Ask an Ivy League Mom

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Ask an Ivy League Mom

Dear ILM,

Will an SAT score of 1560 out of 1600 and a 4.0 Grade Point Average and excellent extracurriculars (tennis and president of the finance club) get me into an Ivy League university?


There are no guarantees that a great SAT score and perfect grades will get you into the Ivy League.  The schools reject plenty of students with flawless scores and grades; there are just too many applicants to allow everyone in.  It’s all based on what your college is looking for that year.  If you are great at tennis, and they happened to need a tennis player that year, that might help your application.  If they need someone who is really interested in finance and have done unique things to demonstrate that interest and you fit the bill, that might help your application.  You cannot predict your acceptance based on grades alone, because the colleges get a ton of students with perfect grades, most of whom they must reject.  If your family can afford it, we suggest that you hire a college coach early to determine what you need to concentrate on to make your application stand out.   One college coach we spoke to said to apply to the less competitive majors, such as art or labor relations instead of finance, then transfer later on if the school will allow. We suggest that you look into yourself and ask what are you passionate about that can help make the world a better place, and start something that would help your community.  Something unique, something that few have done before.  Perhaps help low-income kids learn tennis, or start a website to help people learn finance. 

Some suggestions:

  1. Apply early decision to your top choice school.  There is less competition for early decision, and colleges will more likely to accept you to increase their yield of acceptances.  Be aware, however, that you are committed to that school and agree to attend regardless of the financial aid package.  Therefore, be sure you have plenty of money in your college fund or be prepared to borrow. 
  2. Concentrate on your essay.  Top colleges will be reviewing your essay very carefully, so make sure you write a great essay that shows what you are all about.
  3. Work on your community service.  Do as much good for society as possible and put it on your application.  Build websites for churches and charities. Volunteer.  Raise money for the local food bank.  Ask not what a school can do for you but what you can do for the school and society!

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