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Ivy League Admission
The Ivy Coach College Admissions Blog

Unreasonable Expectations in College Admission

February 27, 2015
Admissions Expectations, Ivy League Expectations, Admissions Goals

Being on Melinda Gates’ list at Duke sure can help.

There’s a good article in “The Washington Post” by Susan Svrluga entitled “Former admissions staffer: Parents, calm down. Let Harvard go” that we’d like to discuss on our college admissions blog. In the piece, Ms. Svrluga writes, “… you need to assume, right now, that your child is not getting into Harvard no matter what he or she does. (And no, he’s not getting into Stanford either, or Yale, or Dartmouth, or MIT. Probably not UC Berkeley, either. No, I’m not kidding.) Your kid isn’t getting into the college you think he or she is. What? So-and-so’s child is at Princeton right now? And got what on his SATs? And did those activities? Hmmm. Interesting. Sure, you can prove me wrong with some examples. And I can prove myself right with a hundred more. Stanford’s rate of admission was below 5 percent last year. Do the math.”

We applaud Ms. Svrluga’s tell-it-like-it-is approach. Our readers might well find it familiar! Now don’t get too negative, though. Students get into Harvard, Yale, Stanford, Dartmouth, MIT, and UC Berkeley all the time. So it’s not quite as grim as Ms. Svrulga suggests but her point is that so many parents have completely unrealistic expectations. She’s absolutely spot on and we applaud her for her candor. We get calls all the time from parents with children whose combined SAT scores are around 1,650. Sometimes we ask, “Over how many sections” only to realize that 800 + 800 + more means that it’s on three sections. Such low scores just always surprise us when these same parents mention schools like Harvard, Yale, and Dartmouth in the same sentence. It reminds us of the “Sesame Street” segment “One of these things is not like the other…” Harvard, Yale, Dartmouth, 1,650. It doesn’t take Malcolm Gladwell to identify the outlier!

We work with students every year who gain admission to the most highly selective colleges in the nation. But we won’t work with a student who has 1,650 SATs and has dreams of getting into Duke unless that same student is willing to crush those dreams at once and reset his or her expectations. We are not magicians. We help students with reasonable — or somewhat reasonable — goals achieve their dreams. And, yes, every now and then we help students with unreasonable goals get into highly selective colleges too (we have a habit of under-promising and over-deliverivering). But 1,650 out of 2,400…yikes. If this student hopes to get into Duke, he or she best be on Melinda Gates’ list. Or Coach K’s of course.

Categories: College Admissions Tags: , , , ,

Asian Discrimination in Admissions

February 26, 2015
Asians in Admissions, Discrimination Against Asians in Admissions, Admissions Discrimination

A letter to the editor in “The Los Angeles Times” presents a misconception about the admissions process as it relates to Asian and Asian American applicants.

There was recently a letter to the editor on the topic of Asian and Asian American applicants to college in “The Los Angeles Times” by Geralyn Yparraguirre that we figured we’d discuss. In the letter, Ms. Yparraguirre, who states that she previously worked in admissions at UC Berkeley, states, “I can wholeheartedly affirm that the University of California system does not advantage or disadvantage certain applicants based on their race. Such practices across all college systems are unconstitutional. Suggesting that the opposite is true, as several people quoted in your article do, plays on both fear and the high amount of pressure that Asian American parents and most importantly Asian American students place on themselves for getting into elite institutions.”

Ms. Yparraguirre, while likely well intentioned, is — in a word — wrong. Of course highly selective colleges discriminate against Asians and Asian Americans. Of course when they read about how an Asian applicant plays first chair violin, they think, “Another first chair violinist.” It’s human. It’s social psychology. Ms. Yparraguirre’s assertion defy psychological science. In a batch of seemingly ordinary applicants, college admissions officers at highly selective colleges look for the extraordinary. They look for the applicant who stands out. If every student is a first chair violinist, you can bet your bottom dollar that these first chair violinists will be discriminated against. To suggest otherwise, we believe, is rather naive.

One of the purposes of our college admissions blog is to debunk misconceptions about the highly selective college admissions process and here a misconception is publicized in “The Los Angeles Times.” To suggest that Asian and Asian American applicants don’t face discrimination in the admissions process is to convey a lack of understanding of how admissions decisions are made.

Categories: China University Admission, College Admissions Tags: , , , ,

Class Rank in College Admissions

February 25, 2015
Rank in Admissions, Class Rank, Universities and Class Rank

There is a great piece in today’s “The Daily Pennsylvanian” about class rank in highly selective college admissions that we figured we’d share with our readers.

Many applicants to highly selective colleges get bogged down in worrying about their rank within their high school’s graduating class. Well, there’s an interesting article in “The Daily Pennsylvanian,” the newspaper of the University of Pennsylvania, by Caroline Simon that we figured we’d discuss. In the piece entitled “Class rank is low on list of college admissions factors,” the title says a whole lot, wouldn’t you say? And it sure is true. Class rank is certainly not one of the most important factors in highly selective college admissions…and it hasn’t been for years. The article quotes David Hawkins, the director of public policy and research at the National Association for College Admissions Counseling, an organization that our Founder, Bev Taylor, is a member of.

As quoted by “The Daily Pennsylvanian,” David Hawkins says, “We’ve noticed a pretty precipitous decline in the level of importance that colleges attribute to class rank.” And the always tell-it-like-it-is dean of admissions at Penn, Eric Furda, confirmed NACAC’s conclusion — that class rank is not an essential factor in the admissions process at the University of Pennsylvania. That says a whole lot. As the article quotes Eric, “‘From a multidecade perspective, class rank has become less prevalent in secondary schools,’ he said, adding that only about 30 percent of Penn’s applicant pool typically attends a school that ranks its students. ‘Class rank has become less prevalent in our pools, and therefore, less relevant,’ Furda said.” Well said indeed.

Many high schools across America and around the world choose not to rank their students, especially in today’s age in which “everybody’s a winner!” And rank is relative anyway. It all depends on the competitiveness of a high school. Ranking first at a non-competitive high school may not be as good as ranking eighth at one of the most competitive high schools in America. Hi applicants from Bronx Science!

Have a question about class rank? Let us know your questions by posting a Comment below. We look forward to hearing from you.

Categories: College Admissions, Ivy League Tags: , , , ,

A Yale Student

February 24, 2015
Yale Student, Yale Students, Students at Yale

A student at Yale offers insight into how the admissions office analyzed his candidacy to the school a few years ago. If you’re a regular reader of our blog, little should come as a surprise to you.

There is a good editorial on the pages of “The Yale Daily News” by a Yale student, Scott Greenberg, entitled “My glimpse into admissions” that we thought we’d share with our readers. We’ve previously discussed a provision of FERPA on our blog, a provision that allows students over the age of 18 years of age the right to “inspect and review” their educational records kept by the schools they attend. A few weeks after Scott Greenberg submitted his request to the Yale admissions office, his request was granted and he was allowed to come in to review his file, although he expressly wasn’t allowed to make copies of the material he reviewed or take photographs of it.

The chance to see how admissions officers evaluated his application to Yale offered insight to Mr. Greenberg that the admissions process to highly selective colleges such as Yale is indeed a holistic one. This surprised him. Our response? Duh. Of course the admissions process to Yale is a holistic one. Why else would so many students with perfect or near perfect grades and test scores be denied admission each and every year to some of America’s top institutions like Yale? After all, we’ve been saying all of this on our college admissions blog for years. As Mr. Greenberg writes, “I was surprised and impressed by how much the readers of my application were able to glean about my personality. While my first reader went through my application section by section in her comments, it was clear that she was synthesizing different portions of my application to create a holistic picture of my character and interests. At one point, she noted how a comment I had made in one of my essays fit thematically with some of my extracurricular commitments, for instance.” We repeat…duh!

Mr. Greenberg goes on to write, “Yet, any broad themes about my life that my readers identified were almost certainly those that I intended them to pick up on when I wrote the application four years ago. It is often said that, above all else, Yale’s admissions process implicitly selects for high school students who can craft a good personal narrative to sell themselves. Viewing my admissions records did not contradict this hypothesis. I like to think that I represented myself honestly in my application, yet I was somewhat disturbed by how easily I was able to convey a certain set of personal qualities that all three of my readers picked up on.” We’ve long stressed the importance of those college admissions essays to share your story!

But not everything Mr. Greenberg writes is correct. For instance, he writes, “What I did learn is that Admissions Officers review applications more carefully than I thought, but the limited information they have to work with makes admissions, at the end of the day, mostly a matter of luck.” This final point of his is absolutely off-base. If it were luck, then why would his essays matter? Why would his Academic Index be calculated? Why would admissions officers take such copious notes on his file? Why not just throw applications at a wall and see which one lands closest…and then admit the student represented by that file? Admission to Yale has little to do with luck and it is, without question, a holistic process. This editorial by Mr. Greenberg only serves to confirm this fact so we’re surprised by his concluding point.

While you’re here, read about how we’re quoted in “The Yale Daily News” on the subject of Yale’s application figures this year.

Categories: College Admissions, Ivy League Tags: , , , ,

Women and College Admissions

February 23, 2015
Gender Disparity in Admissions, College Admissions and Women, Females and College Admission

There is an interesting editorial in “Vox” about gender disparity in college admissions that we thought we’d share with our readers.

There was recently a well argued editorial by Libby Nelson in “Vox” entitled “Discrimination against women is a real problem in college admissions” that we figured we’d share with our loyal reader base. The piece focuses on how women with higher credentials than men are being turned down from colleges because these the admissions offices at these schools receive fewer qualified male applicants and need to create gender parity at their institutions. In 2007, Henry Broaddus, the then dean of admissions at William & Mary, stated that the university would continue to try to balance out the male-female ratio at the university because it’s “the College of William & Mary, not the College of Mary & Mary.” Broaddus almost immediately seemed to regret stating this on record, although he didn’t take back the sentiment that the university would continue to try to balance out the female-to-male ratio being as it’s a co-educational school. We applauded Henry Broaddus at the time for his transparency and candor.

According to the piece on female discrimination in admissions in “Vox,” “Two generations ago, women were in the minority in higher education. Now they’re dominating it. In 1960, women earned 35 percent of all bachelor’s degrees. They crossed the 50 percent mark in the late 1970s and just kept going. Women now make up 59 percent of all college students. In 2011, they earned 62 percent of all associate degrees, 57 percent of all bachelor’s degrees, and 60 percent of all master’s degrees. They now even earn the majority of doctorates — the last bastion of male domination in higher education. Women are so dominant, in fact, that some colleges — particularly private colleges — overtly or covertly give men a boost in the admissions process. If you’re hoping to be admitted to a prestigious private college that doesn’t specialize in engineering, it helps to be male.”

And the most interesting point made in the piece? It’s a poll by “Inside Higher Ed” conducted in 2014 that found that around 25% of directors of admissions surveyed stated on record that they support admitting less qualified men in the hope of fostering a gender balance at their universities. That, we believe, says it all.

Curious to read more about the gender gap in highly selective college admissions? We encourage you to do so!

Categories: College Admissions Tags: , , , ,

The Early Decision Advantage

February 22, 2015
Early Decision Advantages, Applying Early Decision, Why Early Decision Helps

“The Los Angeles Times” has a piece on the advantages of applying Early Decision or Early Action that we figured we’d share with our readers.

There was an article recently in “The Los Angeles Times” entitled “More high school seniors taking early admission to college” by Carla Rivera that we figured we’d discuss. The article, which focuses mostly on California students and universities located within California, articulates how more and more students these days are choosing to apply through Early Decision or Early Action programs. As you may know from reading our college admissions blog, we always encourage our students to apply Early. In fact, if a student is unwilling to apply Early, we’ll often choose not to work with this student. Because our students, overwhelmingly, tend to get in by heeding our sound advice. One of the few cards that students have in their back pockets is their Early card. To not use it is to waste it.

Just check out the statistics for the University of Pennsylvania as a case example. For the Class of 2018, Penn had a 9.9% overall acceptance rate. In the Early Decision round, 25.2% of students earned admission to the university and these students filled 53.7% of the university’s incoming class. In Regular Decision, 7.3% of students who applied to the University of Pennsylvania earned admission. So, to recap, it’s 25.2% in the Early Decision round and 7.3% in the Regular Decision round. One need not be a mathematics major to know that there is a significant advantage in applying Early Decision to Penn. While the statistics aren’t always this striking, the same trend is true at many highly selective colleges across America.

As the article on students applying Early in “The Los Angeles Times” points out, “More than 460 colleges nationwide, many of them top private institutions, offer early options as well as the chance to apply during the later, regular period. Most students still choose the latter. But the number of colleges offering earlier deadlines has increased by about 7% in the last five years, according to the College Board. And most of those colleges report that they are receiving more early applications, according to surveys conducted by the National Assn. for College Admission Counseling.”

Have a Comment on Early Decision or Early Action policies? Let us know your thoughts by posting below. We look forward to hearing from you.

Categories: Early Decision / Early Action Tags: , , , ,

LGBT Student Support at Colleges

February 21, 2015
LGBT Support at Colleges, LGBT Friendly Schools, Gay Friendly Colleges

The Ivy Coach firmly supports LGBT-friendly colleges. We are proud to use our platform to praise LGBT-friendly schools and call out those that need to improve their relations with the LGBT community (photo credit: Benson Kua).

A student who was perusing our website wrote in and we figured we’d share what he had to say. So here goes: “Hi, I was reading through your website and I was considering hiring you for consulting for me for college admissions. However, I find it ironic how you clearly exhibit a 100% closed mind in regards to people who disagree with you. Sorry that there are religions that disagree with you about homosexual marriages-I don’t see why it is necessary for you to push that issue in a consulting firm anyway. Thanks from a former potential client, [Name Redacted].”

At The Ivy Coach, we are deeply proud to bring to light highly selective colleges that are among the gay friendliest in America. We will salute Bryn Mawr College when they make their school more welcoming to transgender applicants. We will praise Dartmouth College for building an affinity house for members of their LGBT community, if they so wish to visit this space. And we will share the story of our friend Andrew Goldstein, the former Dartmouth lacrosse goalie who became the first male professional team sport athlete in America to be openly gay during his playing career when he competed for the Boston Cannons and then-Long Island Lizards of Major League Lacrosse. We called out Harvard University for their lack of resources for LGBT students, but we saluted members of the Harvard wrestling team when they voiced their support for their LGBT peers. And lots more.

We are proud to call out colleges who need to improve LGBT-relations. And we are proud to praise colleges who are among the gay friendliest in America. It’s something we’ve been doing for many years. It is our distinct privilege to be able to use this platform in college admissions to support LGBT applicants and the colleges that welcome them. And as for a student not wanting to work with us because we believe in equality for all, he was under the misconception that we’d have any interest in working with him.

Categories: College Admissions, LGBT College Students Tags: , , , ,

Transferring Colleges on the Rise

February 20, 2015
Transferring Colleges, Transfer Applicants, Applying as a Transfer

More and more students these days have intentions of transferring before even enrolling at their first university (photo credit: Patrickneil).

Transferring colleges is on the rise across America. Each spring and summer, students we didn’t work with as they applied to college approach us to inquire if we’ll help them with their transfer applications to highly selective colleges. We always encourage them to see if they actually like the college they intend to matriculate to first before they get started on the transfer admissions process. After all, students should have an open mind when they attend college. If they’ve already decided that they’re going to transfer, they’re likely not going to venture out of their dorm rooms to make friends and form incredible new experiences. And that’s quite sad! But every year there are students who just don’t get into the schools they hoped to get into and, in many cases, it’s because they made significant mistakes in their applications. Maybe they submitted poor essays. Maybe they didn’t have a hook. Maybe they had poor high school grades. Whatever it is, they didn’t meet their goals and they didn’t end up getting admitted to the college(s) they had hoped. Whatever it is, more and more students are approaching us these days before they even enroll at their first university with intentions to transfer. It’s a trend we’ve been keenly observing over the last few years.

There’s an article in “The Washington Post” by Jeffrey J. Selingo about the rise in transfer students that we came across, one that backs up our observations. In the piece, Mr. Selingo writes, “Students switch colleges for a variety of personal reasons. But transferring between colleges also is becoming a deliberate path many students choose before they even start as freshmen, largely as a strategy to save money. These students are often known as ‘swirling’ through college…The problem is that for many students, switching colleges could end up costing them and their families more in the long run. Until recently, most four-year colleges and universities haven’t made it easy for students to transfer. Colleges lose revenue when they accept credits from other schools. So they are known to reject credits students try to bring with them from other colleges and instead make the students take the courses over again — forcing them to pay tuition for those credits to the new school.”

Mr. Selingo also makes the valid point that colleges are increasingly turning to the transfer pool to fill vacant seats at universities. Also of note, many highly selective colleges fill these vacant seats with nontraditional applicants, applicants that are more common in the transfer pool than in the high school applicant pool. A nontraditional applicant could be a student from a community college (yes, they can gain admission to highly selective colleges like the Ivy League, too!), members of our military as well as veterans (if you’ve served in the American military, contact us to inquire about our pro bono services), among many others.

Thinking of applying as a transfer student in the next week or so? If so, and you need assistance, it’s high time you contact us.

Categories: Transfer Students Tags: , , , ,

Independent Educational Consultants Association: Part 2

February 19, 2015
IECA Organization, Independent Educational Consultants Association, IECA Membership

We at The Ivy Coach believe membership in the Independent Educational Consultants Association isn’t worth the paper it’s written on.

This blog, originally posted on February 16, 2015, is being reposted today in response to the Independent Educational Consultants Association’s (IECA’s) demand that we remove it. First the Independent Educational Consultants Association tried to tell us what we can and cannot charge. And now they’re trying to tell us what we can and cannot write? Nothing we state in either blog about the Independent Educational Consultants Association is inaccurate and, as we have been advised, we are entitled to express our opinion to our large reader base of how we believe that membership in this organization isn’t worth the paper it’s written on. It is all truthful and thus we are free to write whatever we so choose…and indeed there is more to come. This is America. Perhaps the Independent Educational Consultants Association should consult the United States Constitution. 

Today, we at The Ivy Coach are reminded of that beautiful performance by Jim Carrey in “The Majestic,” and that gripping closing speech. As Jim Carrey’s character so well articulates in the film, “That’s the First Amendment, Mr. Chairman. It’s everything we’re about. If only we’d live up to it. It’s the most important part of the contract every citizen has with this country and even though these contracts, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights, even though they’re just pieces of paper with signatures on them, they’re the only contracts we have that are most definitely not subject to renegotiation. Not by you, Mr. Chairman. Not by you, Mr. Clyde. Not by anyone. Ever. Too many people have paid for this contract in blood.”

If you haven’t read Part 1 of our blog in which we we believe we substantiate that membership in the Independent Educational Consultants Association isn’t worth the paper it’s written on, let’s recap. The Independent Educational Consultants Association had a gripe with us that we charge high fees and seemed astounded that when they confronted us about our fees, we made no apology. This is America and we can charge what the market commands, what our expertise commands. And while our Founder has been a member of the Independent Educational Consultants Association in that we’ve sent them $600 a year, our Founder never placed a high value on our membership because it never did anything for us as a private college counseling firm.

But let’s address their second gripe. Their second gripe is that we “offer a guarantee,” something that the Independent Educational Consultants Association claims to expressly not allow. But, to be clear, we offer no guarantee of college admission. We offer a money-back guarantee as publicized in our blog about the million dollar money-back guarantee. We don’t guarantee that these students who sign up for this million dollar package will gain admission to their top choice college. Not at all. What we do guarantee is that if they don’t gain admission to their top choice college, our services will be free to them. They are guaranteed to get their million dollars back. To our understanding, our offering of our services potentially free of charge disturbs the Independent Educational Consultants Association. And we think that is absolutely absurd, not to mention, we believe and have been advised, a violation of law. If we want to work for free (and this is a rarity because our students, overwhelmingly, tend to gain admission to their dream colleges), what right do they have to tell us that we can’t? Who are they to tell people that they can’t get their money back if we so choose to offer it back to them? The fact is, the only reason the Independent Educational Consultants Association is likely upset is because of the dollar amount on that money-back guarantee, but it’s a dollar amount people are willing to pay The Ivy Coach. We make no apology for this nor will we ever. And we make no apology — nor will we ever — that other private college counseling companies can’t command such fees.

But let’s check the facts. Our Admission Assurance Workshop has been in existence since well before our Founder became a member of the Independent Educational Consultants Association and it has been clearly mentioned on our website for years, which is all easily verifiable. Our Admission Assurance Workshop also offers a money-back guarantee. And yet our Founder was admitted as a member of the Independent Educational Consultants Association in spite of the fact that we clearly offered a money-back guarantee for our Admission Assurance Workshop. And why was our Founder admitted as a member? Well, allow us to tell you the story, which our emails with the Independent Educational Consultants Association back up.

Our Founder had initially applied for membership — which is considerably higher than any college application fee, by the way (and they complain about our fees!) — but she was turned down because there is a true statistic on our website that over the last twenty years, 100% of our students have gained admission to one of their top three college choices and 93% have gained admission to their top college choice. It was apparently a violation of their standards of practice. And yet our Founder then approached the CEO of the Independent Educational Consultants Association, Mark Sklarow. It was brought to Mr. Sklarow’s attention at the time that a number of members of the Independent Educational Consultants Association featured similar statistics on their websites. He mentioned he would review our candidacy. Two years passed and we ran into Mr. Sklarow again at a conference. When asked why we hadn’t yet been approved, he stated that he would look into it. Then, seemingly out of the blue, our Founder’s membership was approved. We made no changes to the content of our website with respect to the guarantee offered in the Admission Assurance Workshop or the statistic that appears on our homepage. And yet our Founder was approved. That leads us to surmise that Mr. Sklarow’s organization was in need of membership — and cash — and was willing to violate the ethics of his organization to admit our Founder as a member. And now we’re being scolded for doing nothing differently than before our Founder was approved for membership? The logic is confounding indeed and the irony is not lost on us.

But we’ve got so much more to share to the hundreds of thousands of readers of our college admissions blog about the Independent Educational Consultants Association so be sure to check back soon. Bye Felicia!

Categories: College Consultant Tags: , , , ,

Independent Educational Consultants Association: Part 1

February 19, 2015
IECA, Independent Educational Consultants, College Consultants

If you don’t have the energy to read Part 1 of our blog series on the Independent Educational Consultants Association (IECA), we’ll sum it up for you. We at The Ivy Coach think membership in this organization isn’t worth the paper it’s written on.

This blog, originally posted on February 16, 2015, is being reposted today in response to the Independent Educational Consultants Association’s (IECA’s) demand that we remove it. First the Independent Educational Consultants Association tried to tell us what we can and cannot charge. And now they’re trying to tell us what we can and cannot write? Nothing we state in either blog about the Independent Educational Consultants Association is inaccurate and, as we have been advised, we are entitled to express our opinion to our large reader base of how we believe that membership in this organization isn’t worth the paper it’s written on. It is all truthful and thus we are free to write whatever we so choose…and indeed there is more to come. This is America. Perhaps the Independent Educational Consultants Association should consult the United States Constitution. 

Today, we at The Ivy Coach are reminded of that beautiful performance by Jim Carrey in “The Majestic,” and that gripping closing speech. As Jim Carrey’s character so well articulates in the film, “That’s the First Amendment, Mr. Chairman. It’s everything we’re about. If only we’d live up to it. It’s the most important part of the contract every citizen has with this country and even though these contracts, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights, even though they’re just pieces of paper with signatures on them, they’re the only contracts we have that are most definitely not subject to renegotiation. Not by you, Mr. Chairman. Not by you, Mr. Clyde. Not by anyone. Ever. Too many people have paid for this contract in blood.”

For years, the Founder of The Ivy Coach has been a member of the Independent Educational Consultants Association (IECA). About four years ago, there was a perception that the Independent Educational Consultants Association was having difficulty convincing independent college counselors to become — and remain — members. After all, what does membership in the Independent Educational Consultants Association do for someone if you can even manage to say that whole jumble of words in one breath? You get the honor of being invited to a couple of waste of time conferences in which they serve stale danishes? You get the honor of giving them $600 a year of your hard earned money so that you can put a logo at the bottom of your website to claim membership in this organization in the hope of boosting your credibility? Maybe that’s helpful to the independent college counselor who’s just starting off, trying to secure a few families a year as clients to help their children gain admission to college and eke out a living to support their own family. But for a company like The Ivy Coach, with our global reputation earned over decades for helping students gain admission to the highly selective colleges of their dreams, that $600 that our Founder paid for membership always seemed like it would be better spent paying one of our consultants to help a veteran on a pro bono basis gain admission to the college of his or her dreams after dutiful service to our country.

We were recently contacted several times by the Independent Educational Consultants Association. They had a couple of gripes with us and we’d like to discuss these gripes on our college admissions blog, a blog, we should note, that attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors each month from high school students to parents of high schoolers to school counselors, admissions officers at highly selective colleges, deans of colleges, and even parents of Manhattan kindergartners. Hey, they like to get a head start. Anyhow, over the next few days, we’re going to be spilling the juicy details on how we believe membership in the Independent Educational Consultants Association isn’t worth the paper it’s written on and while we suspect we’ll take some flack for it by members of their organization, a few of whom we respect, we’ll make like Dr. Seuss and “be who we are and say what we feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”

We’re only going to focus on one of their gripes at a time because, as our loyal readers know, we blog every day — including on weekends, Super Bowl Sunday, and even on Christmas and Yom Kippur. We know, our Founder Bev Taylor’s cousin Sandy Koufax would likely not be pleased that we blog about college admissions on the holiest day of the Jewish calendar. But we do it anyway. We’re workhorses like that. Alright, so you’re waiting for the first gripe. Well here goes. You ready? Bum bum bum bum (to Beethoven’s beat)…

We are accused of having expensive fees. Guffaw! [Silence]. We know. Apparently, an alleged student who never used our services inquired about our fees, at least according to the Independent Educational Consultants Association who shared with us this tale. The alleged student, who never became our client, was apparently very upset that we charge high fees — so much so that she allegedly called the Independent Educational Consultants Association in the hope of securing justice in America. When the justice seekers of the Independent Educational Consultants Association called us, we believe that they were taken aback that we said it’s entirely possible someone was quoted such fees. We even had the chutzpah to ask what the issue was. The woman from the ethics committee was rather astounded that we could defend such fees. She seemingly lost her words.

And here is what we have to say about that. We make no apologies for our high fees. We are a boutique firm. We have limited time — especially around deadlines when we’re worked to the bone. We don’t work with everyone. In fact, if we don’t like someone, we won’t work with them at all. Life’s too short. There are too many apple pies to bake. And we’ve never denied having high fees. Watch this segment on “CNBC.” An old fee of ours is out there on television’s airwaves. It is our firm and deeply held belief that it is un-American of the Independent Educational Consultants Association to tell us that our high fees are a violation of their standards of practice (not to mention, we believe, an attempted restraint of trade). In the land of the free and the home of the brave, we can charge whatever we d#mn well please. It’s the fees we command for our expert work. And where in the vague “Principles of Good Practice” of the Independent Educational Consultants Association does it state what precisely is a high fee that a company cannot charge for their expertise? A grande vanilla latte combined with a chocolate croissant at Starbucks costs $6.60 in Santa Monica, California. That same grande vanilla latte and chocolate croissant costs $7.29 on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. That which is a high price and that which is not is speculative and sheer opinion.

Oh, and one other thing about that alleged student who the Independent Educational Consultants Association (boy typing that name is tiring — you’d think they’d have hired a copyrighter when they were brainstorming names) claims contacted them? How on earth do they know that this student was in fact a student? How on earth do they know it wasn’t a competitor of The Ivy Coach? How easy is it for anyone to call and claim whatever it is they want? According to the Independent Educational Consultants Association, this complaint reached them “just days ago.” Well, that same woman from the ethics committee claimed the young woman was “recently waitlisted” at Duke. Last we checked, Duke hasn’t come out with decisions yet. In fact, they don’t come out until the end of March or early April. It’s February 13th. No student — not one — has been waitlisted by Duke not only in recent days but in recent months. And the student wasn’t deferred in recent days either because Early Decision notifications came out over a month and a half ago. We have no idea who this alleged student was and we don’t care. We care about our own students and that’s enough to exhaust us. If our fees made this young woman cry, she’s got a lot of growing up to do. There are a lot of things worthier of crying about than finding out that a company you contact because you’re interested in their services is too expensive for you. And as for the Independent Educational Consultants Association, you’d think that any organization that purports to be reputable would have an official screening process for complaints, one that required forms and research rather than simply listening to a ridiculous phone call as it seems they did. Perhaps if we called the Independent Educational Consultants Association and told them that the Tooth Fairy was real, they’d believe that too and attempt to reach out to the Tooth Fairy to confirm.

Check back tomorrow for more juicy responses to the laughable gripes that the Independent Educational Consultants Association has with us! It only gets more ridiculous. Bye Felicia!

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