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Ivy League Admission
The Ivy Coach College Admissions Blog

The One Million Dollar Guarantee

November 26, 2014

The One Million Dollar Guarantee

We’ve been in business at The Ivy Coach for over twenty years and during these years, we’ve been fairly reluctant to offer a guarantee. And for good reason. We’re putting in countless hours to help students craft powerful college applications that sway admissions officers at highly selective colleges to want to go to bat for them. But what if a student checks a box that we explicitly state he shouldn’t check or includes a trite admissions essay about sports that we haven’t worked on with him, that we haven’t given him notes on (we’d never give the go-ahead to a student to write a college essay about sports in the first place!). We don’t submit applications for students. Students (or their parents) click the submit button themselves. So if they changed things that we know to be unwise, we can’t be responsible. Our students and parents rarely do this but, as a business, it’s always a possibility we consider. And it’s part of the reason we’ve been fairly reluctant to offer a guarantee. This is in spite of the fact that our students tend, overwhelmingly, to gain admission to their dream schools. If you’re wondering if we’ll work with a ‘C’ student with 1750 SATs and no significant extracurriculars who yearns to go to Harvard, we most certainly will not.

When news leaked that Steven Ma, a former hedge fund manager with no credible experience in the highly selective college admissions process, was charging about one million dollars to help students gain admission to the colleges of their dreams, we thought it odd that folks would choose a former hedge fund manager as their private college counselor. Perhaps they hadn’t perused our website and read our daily blogs. Perhaps they hadn’t read how we’re cited as the experts on highly selective college admissions in so many major news publications. Just within the last week, The Ivy Coach was discussed on CNBC, America’s top business channel. We were featured as experts in the newspapers of Yale University (twice) and the University of Pennsylvania (twice) as well as in “USA Today.”

Unlike the businesses of former hedge fund managers and of mothers who helped their own kids get into college, The Ivy Coach’s business is quite reputable in the field of private college counseling. We thus hereby offer a guarantee of admission to your child’s top college choice if, upon our approval, you sign up for this $1,000,000 package. Students in this package will work directly with Bev Taylor, Founder of The Ivy Coach. We obviously won’t work with just anyone and The Ivy Coach must approve every component of the application for students signing up for this package — including the seemingly smallest of details. Because every detail matters! We also have to believe that your son or daughter has a chance of admission to their dream school if we’re taking on the case, a chance that we can drastically improve as we’ve done so many times before. If your child doesn’t get in, this one million dollars will be refunded to you in full. This refund applies only to this million dollar guarantee package.

If interested in this package, email director@theivycoach.com to get started. We look forward to hearing from you.

Oh, and for those of you who are rolling your eyes at our one million dollar fee, that’s ok. We understand that it’s not for everyone. For those who think you can just donate a million dollars to get into a top college, those folks are wrong. That figure is actually much higher and, still, there are no guarantees. Also, each million dollars helps us work on a pro bono basis with, say, a young man without a home who, with The Ivy Coach’s help, juggled his way into Harvard or a student given the boot from West Point under the now defunct “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell Policy” who we helped get into Stanford despite subpar grades. Call us Robin Hood, we’ll own it.

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

College Essays and Thanksgiving

November 25, 2014
Thanksgiving and Admissions Essays, College Essay Time

Start writing your Regular Decision college essays before Thanksgiving dinner as you never know when the Tryptophan will kick in. For this young man in the front, it seems as though it already has…

It’s just about Thanksgiving and it’s wise to spend this break from school working on college admissions essays for the Regular Decision cycle. This applies to all students — even those who applied through Early Decision and Early Action policies. Why’s that, you ask? Because you won’t have time to write strong admissions essays to a host of schools to which you apply Regular Decision after you find out your Early Decision or Early Action decision(s). Sure, you can still put words on a page. We never have any doubt that students can put 500 to 650 words on a page. It’s not particularly difficult to string 650 words together. But to string together 650 words that sway admissions officers to want to root for you — now that’s something. And that’s how we help our students. The essays of our students sway admissions officers to want to go to bat for them. It’s that simple.

Don’t wait until New Year’s Eve to get cracking on that Why Penn essay. Admissions officers at Penn will know if you put those words on the page in the final hours because those essays will be mediocre at best. It’s unlikely that last minute essay will convince an admissions officer that Penn is your first choice, that you’ve really done your research on the University of Pennsylvania, and that you’d matriculate if admitted. Simply writing about a Ben Franklin statue in this essay isn’t going to get you in. Do you know how many students write about that statue? Oy vey!

If you’re interested in The Ivy Coach’s assistance with your admissions essays, fill out our consult form and we’ll be in touch promptly. There’s a high likelihood that the essays you submitted to your Early Decision or Early Action school(s) were trite and all too common if you didn’t have our help (we know this because 99% of students’ admissions essays are terrible). Why make the same mistake again and again and again? Now is the time to correct course. Not at 11 PM on December 31st. And, yes, we are available over the holiday to work with you on these essays.

Categories: College Admissions, College Essays Tags: , , , ,

Harvard Football

November 24, 2014
Football at Harvard, Harvard Football Program, Football in Ivy League

Congratulations to the Harvard football program on their Ivy League outright title and undefeated season.

Congratulations, Harvard football! It was an exciting Saturday to round out the action for the 2014 Ivy League football season. With a 31-24 defeat of Yale University on Saturday — in a come-from-behind win — Harvard University completed their 2014 season in undefeated fashion (as one of only three major college football programs to do so this year). The game, as we’ve previously noted, marked the first time in the storied Harvard-Yale rivalry where the captains for both teams were African American. And their teams sure did put on a good game. Yale busted out to an early lead, Harvard took over, and then Yale clawed back. But it wasn’t enough to topple the undefeated Crimson, who have won fourteen straight games…yes, fourteen! Only the defending National Champion Florida State Seminoles have a longer winning streak in college football these days. That’s fairly impressive. Harvard hasn’t even lost consecutive games in eight years!

But the Ivy League wasn’t only about Harvard this year. It was also about the resurgence of a team that has been the Ivy League’s winningest program in history — Dartmouth College. Dartmouth destroyed Princeton on Saturday and, had Yale held on against Harvard, they would have ended the season with a share of the Ivy League title (splitting it with Harvard). Dartmouth’s football program is indeed back on the map and we’d like to congratulate both Harvard and Dartmouth on their phenomenal seasons.

And to the NCAA, we’d really like to see the Ivy League champion — in this case, Harvard — compete on in the playoffs. Why can’t they have a shot at an NCAA title? Alright, so FSU vs. Harvard would be ridiculous to watch, but we believe that every team deserves a shot to compete for an NCAA championship. Even a team from the Ivy League.

Congratulations to the Harvard football program on their Ivy League title and undefeated season. Well done.

Categories: College Athletes, Ivy League Tags: , , , ,

SAT Cheating Confirmed in Asia

November 23, 2014
SAT Cheating in China, SAT Cheating in South Korea, China SAT Cheating

Cheating on the October administration of the SAT has been confirmed in China and South Korea, reports “The Washington Post.”

“The Washington Post” has reported that the Educational Testing Service, the company that administers the SAT for College Board, has indeed confirmed that cheating occurred on the October administration of the SAT given in South Korea and China. If you haven’t previously read about this SAT cheating scandal in these countries, this post on the exam should bring you up to speed. And not only has cheating been confirmed on the October exam, but ETS is now investigating whether similar cheating occurred on the November administration of the SAT. This is utterly shocking! Yeah right.

According to an article on the SAT cheating scandal in “The Washington Post” written by Valerie Strauss, the paper’s Woodward and Bernstein when it comes to this particular scandal, “The Educational Testing Service has determined that some students in Asia cheated on the SAT given in October, and it is opening a new probe into whether some cheated on the November college admissions exam. Meanwhile, concerns continue to rise about plans being made for cheating on the SAT being given in Asia next month. Most students in South Korea and China who had their October scores delayed because of allegations of cheating have now received them, according to  Tom Ewing, director of external affairs at ETS, which administers the SAT around the world for the owner of the exam, the College Board. He said in an e-mail that ‘a limited number’ of students had ‘an unfair advantage on the test.'” Define limited!

And now apparently test proctors in Thailand and Japan have also alleged that cheating has occurred on their own administrations of the SAT. Do you think ETS and College Board are being proactive enough in the fight against rampant cheating on the exam? Do you think they should do more? What do you think they should do? We’re curious to hear your thoughts so post those comments below!

Categories: SAT / ACT Prep, Standardized Testing Tags: , , , ,

New College Application

November 22, 2014
New University Application, New College App, College Applications

Bev Taylor, Founder of The Ivy Coach, has been quoted in the pages of Penn’s newspaper.

Bev Taylor, Founder of The Ivy Coach, has been quoted (well, somewhat misquoted this time!) on the pages of “The Daily Pennsylvanian,” the newspaper of the University of Pennsylvania. In an article written by Bookyung Jo entitled ” Penn likely to join new college app platform, once it’s created,” it is written, “The Ivy Coach founder Bev Taylor…is looking forward to the new system and said it will allow students to apply to more colleges.The Common App allows each student to apply up to 20 colleges, and using this other application will allow students to apply to even more schools. Taylor also feels that the Common App doesn’t give applicants enough flexibility, since it doesn’t allow for students to upload essays, which limits how creative they can be with content. Supplemental questions embedded in the Common App also create a lot of confusion among students, she said. ‘I think the Common App is way too restrictive,’ she added.”

Bev was a bit misquoted in this particular article on a new college application platform. The article implies that Bev supports applying to more than 20 colleges. That is the exact opposite of what Bev believes. In fact, Bev believes students should apply to about one college (i.e., through Early Decision). Applying to 20+ colleges is absurd if you ask us and it’s not the point that Bev was trying to make. We aim to correct misconceptions on our college admissions blog and, in this case, we have to correct the misconception that it’s advisable to apply to so many colleges. Because it isn’t. There is no possible way that a student can show genuine interest in that many colleges and if a student can’t show interest, it’s not even worth applying. Colleges want to be loved just as students want them to love them back. It’s funny how it works, right?

Anyhow, we’ve never been fans of The Common Application, as we’ve made very clear on our blog. The Common App. sure does have a lot of restrictions and a new college application platform could be a very good thing. But no matter how this new college application platform takes shape, we never support applying to so many schools. That’s crazy.

Bev was quoted on the pages of “The Daily Pennsylvanian” a couple of weeks back, too. If you so wish, read about her comments on Penn’s Early Decision stats.

Categories: The Application Tags: , , , ,

Rarely Trust College Coaches

November 21, 2014
Never Trust College Coaches, College Coach, College Coaches

You can trust Coach K. But don’t trust too many other college coaches (photo credit: Adam Glantzman).

Rarely trust college coaches. Read that again and say it to yourself: Rarely trust college coaches. Every year, students and parents come to us and tell us something along these lines: “The hockey coach told us that our son is getting in if he applies Early Decision. He has a slot.” Ok, great…then why again are you coming to us? No, really. Why are you calling us? To brag? Because you think we have no better way to spend our time than to hear you boast about your child’s accomplishments on the ice? Did he really score a hat trick? That’s so cool! Please.

When parents tell us that coaches have guaranteed them that their children will gain admission, we often roll our eyes. Coaches — most often — cannot guarantee admissions. Now can Coach K tell a young man’s parents that his son is getting into Duke if he applies? You bet. But most coaches don’t have the authority of Coach K. The squash coach, the tennis coach, and even the hockey coach at so many prestigious universities across America often over-promise and under-deliver. They say they’re going to go to bat for your kid only to end up supporting another kid at the last minute. Maybe they think your kid’s grades and scores are strong enough to get in on his own merits. And that’s never a good thing because then your son’s application isn’t flagged as an athletic recruit. What if the rest of his extracurriculars aren’t special? If such is the case, there’s a good shot he’ll be deferred or denied admission, no matter what the coach promised. A coach can only go to bat for so many applicants each admissions cycle.

In short, if a coach believes in your son, if he’s going to go to bat for your son, have him put this in writing. Short of putting it in writing, it doesn’t mean as much as you might think it does. Coaches have a habit of not always doing as they say they will. Maybe a better recruit comes along at the last minute. Maybe the coach just doesn’t think your son is a very fast skater. Don’t put yourself in this position. Take a coach’s words with a grain of salt. On second thought, take it with two big grains of salt.

Categories: College Athletes Tags: , , , ,

Harvard Yale Rivalry

November 20, 2014
Harvard and Yale, Harvard and Yale Football, The Game

The Game will be this Saturday and it will be a historic one for more than one reason (photo credit: Henry Trotter).

This Saturday’s college football docket features one of the oldest rivalries in the game with a head-to-head matchup of Harvard University and Yale University. Harvard opened the Yale Bowl in 1914, one hundred years ago (although there were games between the two rivals before this year). But this Saturday’s matchup isn’t only significant because it’s the 100-year anniversary. It’s also significant because this Saturday’s matchup will be the first time in this historic game’s history that two African American captains will shake hands at the 50-yard line for the coin toss. Harvard, captained by Norm Hayes, and Yale, captained by Deon Randall, didn’t exactly have African American captains back around the time of the First World War. But, for the first, time both schools do now. And that is pretty cool!

According to an article on the Harvard-Yale rivalry in “Sportz Edge,” “This will be the 131st game in the series. During that span of years to play 130 times, both Harvard and Yale became racially integrated, in the classrooms and on the playing fields. It was a gradual and slow process. Achieving the football captaincy at Harvard and Yale has always been a major hurdle. Both teams ,steeped in tradition, elect just a single man to be their captain. That reduces the odds of being elected. Arthur Daley of The New York Times wrote on a few occasions that being elected as the Harvard captain was akin to, or even more of an achievement, than becoming president of the United States. That could also have applied to Yale. Since they began playing football, there have been three black captains at Harvard, and four at Yale. But until this year they had never coincided. Now, Hayes and Randall linked.”

The Ivy Coach salutes Harvard University and Yale University and their respective captains, Norm Hayes and Deon Randall, on this historic moment for two of America’s prestigious Ivy League universities and most storied football foes.

Categories: College Athletes, Ivy League Tags: , , , ,

Harvard Admissions Lawsuit

November 19, 2014
Harvard Lawsuit, UNC Lawsuit, Harvard Admissions

Lawsuits are pending against Harvard and UNC for their admissions policies as they relate to Affirmative Action (photo credit: Chensiyuan).

Two federal lawsuits were filed this week — one against Harvard University and the other against the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill — and both center on race-based Affirmative Action policies at the universities. In particular, the lawsuits focus on how white and Asian American applicants to these universities are discriminated against in the admissions process. If you’re a regular reader of our college admissions blog, you know full well where we at The Ivy Coach stand on this issue. Asians and Asian Americans are indeed discriminated against in the highly selective college admissions process. Asian American applicants are judged against other Asian American applicants. Those with perfect math SAT scores who play first chair violin fit the profile of so many other Asian American applicants are are evaluated accordingly. Yes, stereotyping does indeed play a role in highly selective college admissions. The sooner you accept this fact, the better.

According to an article on the litigation facing Harvard and UNC on “WBUR,” “Harvard University’s General Counsel Robert Iuliano pointed out that the Supreme Court’s landmark 1978 decision in Regents of University of California v. Bakke, which upheld affirmative action, specifically cited Harvard’s admissions plan as a ‘legally sound approach’ to admissions. ‘Then and now, the college considers each applicant through an individualized, holistic review having the goal of creating a vibrant academic community that exposes students to a wide-range of differences: background, ideas, experiences, talents and aspirations,’ he said.” Is the admissions process holistic? Absolutely! But that doesn’t mean that Asians and Asian Americans don’t face discrimination even in a holistic process.

What do you think about the lawsuits facing Harvard and UNC? UNC seems to be in quite some quicksand of land between the cheating scandal and now this lawsuit that alleges the university discriminates in its admissions practices. Do you think the university’s reputation has been tarnished? We’re curious to hear your thoughts!


Categories: College Admissions Tags: , , , ,

The Ivy Coach on CNBC

November 18, 2014

The Ivy Coach was recently discussed on an episode of CNBC’s “Power Lunch” and we were written about in an article for CNBC by Barbara Booth entitled “How much would you pay to get your kid in Harvard?“. As referenced on the CNBC show, there are over 8,000 college counselors who are registered with certain organizations such as NACAC and IECA (The Ivy Coach is a member of both organizations in good standing) plus upwards of 15,000 folks who dabble in college counseling. And that’s a low estimate. But The Ivy Coach is of course a leader in the college counseling marketplace and a leader in helping students gain admission to the highly selective colleges of their dreams. So we got a mention. Hey, we’re a business. This isn’t a college essay. We’re allowed to brag! After all, Bev’s husband and Brian’s dad, Ed, plays CNBC nonstop through the morning, afternoon, and night and his entire email inbox is filled with alerts from Jim Kramer. So we thought it was very funny when we heard The Ivy Coach on the world’s leading business channel.

CNBC and The Ivy Coach, Ivy Coach and CNBC, CNBC and College Admissions

The Ivy Coach was featured on CNBC’s “Power Lunch” show today.

The segment was of course about the hefty fees many private college counselors charge and The Ivy Coach is cited as commanding among the heftiest. Ok, “among the” is using the term loosely. We understand that we are expensive. We’ll own it. We understand that not everyone can afford our services. We wish we could help everyone. In fact, each and every year we work with select members of our military on a pro bono basis. And, as it’s the day after a holiday in which we honor our veterans for their dutiful service, we are committed to doubling down this coming year on helping veterans of our air force, army, navy, marines, merchant marines, and coast guard gain admission to the colleges of their dreams after their patriotic service to our country.

For parents and students who balk at our fees, that’s fine. Find someone else. They won’t be as good. Read their testimonials. They won’t have real names (who is John, Parent of Harvard Sophomore anyway?). They won’t be cited as experts in the press. They won’t have our reputation in the private college counseling business. They won’t help your children brainstorm and craft powerful admissions essays that sway admissions officers to want to root for them. They won’t fix that major mistake on an application that will derail your son’s candidacy. But we imagine you won’t have to pay as much. Just as you wouldn’t go to a cheap — but bad — dentist, going to a cheap — but bad — private college counselor isn’t worth your time and it won’t help your child gain admission to the college of his or her dreams.

Oh, and, if you read the article, we actually get upwards of 7,500 visitors a day. It’s a typo in the article! Again, this is not a college essay. We’re totally allowed to brag…

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

Too Many College Applications

November 17, 2014
College Applications, Too Many Applications, Lots of College Applications

There is indeed a such thing as submitting too many college applications, as a “New York Times” article illustrates.

Is there a such thing as submitting too many college applications, you ask? There was an article a couple of days ago in “The New York Times” entitled “Applications by the Dozen, as Anxious Seniors Hedge College Bets” written by Ariel Kaminer that we figured we’d bring to the attention of our readers. Featured in the article is a high school senior named Alex Velora who submitted 18 applications way ahead of schedule. Figuring that wasn’t enough, she decided to send in 11 more. That’s right. In all, Ms. Velora submitted 29 applications. So what do you think that we at The Ivy Coach have to say to that? It’s good, right? She’s improving her odds of admission by spreading out, by applying to so many schools, right? Wrong, wrong, wrong. Submitting applications to 29 schools is absolutely absurd.

But we can’t say it any better than a director of college counseling at a school in Texas, Marie Bigham said, as quoted in “The New York Times”: “You can’t be a competitive, strong applicant without demonstrating interest, and you can’t do that at 25 schools.” Ms. Bigham is absolutely right. Think about it like this. You go on 29 dates. How can you possibly keep up with all of the text messaging that ensues — or doesn’t ensue — after your dates? How can you keep track of the biographical information of all of your dates? How can you even remember their names? Quite simply, you can’t. You’re not going to find your Prince Charming by going on 29 dates back to back. That’s just foolish if you ask us.

And the same rule applies to highly selective college admission. Highly selective colleges want students who want them. You can’t possibly write 29 Why College essays that have any specificity about the college. That’s right — that essay about Penn’s beautiful campus cannot be submitted to Yale. Top colleges know when you simply replace the word “Penn” with “Yale.” You’re not fooling anybody. Not even yourself. And how can you visit all of these schools? How can you possibly — convincingly — lead highly selective colleges to believe that they’re really your first choice? You can’t. Ms. Velora made a major mistake and a bigger mistake was having her mistake be featured in “The New York Times.” Now all of the colleges she applied to — all 29 of them — know they’re not particularly special to her. And, needless to say, she’s not special to them.

Categories: College Admissions, The Application Tags: , , , ,