take a slightly less prestigious bachelor's degree and have excellent grades than to take a very prestigious bachelor's degree and have trouble getting good grades due to the competition


  • Systematically having a "hook" is mandatory. Don't write anything too far-fetched and avoid adopting an arrogant tone, but do it well visibly.
  • Students who come from “rare” geographic origins are generally more likely to be admitted. Wyoming or Mississippi are good examples. It also means that those who come from areas that traditionally send a lot of young people to college, such as southern California, New England, or the central Atlantic coast, are less likely to be admitted.
  • Being top of your class is a bit of the basics at Harvard, but being top of your class despite a mental or physical disability can set you apart.
  • Ivy League universities are the ones with the most financial leeway to offer scholarships. All Ivy League universities do their admissions without discriminating on income and offer full scholarships once admitted. In addition, one is more easily a student "in need" in an Ivy League university than in less wealthy universities. If your family earns less than $ 55,000 per year, you won't pay tuition fees at most Ivy League universities. You would fall into the category of the most disadvantaged students (eligible for the Pell Grant) at Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Dartmouth or even Columbia. So even if you are not rich, still look to the Ivy League side in addition to public universities. Public universities can be considerably cheaper than private universities, with equivalent prestige.

    Before making your final decision, find out about the financial aid offered by your university. This can be a combination of scholarships (in the form of exemptions or paid scholarships), loans and paid positions. All depending on the means of your parents. Also find out about scholarships to see if they hold up from year to year

  • Even though universities say they do not take into account the race of applicants, this is not true. Your ethnic profile can play a very important role in your admission. Almost all universities want to be more diverse. Blacks are accepted into almost all universities (including those in the Ivy League) if they simply have over 650 in all sections of the SAT. This generally applies to Hispanics as well. That said, this does NOT apply to Asians who are not considered an under-represented minority by most universities. This information comes from annual documents published by Princeton.
  • A handful of the best universities in the world, like MIT, generously offer to share their programs with the world through the internet through the “Open Courseware” alliance. Try taking an e-course to get a feel for the level required at these universities, to improve your grades and to learn new things.
  • Just try to be yourself in your CV, cover letter and during interviews. This way, the person in front of you will see who you really are and can be sure that you have applied for the college you need.
  • Certain categories of applicants are often preferred over others. Among these you have those with a heritage, top athletes and those considered to be underrepresented minorities. Having a relative or family member who is known and makes generous donations to your future university can be of huge help too. In fact, almost half of Ivy League students are in one of the four groups mentioned above.

    • Inheritances, in general, are students who have one or two parents who were former students of the university in question. Some universities extend this definition to include grandchildren as well. You can always call your university to ask them how they define an inheritance.
    • Athletes admitted are often those who perform well in “niche” sports, such as lacrosse or squash. Lacrosse is the second most practiced sport in the first varsity division and Ivy League universities excel in this activity (Princeton and Cornell have won, together, 9 national university championships - including 6 for Princeton, in the 20 last years). These students are under great pressure: they must both follow a full university course and be engaged in a high-level sporting activity.
  • Remember that there is no guarantee of being admitted nor any guarantee of receiving financial aid. Luck plays a big part and the costs of the applications don't really matter when you take everything into account. Apply to any university that appeals to you.
  • Many students find what they want with the help of a specialist guidance counselor. These people can help you do your essays, build a solid CV, and can answer your questions.
  • If you are in a high school which offers a European or international baccalaureate (IB), try to integrate this course. Having an international, European baccalaureate greatly increases your chances of entering a highly selective university.
  • Universities want to have students with very varied life paths. So think about doing a bachelor's degree in an unusual discipline, because most universities don't even really look at your bachelor's discipline, but only the diversity you can bring and your grades. Also, try engaging in unusual activities or volunteering outside the box.
  • Customers and employers are nonetheless sensitive to what you know, so give yourself every opportunity to succeed with good grades both in purely academic subjects and also in more practical subjects. Consider doing a dual license.
  • If you failed, you probably (better still!) Applied for other universities (which will give you a perfectly decent education). Remember, if you fail an Ivy League college, that doesn't mean you're worth less as a person. Luck plays a big role, relationships and cliques too. Students who failed one year would have been admitted another year and vice versa. Studies have shown that students admitted to an Ivy League university after passing through another university are as likely to be professionally successful as students admitted directly. The same is true for those who had the objective level to enter one of these universities, but who failed. Keep doing your best and your efforts will be rewarded in one way or another.


  • Don't lie in an app folder. Don't give it a false image of yourself, either. It might come back to haunt you later.
  • Asking teachers or family members to edit or review your essay is perfectly fine. On the other hand, having someone else give it a try or buying it online is totally unacceptable. Universities have ways of determining whether an essay has been pre-written by someone else, and examiners can tell the difference between an essay written by a teenager (however gifted) and an adult.
  • Take the tuition fees of an Ivy League university into account, they can exceed 40,000 euros and they are constantly increasing. Don't be put off even if your family can't afford it. You will be able to receive financial assistance. But if you don't get much in aid or if you are going to have to take out loans, you will need to determine whether having a degree from this prestigious institution is really going to help you in your career, compared to a degree that is admittedly less prestigious, but also considerably. cheaper. A full education at a "good" university with low tuition and a low cost of living may make more sense for your career than taking on a debt of 80,000 to 160,000 euros to a "big" school. Do the math on repayments and ask yourself if you are going to be able to live comfortably on the salary you think you will have at the end of your university course despite your debt.

    Take into account that a master also costs 80,000 to 160,000 euros, while the interest on your first loan may increase. You also have to take into account the cost of living in a big city

  • Try to find out about Ivy League universities from as objective sources as possible to get a good idea of ​​which university would be best for you.
  • Make sure you're sure you want to go to an Ivy League college. Many students end up in these institutions simply because their parents are hungry for prestige. Such an attitude can only create unhappy people.
  • Some Ivy League universities have been known to put unhealthy pressure on their students. Suicides are frequent in some of them.
  • If you are likely to depend on financial aid, avoid running as a candidate in the first round. Generally, if you accept in the first round, you are legally obliged to enter the university in question. If your financial aid turns out to be insufficient, you will find yourself in a delicate situation. Although you may be let out of college for financial reasons, only apply for the first round if you are sure that your recommendations and financial resources are satisfactory. Note that in recent years more and more Ivy League universities have stopped first-round decisions, but check with your university's admissions department anyway.
  • Changing universities and taking breaks can be expensive and time consuming, so be sure you want to go where you are going. If you are unhappy, try to last until the end of the semester, perhaps lightening your schedule.

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