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Ivy League Admission
The Ivy Coach College Admissions Blog

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: , , , ,

Value of Ivy League Degree

July 20, 2014
Ivy League Value, Value of the Ivies, Ivy League and Value

The earning potential for Ivy League grads is higher than for non-Ivy League grads of liberal arts colleges.

Curious about the value of an Ivy League degree? There is an article up today on “The Huffington Post” written by Tyler Kingkade entitled “What Everyone Gets Wrong About Where You Go To College” that we figured we’d share with our readers. Just from the title of the piece itself, we had a feeling there would be things we’d disagree with in Mr. Kingkade’s piece but that doesn’t mean we won’t share it anyway! After all, one of the purposes of our college admissions blog is to debunk myths about the highly selective college admissions process and correct common misconceptions. And herein is a misconception.

In his piece, Mr. Kingkade writes under a headline that reads “Where You Go To School Doesn’t Really Affect Your Income” (wrong!), “Economists Alan Krueger and Stacy Berg Dale concluded in 1999 that students accepted into elite colleges, but chose ‘moderately selective’ schools, were doing just as well in income roughly 20 years after graduating. As Time magazine notes, Krueger and Dale did a follow up in 2011 that found the same, so really it doesn’t matter whether you went to the University of Penn or Penn State University.” So it really doesn’t matter whether you went to Penn or Penn State? That’s quite the leap of logic from this finding! We understand that Mr. Kingkade is trying to grab the reader’s attention but attending Penn or Penn State is not the same. It’s not the same kind of education. It’s not the same kind of students you spend time with over the course of four years. Graduating students don’t have the same career prospects. They just don’t. Let’s say you want to be a consultant for McKinsey, one of the world’s top consulting firms. You are not getting an interview — much less a job — coming out of Penn State. They hire almost exclusively from the Ivy League or schools such as Stanford, MIT, and Duke.

And as for earning potential, the lowest median starting salary for one of the eight Ivy League institutions ranges from Brown’s $49,400 to Penn’s $59,600. How do these figures compare to non-Ivy League colleges? It’s about 32% higher than for non-Ivy, liberal arts colleges. There’s an old Mark Twain saying about “lies, damned lies, and statistics.” Just because Mr. Kingkade can cite one study doesn’t mean he should ignore other pertinent data.

Categories: Ivy League Tags: , , , ,

Chinese Applying to the Ivies

July 19, 2014
Ivy League and China, Chinese Applying to Ivies, Ivy League and Chinese Applicants

Avoid Chinese admissions agents and “consultants.” They’re super confused about the Ivy League admissions process. And, at times, unethical.

The Ivy Coach’s Ivy League admissions statistics were cited in an article of “China News” that we’d like to offer a little commentary on. In the piece entitled “Chinese face tougher hurdles for Ivy League schools,” there are a few misconceptions. Let’s start with the headline. The Chinese aren’t facing tougher hurdles for Ivy League admissions. It’s been tough for several years. Just because an admission rate at an Ivy League school drops by a point (from, say, 9% to 8%), that doesn’t mean it was tougher to get in this year as compared to last year. Just because more students apply, that doesn’t make a school more difficult to get into. Highly selective colleges actively encourage all students to apply — including unqualified students. That means that a student who barely spelled his name correctly on the SAT may well get brochures from Harvard, Yale, and Princeton. Is it wrong? Yes. Is it misleading? Yes. But all colleges do it and it is what it is!

Just because you get a brochure from a highly selective college, that doesn’t mean that college might actually admit you. It is an indication of absolutely nothing other than the school’s desire to get you to apply to boost their number of applications, lower their admission rate, and, in turn, improve their all-important “US News & World Report” ranking. The sooner you accept this, the better. In this way, you won’t get your hopes up. You won’t have unreasonable expectations, and you won’t get upset when Harvard denies you admission with your ‘C’ average and subpar SAT score.

And as for the vast majority of Chinese “admissions consultants,” choose wisely. We work with students all the time. You don’t need to work with a Chinese “admissions agent” just because they’re in China. The Ivy Coach is in China, too! In this particular piece, a Chinese “consultant” states: “We’ve found that students should score higher than 110 (out of 120) on the TOEFL and 2,200 (out of 2,400) in the SAT to secure their admission to prestigious American universities. But in previous years, more than 105 in TOEFL and more than 2,100 on the SAT was adequate,’ he said.” Wrong! No scores will “secure” you admission. Not perfect grades and scores. Nothing will “secure” you admission. If someone tells you they can secure you admission, run for the hills!

Also, what this Chinese news report doesn’t say is that the Chinese Department of Education has a hand in sending students to the United States because there aren’t enough seats at the few top Chinese universities. That’s why the Minister of Education invited The Ivy Coach to speak in Nanjing and Beijing.

In China seeking to gain admission to an Ivy League college? Contact The Ivy Coach today to get started!

Categories: China University Admission, Ivy League Tags: , , , ,

University of Virginia 2015 Essays

July 18, 2014
UVA Admissions Essays, 2015 UVA Admission Essays, Essay Prompts for UVA

We’ve got the 2015 UVA essay prompts for our readers.

The University of Virginia 2015 essays are out and we’ve got these prompts for our loyal readers. These supplemental essay questions are required of all UVA applicants so here goes:

“1. We are looking for passionate students to join our diverse community of scholars, researchers, and artists.  Answer the question that corresponds to the school/program to which you are applying in a half page or roughly 250 words.

  • College of Arts and Sciences - What work of art, music, science, mathematics, or literature has surprised, unsettled, or challenged you, and in what way?
  • School of Engineering and Applied Sciences - U.Va. engineers are working to solve problems that affect people around the world, from our long-term water purification project in South Africa to continuing to research more efficient applications of solar power. However, most students start small, by using engineering to make a difference in daily life. If you were given funding for a small engineering project that would make your everyday life better, what would you do?
  • School of Architecture - Describe an instance or place where you have been inspired by architecture or design.
  • School of Nursing - Discuss experiences that led you to choose the School of Nursing.
  • Kinesiology Program - Discuss experiences that led you to choose the kinesiology major.”

And the second UVA supplemental essay prompt reads:

“2. Answer one of the following questions in a half page or roughly 250 words.

  • What’s your favorite word and why?
  • We are a community with quirks, both in language (we’ll welcome you to Grounds, not campus) and in traditions. Describe one of your quirks and why it is part of who you are.
  • Student self-governance, which encourages student investment and initiative, is a hallmark of the U.Va. culture. In her fourth year at U.Va., Laura Nelson was inspired to create Flash Seminars, one-time classes which facilitate high-energy discussion about thought-provoking topics outside of traditional coursework. If you created a Flash Seminar, what idea would you explore and why?
  • While a student at U.Va., Fulbright Scholar Rowan Sprague conducted groundbreaking research aimed at protecting the complex structure of honeybee hives. We know that colonies include bees acting in a diverse range of roles, all equally important to the success of the hive. What role will you play in the U.Va. hive?
  • To tweet or not to tweet?”

UVA goes on to note that they aren’t counting words on the essays. We always advise our students to go up to the maximum word count. If the essay is 500 words, write 500. Not 550. If the essay is 250 words, write 250 words rather than 125. Get the idea? It’s fairly straightforward! Have a question about the UVA supplemental essay questions? Ask away by posting a Comment below. We look forward to hearing from you.

And, while you’re here, check out last year’s UVA essay prompts.

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

Michigan 2015 Supplemental Essay Questions

July 17, 2014
UMich Essay Prompts, UMichigan Admissions Essays, Michigan Admission Essays

We’ve got the University of Michigan’s supplemental essay prompts for 2015 for our readers.

The Michigan 2015 supplemental essay questions have been released and we’ve got them for our readers. The first supplemental essay prompt, which is required of all applicants, reads: “Everyone belongs to many different communities and/or groups defined by (among other things) shared geography, religion, ethnicity, income, cuisine, interest, race, ideology, or intellectual heritage. Choose one of the communities to which you belong, and describe that community and your place within it. This essay should be approximately 250 words. It’s the University of Michigan’s usual “communities” essay. No surprise there!

The second supplemental essay prompt for the University of Michigan, which is also required of all applicants, reads: “Describe the unique qualities that attract you to the specific undergraduate College or School (including preferred admission and dual degree programs) to which you are applying at the University of Michigan. How would that curriculum support your interests?” This essay should be approximately 500 words. In this essay, the game is about specifics, specifics, specifics. You don’t want to go to the University of Michigan because you like Chris Webber, Juwan Howard, and Jalen Rose. You don’t want to go to Michigan because you want to be a Wolverine (at least in your admissions essays). You need to cite specifics that show that you’ve really done your homework on the academics that Michigan has to offer its students.

Have a question on Michigan’s communities essay or the why you want to go to Michigan essay? Let us know your questions by posting a Comment below and we’ll be sure to answer them. We look forward to hearing from you!

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

Dartmouth Supplemental Essay

July 16, 2014
Dartmouth Essay, Admissions Essay for Dartmouth, Dartmouth College Essay

Applicants to Dartmouth will be required to complete a supplemental essay this coming admissions cycle (photo credit: Gavin Huang).

For Dartmouth applicants applying this coming year, you will be required to complete one supplemental essay. This was the case last year as well. Last year marked the first time that Dartmouth required a supplemental essay (in addition to the peer review, which is unique to Dartmouth). Applications to Dartmouth did drop last year and the fact that the school required a supplemental essay may have been to blame. But Dartmouth also experienced its highest yield rate in the school’s long history last year (54.5%) so requiring a supplemental essay may disincline a few students from applying, but would these students have attended anyway? Kudos to Dartmouth for choosing to continue to mandate that applicants complete a supplemental essay.

According to an article in “The Dartmouth” entitled “Potential 19′s to use a supplement essay,” “Last year’s supplement posed only one additional question about a meaningful out-of-classroom activity, but this year’s supplement will have five options for responses. One prompt asks candidates to explain the story and meaning behind their name, and another asks about the influence a hero has had on the applicant’s life. Dean of admissions and financial aid Maria Laskaris said her office made the addition of a required essay last year because of the Common Application’s elimination of the short activity essay, which asked students to briefly elaborate on an extracurricular or work experience. When formulating this year’s application, Laskaris said admissions officers could not decide on just one topic and allowed for a choice. ‘We brainstormed a variety of different questions that might get at some of those intangible qualities we are seeking,’ she said.”

Each of the Ivy League colleges offers at least one supplemental essay and for each of the Ivies except for Harvard, this supplemental essay is required of applicants. As for applicants who believe an optional essay is optional, well, you don’t read our college admissions blog much…do you?

Have a question about admission to Dartmouth College? Let us know your questions by posting a Comment below! Looking forward to hearing from you.

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

Penn 2015 Supplemental Essays

July 15, 2014
Penn Supplemental Essay, 2015 Penn Supplement, Penn Application

Don’t write about Ben Franklin in your Why Penn essay. You don’t want to go to Penn because of Ben Franklin and you’re not fooling anybody.

The Penn 2015 supplemental essays are out and we’ve got them for our readers. In addition to the Common Application Personal Statement, the University of Pennsylvania – like all Ivy League schools offers at least one supplemental essay (which is required at each Ivy except Harvard) — requires students to complete an answer to this question: “The Admissions Committee would like to learn why you are a good fit for your undergraduate school choice (College of Arts and Sciences, School of Nursing, The Wharton School, or Penn Engineering). Please tell us about specific academic, service, and/or research opportunities at the University of Pennsylvania that resonate with your background, interests, and goals.”  The essay length is between 400 and 650 words.

And if a student is applying to a coordinated dual degree or specialized program, there are additional supplemental essays. For instance, for students seeking admission to The Huntsman Program in International Studies and Business, the essay prompts reads: “1. In light of your personal interests in language, business, and international affairs, please discuss a current global issue and explain how the Huntsman Program would allow you to explore it in greater depth (500-750 words); 2. Please indicate how many years and how extensively you have studied the language you selected for the Huntsman Program.”

What do you think of Penn’s supplement? In the game of the Why College essay — and that’s precisely what this essay prompt is, the game is about specifics, specifics, and more specifics. Do your research on Penn. Do your research on the programs and course of study that interests you. If you convey that you want to go to the University of Pennsylvania because you’re a big Ben Franklin fan, you’re likely not getting in.

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