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Ivy League Admission
The Ivy Coach College Admissions Blog

Kindergarten Admission in NYC

July 30, 2014
NYC Kindergarten Admission, NYC Kindergarten Admissions, Admission to NYC Kindergartens

The frenzy over kindergarten admission in NYC is too much to handle sometimes, as a “New York Times” article points out.

If you’re a regular reader of our college admissions blog, you know that we like to poke fun from time to time of the kindergarten admissions process in NYC. Yesterday, there was an article that ran in “The New York Times” entitled “When the College Admissions Battle Starts at Age 3” written by Anna Bahr that we figured we’d share with our readers for their amusement. As an aside, if you happened to come to The Ivy Coach for help with kindergarten admission in NYC, we don’t offer such a service but we do strongly recommend the services of Stephanie Sigal of Say and Play Family.

In the piece in “The New York Times,” Bahr describes the kindergarten admissions frenzy in New York City in a way that may seem like a joke to those who live outside of the five boroughs, but for NYC residents, they know it all to be true. These folks believe in their heart of hearts that if you don’t get your kid into a good kindergarten, then they won’t get into a good elementary school and they certainly won’t get into a good middle school, which will lead to a first-rate high school and ultimately a great college. So if you want to send your kid to the Ivy League, it’s get them into a great kindergarten or bust!

Writes Bahr, “If getting into college requires a high school degree, getting into an elite college (or so we have come to believe) is made easier by an elite high school degree. In New York, those elite high schools come in two main categories: public and private. Stuyvesant High School and Riverdale Country School send comparable portions of their graduating classes to elite colleges. One is free and the other costs $43,600 annually. So what’s the draw? Why are parents doing standardized test prep with their 3-year-olds? One answer: certainty. All nine of the city’s prestigious specialized public high schools begin in ninth grade; there is no early entry route. But for a price, anxious parents can secure their children spots at one of the city’s top private high schools before they have even learned to read.”

For our readers, do you have to go to a fancy high school to get into an Ivy League college? Absolutely not. That was true back in the day, sure, when feeder schools such as Exeter literally fed students into the Ivies. But now highly selective colleges are looking to admit diverse classes and how diverse could a class be if all of the students came from privileged backgrounds, if they all came from Exeter? Are there still a number of students who hail from Exeter and Stuyvesant and Riverdale Country School at the Ivies? Absolutely. But it’s not Exeter, Stuyvesant, Riverdale, or bust. Plenty of students from public high schools that aren’t nearly as well known as the aforementioned schools gain admission to the Ivies each and every year. In fact, the Ivies seek out these very students. Sorry, anxious Manhattan kindergarten parents. If we could give you one word of advice, it would be: chill!

While you’re here, if you’re one of these very parents in NYC, feel free to read about NYC kindergarten admissions requirements. Oy vey.

Categories: Admissions Process Tags: , , , ,

Best Value Colleges

July 29, 2014
Best Value Universities, Best Value Schools, Best Value College

Princeton, Harvard, Caltech, MIT, and Stanford are among the best value colleges, according to “Money.”

“Money” has come out with a ranking of the best value colleges that we figured we’d bring to the attention of our readers. So which college tops the ranking? It may surprise you! The answer is Babson College. According to “Money,” “Using unique measures of educational quality, affordability, and career outcomes, Money’s new value rankings will help you and your child find the right school at the right price.” If you’d like to read more about “Money’s” methodology in determining the best value colleges, be sure to comb through the piece.

So which university follows Babson College, this year’s winner? That would be Webb Institute on Long Island. Alright, moving on. Coming in third is the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Because MIT and the Webb Institute totally belong in the same sentence, right? Placing fourth is Princeton University followed by: Stanford University, Harvard University, Harvard Mudd College, Cooper Union (tuition used to be free at Cooper Union — talk about great value!), Brigham Young University, and the California Institute of Technology. Did you ever think you’d see a ranking that included MIT, Harvard, Princeton, Caltech, Stanford, and…the Webb Institute. We sure didn’t!

But “Money” seems to think the Webb Institute in Glen Cove, New York is a great value. Who knew? Apparently, “Every Webb student who is either a U.S. citizen or a green card holder is entitled to a full-tuition scholarship, worth $44,000. Webb alums typically earn about $65,000 a year.” $65,000 a year doesn’t seem so high to us over the course of a career but if tuition is free, it makes sense why Webb would nearly top this ranking.

Categories: College Admissions, The Rankings Tags: , , , ,

On the Ivy League

July 28, 2014
Ivy League, On Ivy League, On the Ivies

Ivy League colleges don’t mold character. And neither does any other college in America. They shouldn’t be expected to, contrary to what a writer for “The New Republic” asserts.

Osita Nwanevu has a nice response up on “Slate” to an article published in “The New Republic” that detailed an Ivy League graduate’s gripes with the Ivy League. As Nwanevu so well articulates in his response to the piece on the Ivy League, “The Ivies, Deresiewicz contends, are particularly bad at ‘self’ production and now merely serve as places where ‘the rich send their children to learn to walk, talk, and think like the rich.’ The more socioeconomically diverse public schools, by contrast, can at least offer upper class students the potential for ‘experiential learning’ side by side with the less well off. Wealthier kids, the theory goes, can become more curious about the world and more intellectually serious by interacting with the less privileged.” Who says the less well off, the less privileged, don’t attend Ivy League colleges? These are precisely the kinds of students Ivy League colleges seek out! Deresiewicz couldn’t be more off base.

We’re thinking that Deresiewicz — who was not an Ivy League admissions officer contrary to how some pieces describe him — watched a little too much “School Ties” and “The Skulls” before writing his piece. The Ivy League is not a bastion of conservatism as he so describes. All sorts of people go to Ivy League colleges — not just the wealthy. And the poor aren’t at Ivy League colleges just to educate the wealthy, so they can have a better sense of the world. That’s quite an ugly, pessimistic perspective. So it’s clear for our readers, Deresiewicz simply spent one day — yes, one day in the spring of 2008 — on the Yale admissions committee. That’s all he claims. He led his article off in this way so any subsequent piece that referred to him as a Yale admissions officer is simply misinterpreting his words.

As Nwanevu writes, “To believe that a college—Ivy or otherwise—can confer intellectual benefits in four years that you won’t be able to attain at some point over the course of the next 60 is to believe in magic. If a student leaves college capable of independent thought, it might not be because professors are miracle workers or because he managed to glean perspective from the underprivileged like one wrings water from a towel. It could be because he was raised in an environment conducive to independent thinking—a characteristic that a decent college should look for when admitting students in the first place.” We couldn’t have said it better ourselves! Deresiewicz seems to have an axe to grind with the Ivy League, which is ironic because he himself attended the Ivy League. The Ivy League doesn’t shape character. Remember that line in “The Emperor’s Club” where a wealthy parent tells Kevin Kline’s character (the enthusiastic teacher) that he doesn’t send his kid to his school to shape his character — just to to teach him facts and such? It’s true. The Ivy League shouldn’t be expected to shape character. No school should. But Deresiewicz seems to hold the Ivy League to a higher, unreasonable standard. His claims are mostly baseless and attention-seeking and that’s the end of the story. Don’t believe in magic. Don’t believe all the words of William Deresiewicz.

Categories: Ivy League Tags: , , , ,

Ivy League Article

July 27, 2014
Ivy League Articles, Article on the Ivies, Ivies Article

College admissions officers are rarely impressed by students who complete service work in far off parts of the world. This runs contrary to what the writer of a piece in “The New Republic” conveys.

We wrote a little bit yesterday about a couple of things we disagreed with in William Deresiewicz’s piece in “The New Republic.” There’s quite a bit more we disagree with — including his attention-grabbing headline. Deresiewicz makes a number of arguments but none of them demonstrate why you shouldn’t send your kids to the Ivy League. We have a feeling he titled his piece in this way merely for the traffic. But there are indeed a couple of things he says that are true. For instance, development cases, the children of wealthy, major donors to a school, are indeed a subgroup in admissions. College admissions officers at Ivy League colleges do refer to students as development cases or “DevA” for short. “Ed Level 1″ is also a moniker for students of parents who did not attend college. These types of students are the kinds of students highly selective college admissions officers seek out.

Alright, but that’s enough agreeing. Time for some disagreements with Deresiewicz’s piece. He writes, “‘Super People,’ the writer James Atlas has called themthe stereotypical ultra-high-achieving elite college students of today. A double major, a sport, a musical instrument, a couple of foreign languages, service work in distant corners of the globe, a few hobbies thrown in for good measure: They have mastered them all, and with a serene self-assurance that leaves adults and peers alike in awe. A friend who teaches at a top university once asked her class to memorize 30 lines of the eighteenth-century poet Alexander Pope. Nearly every single kid got every single line correct. It was a thing of wonder, she said, like watching thoroughbreds circle a track. These enviable youngsters appear to be the winners in the race we have made of childhood.”

While Mr. Deresiewicz may have gotten to observe a sampling of the admissions process at an Ivy League college, he clearly didn’t fully understand the process if he believed highly selective colleges are seeking out students who play a musical instrument, do service work in distant corners of the globe, participate in a few hobbies for good measure, etc. What Deresiewicz is describing is a well-rounded student — the complete opposite of what Ivy League college admissions officers seek out these days. They want the angular student — the student who excels in one area. Not the student who is mediocre in three. Deresiewicz also questions why it’s great that students do service work in far off parts of the globe when they could do such service work right here in America? He’s right. But college admissions officers at highly selective colleges feel that way too. To argue that admissions officers are impressed by students who complete service work in far off countries is grossly inaccurate. What such service work conveys is that mommy and daddy have money to send their kid to far off parts of the world. And it conveys that they’re trying to impress admissions officers. But it’s not the case and if Deresiewicz had paid closer attention to the inner workings of the admissions process, he’d have realized this.

Categories: Ivy League Tags: , , , ,

Article on the Ivy League

July 26, 2014
Ivy League Article, Article on Ivies, Article on Ivy League

Students who attend Ivy League colleges don’t all lose their love for learning. That’s preposterous.

A number of folks have written us asking us to comment on the piece in “The New Republic” written by William Deresiewicz entitled “Don’t Send Your Kid to the Ivy League.” In the piece, we found much of what Deresiewicz writes to be completely true. We also found much of what he writes to be completely off base and his conclusion — as well as attention-grabbing headline — to be fairly unrelated to his arguments. Deresiewicz essentially argues that students who often go to the Ivy League, while clearly bright and high achieving, end up becoming stressed during college. Their college experience becomes more about networking and pretending you’ve read certain books than learning and actually reading books all the way through. He thinks this leads to depression in a number of students and he essentially blames the Ivy League for putting all of this pressure on students.

Writes Deresiewicz, “So extreme are the admission standards now that kids who manage to get into elite colleges have, by definition, never experienced anything but success. The prospect of not being successful terrifies them, disorients them. The cost of falling short, even temporarily, becomes not merely practical, but existential. The result is a violent aversion to risk. You have no margin for error, so you avoid the possibility that you will ever make an error. Once, a student at Pomona told me that she’d love to have a chance to think about the things she’s studying, only she doesn’t have the time. I asked her if she had ever considered not trying to get an A in every class. She looked at me as if I had made an indecent suggestion.”

How is getting stressed exclusive to the Ivy League? That’s what we’re wondering. Deresiewicz also makes the point that Ivy Leaguers are essentially funneled into a select few set of career paths. How come some of the greatest entrepreneurs come out of the Ivy League then? That’s what we’re wondering. Entrepreneurs take risks. They carve their own paths. We’ve featured a number of highly successful Ivy League entrepreneurs over the years on our blog.

Anyhow, we have more to say on this piece in “The New Republic” so check back tomorrow for additional analysis. But the argument that Ivy Leaguers are more stressed and become less interested in learning for learning’s sake for attending an Ivy League institution…sorry. We’re just not buying that. Students at the University of Miami are more interested in learning than at Penn? Uh huh.

Categories: Ivy League Tags: , , , ,

Common Application Sessions

July 25, 2014
Common App Session, Common App Sessions, Session on the Common Application

The Ivy Coach offers students the opportunity to complete their entire Common App. in two days. Interested? Sign up today.

Interested in tackling your entire Common Application in one weekend? We at The Ivy Coach can help make that happen. This includes reviewing what you put in every field of the Common Application and helping you brainstorm and edit your Personal Statement, the main college admissions essay. We do not conduct these sessions in person because doing so is a waste of time. You don’t need to see our faces in person when you can see them over the computer. We’d rather you write on your own. You don’t need us next to you to write an essay just as we don’t need you next to us as we edit your essay to make it stronger, to make it powerful, to help you sway admissions officers to want to root for you in the highly selective college admissions process.

We begin our session by reading you Personal Statements that have worked for our students in the past. Maybe we’ll read you the rubberband essay that led a highly selective college admissions office to send a whole bunch rubberbands in an envelope to our student to go along with her offer of admission. Because that’s how much they were moved by her rubberband essay. Or maybe we’ll read you an essay that led the Stanford Dean of Admissions to pull our student aside — along with the entire admissions staff — and tell him that his was the most powerful essay that he’s ever read in his many years in highly selective college admissions. That sure made our day! Or maybe we’ll read you an essay that led a college president to personally call a student and offer her a slot in the incoming class. We have to say…that was something we had never before experienced.

Once we settle on a topic, you write the first draft and then we go back and forth with revisions until The Ivy Coach deems the essay in outstanding shape for submission. It’s a simple process. It’s an effective process, one we’ve used for many years. If you’re interested in signing up for our 2-day Common Application sessions, write us today by filling out a free consultation form. Indicate on the form that you’re interested in completing one of these sessions and we’ll schedule a time with you at your convenience.

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

Need Blind Admissions Is a Lie

July 24, 2014
Need Blind Admission, Admission Need Blind, Need Blind College Admission

We’re ready to take the flack from our friends in admissions offices on our stance on need blind admissions. Bring it. We know we’re right. And, deep down, so do you.

Our Founder, Bev Taylor, has an article up today on “The Huffington Post” entitled “Need Blind Admissions Is a Lie.” It sure is. We figured we’d share this piece with our loyal readers so that they can gain a better understanding of why they shouldn’t buy the notion that colleges don’t consider your ability to pay when choosing who to admit and who to deny. Because they sure do no matter what they may tell you, no matter what you may read, no matter who says what Bev wrote is wrong. It’s not wrong.

If you don’t feel like reading the whole piece but want a key takeaway, ask yourself this: Can college admissions officers see if a student needs aid when evaluating an application? The answer to that is yes. By this answer alone, this means that colleges are not “need blind” even if they insist otherwise. If they’re blind, it shouldn’t be on the Common Application! The Common App. literally asks students if they need financial aid. The Common App. also asks if you need a fee waiver for the application. Those who need a fee waiver usually need financial aid. It’s not exactly detective work here.

Do you believe that need blind admission is for real? Do you believe it’s a lie? Did Bev’s article sway you one way or the other on the subject? We’re curious to hear your thoughts and analysis. So be sure to post a Comment below on the topic of need blind admissions at highly selective colleges across America. We’re looking forward to hearing from you!

Categories: College Admissions Tags: , , , ,

Cornell Supplemental Essays

July 23, 2014
Cornell Essays, Admissions Essays for Cornell, Cornell University Admissions

We have the supplemental college admissions essay prompts for Cornell applicants.

Interested in applying to Cornell? The Cornell supplemental essays have been released for the 2014-2015 college admissions cycle and we’ve got them for our readers. For students applying to the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, the essay prompt reads: “How have your interests and related experiences influenced the major you have selected in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences?” For students applying to the College of Architecture, Art, and Planning, the prompt reads: “Why are you excited to pursue your chosen major in AAP? What specifically about AAP and Cornell University will help you fulfill your academic and creative interests and long-term goals?” You best be specific! Don’t just write about the great food options at Cornell! This is true of all Cornell supplemental essay responses.

For applicants to Cornell’s College of Arts and Sciences, the prompt reads: “Describe two or three of your current intellectual interests and why they are exciting to you. Why will Cornell’s College of Arts and Sciences be the right environment in which to pursue your interests?” Don’t just list those academic interests of yours. Be creative! We help our students do just that at The Ivy Coach. For those applying to the College of Engineering, the essay prompt reads: “Tell us about an engineering idea you have, or about your interest in engineering. Describe how your ideas and interests may be realized by—and linked to—specific resources within the College of Engineering. Finally, explain what a Cornell Engineering education will enable you to accomplish.”

For those seeking admission to the School of Hotel Administration (Cornell has the very best), the essay question reads: “Hospitality is the largest industry in the world and includes sectors such as hotel operations, food and beverage management, real estate, finance, marketing, and law. Considering the breadth of our industry, please describe what work and non-work experiences, academic interests, and career goals influenced your decision to study hospitality management? How will these contribute to your success at the School of Hotel Administration?” For the College of Human Ecology, the question reads: “What do you value about the College of Human Ecology’s perspective, and the majors that interest you, as you consider your academic goals and plans for the future?”

And, finally, for the School of Industrial and Labor Relations, here’s the essay prompt: “Tell us about your intellectual interests, how they sprung from your course, service, work or life experiences, and what makes them exciting to you. Describe how these interests may be realized and linked to the ILR curriculum.” All supplemental essay answers for Cornell should be between 250 and 650 words. So, to the readers of our college admissions blog, what does that mean? It means that you should be writing 650 words! Not 250. Oy. Don’t be lazy with your college essays. That’s the worst.

Categories: College Essays, Ivy League Tags: , , , ,

Bryn Mawr Admissions

July 22, 2014
Bryn Mawr Admission, Admission to Bryn Mawr, Bryn Mawr College

Bryn Mawr has gone test optional.

Bryn Mawr Admissions has gone test optional. Beginning for this coming admissions cycle, applicants to Bryn Mawr will have the option of submitting SAT or ACT results. Previously, Bryn Mawr required all applicants to submit either SAT or ACT results. Bryn Mawr now joins the ranks of other highly selective colleges such as Bowdoin College, Bates College, Wesleyan University, and Smith College. Of course, the list of test optional colleges is a longer one and these are just a sample few.

According to an article on Bryn Mawr going test optional in “Bryn Mawr News,” “‘We have always conducted a holistic review of a student’s application and that will continue,’ says Bryn Mawr Director of Admissions Peaches Valdes ’99. ‘This new policy will make our pool of applicants even stronger as a wider range of academically talented students will be able to consider Bryn Mawr.’” The pieces goes on to say, “Bryn Mawr has had a ‘test flexible’ policy since 2009. Under that policy, students had a variety of options regarding what combination of standardized test scores they chose to submit. Under the new policy, students will still have the option of submitting test scores. ‘Our goal is to get the most accurate sense as to whether a student will thrive here at Bryn Mawr. We encourage applicants to send us the information that will best inform that decision,’ says Valdes.”

What do you think of Bryn Mawr going test optional? Do you think other small liberal arts colleges will follow suit? Do you think any of the Ivies will ever go test optional? Let us know your thoughts on test optional colleges by posting a Comment below. We’re looking forward to hearing from you!

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

Be Interesting in Ivy League Admissions

July 21, 2014
Interesting and Ivy League, Being Interesting in Ivy Admissions, Ivy Admission and Personality

Be interesting in Ivy League admissions. And in life. A great piece in “The Atlantic” points this out.

There is a terrific piece in “The Atlantic” written by David A. Graham entitled “How to Get Into Harvard” that is worthy of sharing. In the piece, Graham cites Harvard’s president, Drew Gilpin Faust, who states, “‘We could fill our class twice over with valedictorians’…That means admissions officers rely on intangibles like interesting essays or particularly unusual recommendations to decide who comprises the 5.9 percent of applicants who get in.” So what does the Harvard president recommend to high schoolers and their parents? He splendidly captures it all in a line: “Make your children interesting!” So. Very. True.

The fact is that the vast majority of students who come to us just don’t seem very interesting at all. Perfect grades and perfect ACT or SAT scores do not an interesting person make. Sorry. You’re still boring with that 2,400 SAT score. You’re probably even more boring than the student who scored a 2,250. It’s often the case! Test scores and grades, in our many years of experience in the highly selective college admissions business, do not in any way correlate with “interestingness.” We help our students become interesting. It’s a big part of what helps them gain admission to the colleges of their dreams…like Harvard.

Graham writes in his piece, “But the good news is that when colleges use this set of criteria, kids can focus on shaping their teenage years in a way that isn’t just about trying to build up resume line after resume line, and instead focus on a more holistic sense of self. That seems like a far more sensible way to move through high school than spreading oneself too thin trying to get a slew of positions one can’t really ever concentrate on. That encourages a dilettantish approach to learning and society that is just the opposite of what the liberal arts have traditionally tried to encourage.” We could not agree more.

Do you want us to help make your child interesting? We help students become interesting all the time. And guess what? Not only does it help them gain admission to highly selective colleges, but they learn a valuable life skill…how to be interesting going forward. Who wants to hire a job candidate who isn’t interesting? Who wants to date someone who isn’t interesting? No matter their grades and test scores. Develop a personality! It will serve you well in college admissions. And in life!

Categories: Ivy League Tags: , , , ,