college high school

How to Get Into Stuyvesant High School

Mom Who Attended Stuyvesant Shares How Her Kid Also Passed the SHSAT:

Stuyvesant High School is a top feeder school to Harvard. In fact, according to The Harvard Crimson, one out of every twenty Harvard freshmen attended one of the following seven high schools most represented in the class of 2017: Boston Latin, Phillips Academy in Andover, Stuyvesant High School, Noble and Greenough School, Phillips Exeter Academy, Trinity School in New York City, and Lexington High School. If you are thinking of attending Stuyvesant High School, you probably live in or are thinking of moving to New York City. The two schools that are Harvard feeder schools that are located in New York are Trinity School and Stuyvesant. Trinity costs around $60,000 per year and Stuyvesant is free. Yes, Trinity is wonderful if you can afford it, but there is something to be said for a free education. Plus, Stuyvesant is an entire building of top-notch learning: an entire floor dedicated to math, another floor dedicated to biology, and an Olympic-sized pool.

Stuyvesant High School made public the students from 2016-2019 of the number of kids who attended the Ivy+ schools (Ivies, UChicago, Stanford, MIT) for 2016 to 2019:

Cornell – 193
UChicago – 100
MIT – 42
Harvard – 41
Yale – 35
Princeton – 34
Columbia – 16
Penn between 15 to 23
Brown between 9 to 21
Dartmouth between 8 to 16
Stanford  between 3 to 15

Total 496 to 536 for four years

That’s 124 to 134 per year 

About 842 seniors in Class of 2019

So 14.7% to 15.9% each year to Ivy+ (source

However, the numbers above are pretty darn good for a free public school education! 

Now compare Phillips Academy in Andover (2017 to 2020)…

UChicago – 55

Harvard – 48

Yale – 43

Cornell – 36

Penn – 34

Columbia – 32

MIT – 30 

Brown – 29

Stanford – 27

Princeton – 26

Dartmouth – 19

Total 379 for four years

That’s about 94.75 per year

About 294 seniors in Class of 2020

So about 32.2% each year go to Ivy+(source

I am especially qualified to teach you how to get into Stuyvesant because not only did I graduate from Stuy, my child also scored high enough on the Specialized High School Admissions Test (SHSAT) to get in there. To attend Stuyvesant and other specialized high schools in New York City, you have to pass the SHSAT. If you are a parent who has dreams of your child attending Stuyvesant someday, then start with workbooks that you can order from Amazon for math and English. Teach your child to read by age 3 with Hooked on Phonics. Yes, three-year-olds can learn to read if you just sit there with them and teach them.

Also, Sudoku puzzles are excellent for training the brain. At least two years before the test, send your child to group tutoring classes such as Kaplan, and if economically feasible, hire private tutors. However, if money is an issue, then just order some SHSAT workbooks and have your child do the problems in the book. Active learning (doing problems and looking up the answers) is key. There are also Official SHSAT Handbooks with the real tests, which you can also have your child practice as if she were taking the actual exam. The goal is to have thousands of questions answered under your belt so the answers pop out at you during the test. Yes, your brain works in mysterious ways when you train it right.

Also, visit Stuyvesant and have your child see what is possible.  Let your child imagine swimming in the beautiful Olympic pool.  Manifest your destiny, work hard, and you will attend the school of your choice.

Since Stuyvesant has the highest cut-off score of all the specialized high schools, consider Staten Island Technical High School, Bronx High School of Sciences or Brooklyn Technical High School. The aforementioned schools are also top schools in boroughs other than Manhattan, and although not necessarily feeder schools to the Ivy League, send plenty of students to the Ivies. Rest assured that your child will get a great education for the bargain price of free. This allows you to save money for other things, such as tutoring, summer programs, extra-curricular activities, college tuition, etc.

When I studied for the SHSAT many decades ago, I did not use a tutor. However, nowadays, almost everyone hires tutors, so you don't want to miss out. I found Kenny Tan on Wyzant, and contacted him immediately. Kenny tutored my daughter for the SHSAT and as a result, she scored high enough on the SHSAT to gain admission to Stuyvesant High School. My daughter became so good at math that she started to tutor students younger than her for one of her extra-curricular activities. She also achieved an almost perfect score on the SAT. I am happy to report that my kid was accepted into an Ivy League university recently.

I had the opportunity to speak to Kenny Tan recently and asked him what made his method so effective?

I am different from many tutors because I encourage students to use answer explanations to study their mistakes before each lesson. During the lesson, I check for complete understanding by asking students to explain why the answer choice they chose was incorrect and why a different answer choice was actually the correct answer. I then bridge any gaps in understanding that we identify. I believe that students haven't mastered a concept unless they can teach it correctly themselves. Students who self-prep or enroll in a group class are rarely given such a challenge. Therefore, the real value of a tutor is in ensuring students have correctly understood each concept before moving on to the next one.

Kenny Tan, tutor

Some of my favorite tips from Kenny about how to do well on the SHSAT:

  1. Use High Quality Material-- You can find all authentic SHSAT tests here. See the latest SHSAT test below, but be sure to save it for testing under real simulation: timed, in a classroom setting, after your student has sufficiently prepared.

2. Be Relentless in Learning from Your Mistakes. Yes, I agree with Kenny, and mistakes are necessary for you to learn. It was helpful to have Kenny explain what my daughter did wrong in a tutoring session and for her to learn from her mistakes.

Anyone interested in tutoring can schedule a consultation with Kenny Tan using this link.

Also, check out Kenny's website which contains a wealth of information on the SHSAT.

Kenny Tan, Tutor

What if your child does not score high enough to get into any of the specialized high schools? Consider moving to Great Neck, NY, with the #2 top school district in New York. Students in Great Neck South High School receive a stellar education and get admitted to Ivy League universities. Here is a renovated 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom apartment for sale in the Great Neck South school district. See it before it gets sold!

Would you like more information about how to get into Stuyvesant High School? Subscribe to the Ivy League Mom newsletter for top tips:

*How to score high enough on the SHSAT to get into Stuyvesant High School, Staten Island Technical High School, Brooklyn Technical High School and the Bronx High School of Science.

*Which school should you select on the SHSAT form for the best chance of getting into a specialized high school?

*Is Stuyvesant High School always the best option?

*The best way to prep for the SHSAT.

*Questions and answers for top scores.

For all of the above and more, subscribe to the newsletter below.

How to Get Your MRS Degree in College

Vanessa*, a student who intends to get her MRS degree in college, i.e. find a husband, applied early decision to Cornell because she did not want to compete with the other young ladies in big cities like New York City (Columbia) and Boston (Harvard, MIT). She did not like New Haven (Yale) and Philadelphia (University of Pennsylvania). According to Vanessa, Cornell is in Upstate New York, in its own little idyllic college town with few outsiders from the city. Vanessa might be on to something there, because Cornell is the only Ivy listed by College Magazine’s list of Top 10 Schools to Find a Husband.

Ranked on the ubiquitous “Most Right Swiped Campuses 2015” list by Tinder itself, it is scientifically proven (well, sort of) that Cornell guys are hot, successful and husband material. What other pre-reqs do you need to get your MRS degree? After all, students make nearly $60,000 on average right out of college. Having vibrant seasons and snowy winters, this Ivy League sets the scene to fall in love.

Top 10 Schools to Find a Husband, College Magazine

What is this Most Right Swiped Campuses rank by Tinder? Do college students need to use Tinder? Aren’t they just naturally in an environment where everyone is single and probably interested in the same things? According to Is There Still Sex and the City? By Candace Bushnell, no one talks to women at bars anymore. Perhaps being on Tinder allows someone to know that you are available. If you are a college student who uses Tinder, Bumble, and other apps and dating sites to meet guys, please post in the comments below.

Of course, we needed to check out aforementioned Most Right Swiped lists. Although the men in Ivies such as Dartmouth, Brown and Yale, in addition to Cornell, were on the list of most right swiped, none of the ladies of the Ivy League were on these lists. What does this mean? Men in Ivies use Tinder more often? Women at Ivies are not as right-swiped? Is Tinder still for hook ups, and if so, should you use it to attempt to get your MRS degree? Please post feedback below.

Please enjoy this hilarious video about getting the MRS at Columbia Business School:


Some tips on meeting Mr. Right in college:

1. Look your best. Do not mope around campus in baggy sweats. Get in shape, wear shapely Luluemons and other cool athleisure around campus, other other nice casual outfits.

Photo by Pavel Danilyuk on
Get the Beachbody On Demand 12 Month Plan for $99!

2. Respect yourself and do not hook up. Your body is your temple. Men want classy wives. Do not use Tinder; it sends the wrong message. Use Instagram and Snapchat instead. Post cute photos of yourself baking and summering. Yes, summer is a verb! Practice for future networking and use LinkedIn also. Come to think of it, LinkedIn is great for getting to know all your fellow alumni, so set up a LinkedIn profile ASAP. If you still wish to use Tinder, check out this Netflix documentary about the Tinder Swindler, a fake billionaire who scammed women out of hundreds of thousands of dollars:

Tinder Swindler: a Cautionary Tale

3. Join clubs where the men are. While in college, you have access to all sorts of clubs and activities.

4. Make lots of friends and be social. Most of life is showing up. In fact, if you just relax and treat everyone as potential friends instead of maybe future husbands, you will make others more comfortable. See The Social Climber’s Bible: A Book of Manners, Practical Tips, and Spiritual Advice for the Upwardly Mobile— very good and interesting tips on how to win rich friends. According to the Social Climber’s Bible, “You are a special person who would be even more special if you have special friends.” Wink wink.

5. What if you did all of the above and you still have not met the one? Please be patient! Nowadays, people often meet their significant others online. Go on a site where like-minded people post their profiles. If you are seeking a serious relationship with compatibility, I recommend this site. One lady I know, a lawyer, met her husband online and had the cutest baby right after.

Notable people who got their MRS degree at Ivy League colleges:

  • Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg met her super supportive husband Marty at Cornell.
  • Supreme Court nominee Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson met husband Dr. Patrick Jackson at Harvard. They have two daughters.
  • Judith Kent met her husband Jamie Dimon, currently Chairman and CEO at JPMorgan Chase, at Harvard Business School. They have three grown children.

*all names have been changed to protect the not so innocent. This article will be updated continually so please check back.

Our Favorite Shirt in the Cornell Store

The RBG shirt with the dissent collar is the cutest item in the Cornell Store. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Cornell ‘54, met her husband, Marty, at Cornell. Marty was very supportive of RBG’s legal career. The dissent collar is what RBG wore whenever she disagreed with the majority. What a great way to show school pride, not to mention our love of RBG. The t-shirt is so soft and comfy too. Worth the steep price of $49.99, by Ivy Citizens.

RBG has our respect as the lady who managed to have it all. Not only did she manage to get her MRS at Cornell, a dream of many young ladies nowadays, she also had a brilliant legal career while being a mom.

Check out the dissent necklace below also:

Summer is a Verb: Reading and Viewing List

One reader who attended an Ivy League college but grew up not so affluently in Queens said that his classmates would ask him, “Where do you summer?” He joked, “Summer? Flushing Meadow Park?” Summer is a verb to some Ivy Leaguers. To prepare for the Ivy League, we suggest reading True Prep, to learn that summer is in fact a verb and other ways to talk the talk and walk the walk of Ivy Leaguers.

The Social Climber’s Bible: A Book of Manners, Practical Tips, and Spiritual Advice for the Upwardly Mobile– very good and interesting tips on how to win rich friends:

Born Rich Documentary: Highly entertaining video about rich kids, the type you might encounter in Ivy League schools (after viewing Born Rich, see where the rich kids are now):

The One Percent Documentary: by Jamie Johnson, Johnson & Johnson heir who made Born Rich, see above.

If you need VPN, click here for a great deal!

Where do you summer?

How to Become an Ivy League Mom

How do you become an Ivy League mom? I’m not trying to sound like a Tiger mom but I am sharing my story for any parent to be able to do the same: help your child to get into the best schools and get excellent test scores. My child was accepted into an Ivy League university. Before that, my kid scored high enough on the Specialized High School Achievement Test (SHSAT) to get into Stuyvesant High School and then got a near-perfect score on the SAT. Tutoring and hard work had a lot to do with it. The number one thing to remember is not to force your child to do anything. I was ecstatic when my daughter Angelica scored high enough on the state exam to be allowed to take the Hunter College High School exam. However, she did not want to go to that school, so she quit the tutoring that I sent her to. I did not force it, and was surprised when she wanted to take the exam anyway. She did not do well on the essay, because her heart was not in it. Then when it came time for the SHSAT for high school, my child was used to the format of the test, because most standardized tests are pretty much similar. What if you do not live in New York City? Consider moving to a neighborhood with excellent public schools. Great Neck South High School is one of the most highly rated schools in New York and they even have a golf team!

I am personally a proponent of public schools, because I was not born with a silver spoon in my mouth, and public schools are great if your child gets into the honors and specialized programs. I just watched a documentary on HBOMAX about Avenues, a private school that costs $40,000+ a year that is next to a housing project in Chelsea, and according to the Avenues website, only about 33 students out of 300 got into the Ivy League. I will have to do more analysis to see if it produces many more Ivy Leaguers than public high schools in New York. I did hear, however, that many of the prep schools in New York are feeder schools to the Ivy League and send about 30% of graduates to the Ivies each year. So, by that estimate, 30% of 300 should be 90 students, and compared to prep schools, Avenues is not getting as many of their students admitted to the Ivy League. This is only assuming that the end goal for sending a kid to a private school is to get the kid into an Ivy League college. Send your child to private schools if your budget allows for it, but I was saving my money for tutoring and college.

The following are some tips on how I was able to help my child score so well on exams thus allowing me to become an Ivy League Mom!

Visit colleges as soon as you can. I do not mean visits in senior year of high school. I mean when your kid is around eight years old, start exposing the child to what colleges he can aspire to. Go on vacation to Connecticut and visit Yale; Madison Beach Hotel is close by and very relaxing (you can stay there for free with your Hilton weekend certificates, otherwise the hotel is quite pricey). Right now, if you apply for the Hilton Amex card, you can get 60,000 bonus points and a free weekend night certificate. Go to Boston on vacation and visit Harvard and MIT. While visiting the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia, stop off at University of Pennsylvania. Show your kid what he can achieve with good grades. The Secret teaches us that we achieve what we set our minds to do. Therefore, we must show our kids what to focus on.

Pay for tutoring and start early, around the time of standardized tests for high school. In New York City, the big ones are the Hunter College High School Entrance Exam and the SHSAT. I brought my kid to Kaplan in Manhattan for SHSAT tutoring two years before the test. Then when the course was over, I paid for private tutoring by the teacher of the class. As a result of all the extra help in math, my daughter Angelica was able to well and is a math tutor for disadvantaged kids as an extracurricular activity. For the SAT, Angelica received tutoring in both English and math. She scored 1570 on her second try (the first try did not result in a high enough score). The need for tutoring has been confirmed by a Harvard dad: he and his son both attended Harvard, so he must know something we don’t. I asked him what was his secret. He said, “Spend the money on tutoring.” There you have it, ladies (and gentlemen, in case there are some dad readers snooping around here). Spend your money on tutoring.

What about college admissions consultants? If you can afford it, it will definitely take some stress off of the application process. The consultant will hold the college applicant’s hand throughout the process, with virtual consultations, essay writing help, advice on majors (the advice that was worth the money was to go for the less popular majors so there would be less competition), and generally being there during this stressful time. During the college application ordeal, it is very important to take care of yourself: exercise, eat right and get wellness treatments and massages.

For those parents with younger children:

As soon as you can, when your kid is around age three, get Hooked on Phonics and start teaching your kid to read. It does not take long. Just sit with your child a few minutes a day and soon he or she will be able to read. Yes, a three year old can read! When our three-year-old was sitting in the back of the car in her car seat and voiced the name of a restaurant, we could not believe it. After your kid starts to read, a whole new world will open up and your child will be years ahead of all the others.

Another thing to do as soon as possible is to order workbooks from Amazon. Reading, math, grammar, spelling, vocabulary (root words) for your child's grade and perhaps a few grades above that. You want to get a head start. Make it a game and give prizes and incentives for completing workbooks. Much cheaper than the thousands of dollars at Kumon and other learning centers. They sell Kumon workbooks on Amazon.

Kumon Workbooks

Train your kid’s brain with Sodoku puzzles. Get a baby Sodoku book on Amazon and start teaching your kid how to think logically. You are training the young brain for all the years of testing ahead, especially any tests with logic.

Of course, do not just focus on academics. Your child needs some fun. Put a tennis racquet or a golf club in your child's hand and a decade later, she can wind up captain of the tennis team.

You might say, so much money and work to do all of the above. But as parents, we must sacrifice for our kids. You can save money by buying workbooks on Amazon instead of sending the kids to Kumon. You can apply for credit cards and stay in hotels for free with the points and free night certificates. Our reward is the bragging rights when our kids achieve great things. Who knows? You can probably use your child's admission into the Ivy League for your own networking. After all, parents of Ivy League students and alum are allowed to join clubs in the city such as the Harvard Club, Yale Club, Cornell Club, etc. Also, some parents have been known to use their kids' school connections to help with their own businesses, such as a realtor who used her kids' private school parent list to sell real estate. There are no guarantees in life, but you reap what you sow.

college admissions consultant high school

The Dirty Little Secret Other Parents Don’t Want You to Know…Until it’s Too Late!

On a beautiful hot summer day at an Ivy League university, some parents of incoming freshmen are at a garden reception to welcome them and their students to the school. There are cheese and crackers, freshly baked cookies and lemonade, and the parents are catching their breath after moving their kids into their dorms.

The topic of conversation between the parents soon become how many schools the kids applied to and how they were accepted to this top Ivy League school. It turned out that both students took advantage of admissions consulting services.

The dirty little secret of Ivy League parents is that many of them use admissions consultants, but they won’t let you know until their kids are already attending the school of their choice. When their kids are applying, they will not likely let you know for fear of competition. It is after their kids are attending the schools that they start trading notes. Ivy week came and went, and there were many tears from parents and kids who didn’t get in. What went wrong? You didn’t know what you were doing!

I recently received this mailing from Solomon Admissions showing the 2020-2021 average acceptance rates of students to top schools with and without Solomon’s consulting:

As you can see from the above, there is definitely an advantage to hiring a consultant. A consultant will guide the student throughout the admissions process. The schools are looking for passion and the consultant can help find that passion and make the student’s application be the best it can be.

One parent we interviewed paid over $10,000 to Solomon for their services. Was he happy with the results? Well, his kid didn’t get into Harvard (the student didn’t apply). However, the student did get into one of the Ivy League universities listed in Solomon’s mailing. The parent’s only regret is that Solomon did not get involved sooner. If Solomon had started guiding the student during her freshman year in high school, she would not have wasted time on less important things like science Olympiad, which she was not passionate about, and instead focused on her passion, which was sports and fitness. But to tell you the truth, how can normal teenagers be expected to know what their passion is? It’s all a crapshoot anyway. The college consultant just makes your student sound better than the rest. And that is the dirty truth no one wants you to know until their kids get into the top schools.

high school

Why is Staten Island Technical High School Arguably the Best High School in NYC?

I admit, as a Stuyvesant High School alum, I was kind of disappointed when my daughter decided to check off Staten Island Technical High School as her number one choice before she took the SHSATs. You must pick one high school, and if you score high enough, that is the school you will attend, no changing of minds. I had worked so hard to try to get her ready for the SHSATs: three years before the test, I took her to Kaplan in Manhattan, and then every weekend, I hired a private tutor to hone her math and English skills. The tutoring was not for naught, because she was able to get straight As in class as well as score a near-perfect score on the SAT. I just kind of wished that she could have attended Stuy like I did. But– is Stuy really the best high school in NY? It is in Manhattan, and Manhattan is supposed to be the best, right? However, for kids who do not live in Manhattan, the commute is terrible. Why subject a young teen to four hours of commuting everyday?

Unfortunately, Stuyvesant is near the World Trade Center, which has been the target of at least three terrorist attacks. In 2017, someone even ran his car across the pedestrian walkway near Stuy, killing and injuring many. For this reason, Stuy will always be more dangerous than other high schools in the other boroughs. As for traffic, a Stuy kid can cross the pedestrian bridge to cross the West Side Highway to get to the high school. A kid from Brooklyn who takes the S79 bus to get to Staten Island Tech will need to cross Hylan Boulevard to go home.

Staten Island Tech has some excellent athletic facilities right on campus, including a football field, track, and tennis court. Being in Manhattan, Stuy’s space is more vertical, with many floors in the building, each dedicated to a specific topic like math and science. Of course, Stuy’s Olympic pool is very special and Tech does not have a pool.

The competition at Stuy is fierce; more so than at any other school. Seems like your kid will constantly be competing with others in the class. However, college admissions officers might be more inclined to accept a student from Stuy due to past acceptances. Staten Island is also competitive, but not as bad as Stuy. But isn’t the goal to aim high and see where you land? If your goal is Stuy, then go for it. After all, Stuy is a feeder school to Harvard. Stuyvesant probably gets more students than Staten Island Tech into the elite schools. However, the competition is stiff, and your kid would be way more stressed out all the time.

What if you are undecided and your goal is just to get into a specialized high school? Should you just pick the school you really want to attend? We asked Kenny Tan, an SHSAT tutor in New York City, and he replied:

Students are ranked according to their score on the test and assigned to a school depending on their rank, the priority in which they placed schools on their application, and the seats available at each school.

The cutoff score for a school changes from year to year depending on how the test takers perform that year. Students are ranked from highest to lowest score. The student with the highest score always gets their first choice. Then the next student gets their first choice and so on and so. If, by the time the system gets to you, your first choice school is full, then you’ll get your 2nd choice, unless that one is also full, then you’ll get your 3rd choice unless that one is also full, and so on and so on. The cutoff score for a school is whatever score the last student that gets admitted into that school scored.

Not all students who took the SHSAT will get an offer to a testing Specialized High School, and the Specialized High Schools do not have waitlists.

Kenny Tan, SHSAT Tutor

The moral of the story is that the SHSAT is like musical chairs, and if you do not choose your first choice wisely, you might not wind up with a seat!


Ivy League Golf Courses

As an avid observer of business networking dynamics and tools, I have been trying to get my child to take golf lessons. Unfortunately, opportunities did not present themselves and in NYC, the best option is the driving range at Chelsea Piers. Expensive and too much work to get to when you do not live in Manhattan. Also, can the driving range and video simulations actually teach a child to play golf better than playing on a real golf course? I think not.

Imagine my excitement when I learned that Cornell has its own on-campus golf course. This is where our future masters of the universe can start to learn to network. Take a look at Google Maps and you will see that it is indeed close enough for your child to go on a regular basis. The golf course is accessible by bus.

If you are a Cornell student, you can take advantage of this great opportunity to learn the skills you need to succeed in the workplace. According to this New York Post article, after college, it is way harder to learn how to golf.

Upon further investigation, it seems the Cornell golf course has not been kept up to par. It is a shame that this beautiful course cannot be as glorious as it once was. However, as of this writing, Cornell is proposing to make renovations at its Robert Trent Jones Golf Course: installation of new stormwater drainage lines would be installed, and replacement of some sand bunkers with turf.

Yale University has a beautiful golf course that is featured in many Golf magazines. So, if you are lucky enough to be a Yale student, be sure to take golf lessons soon.

Age 3-8

My Three-Year Old Learned to Read with Hooked on Phonics

We were stopped at a red light when my three-year old daughter said, “na-ka-ta”, reading the sign of a Japanese restaurant. I heard her and tears started to well in my eyes. For the past few months, I had been sitting with her at the kitchen table with the Hooked on Phonics book, teaching her phonics like cat, sat, nat.

Being an immigrant who did not learn English until age eight, I realized the importance of being able to read. I did not take it for granted or leave it up to the teachers. I wanted to show my daughter the possibilities after one learns to read.

Yes, a kid can start to read at age three. Why is this important? Your kid can get a head start on all the educational possibilities after learning to read. Your kid will always be above grade reading level, and be put in the better classes. This affects the education of your child more than you know. After teaching my child to read, I was able to make my child do workbooks for active learning. This allowed her to pass entrance exams to get into honors programs, top high schools and ace the SATs— and become an Ivy League university student.

I checked out the Hooked on Phonics website and they’ve provided a lot more material than was available to us 15 years ago, when I used the awesome tools for reading. I highly recommend that you check out some of the free samples and see what they can do to help your child learn to read.

college admissions consultant

Ask an Ivy League Mom

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!
money money saving hack

How to Afford a College Education

If you add a little to a little, and then do it again, soon that little shall be much.” —Hesoid

A very wise woman once told me that money provides freedom in life, and a college education is expensive at around $60,000 to $80,000 a year (with room and board) at the time of this writing in 2022.  If you are extremely rich, you don’t have to worry about this part.  However, for the rest of us, money for education is something we need to consider as soon as your kid is born.  There are groups on Facebook about paying for college for high income families.

You have 18 years to come up with the money: how will you spend these 18 years?  If you have a rich relative who is kind, perhaps you can get him or her to start a college fund for your child.  Even if your kid has a college fund, keep on adding to it every year, because you just never know if you will need more money. What if your kid wants to attend graduate school after college?  However, if the rich relative never appears, you need to start a college fund yourself as soon as possible.  A 529 account is a tax-free account for college as long as the expenses are used for college.  If you do not withdraw from the fund, your child can continue to keep the fund and use it for her child’s educational expenses.

Whatever you do, invest early and invest often.  Invest as soon as the kid is born. 

We used the Mass Mutual calculator to see how much one needs to save for a kid born today (2022):

When your first child goes to a private 4-year college in 2040, their total estimated tuition will be $517,293.

To fund your children’s education you need to save $1,251 per month until 2043.

In addition to your contributions of $320,346, your college savings could grow by $196,947 over 22 years.

Based on this calculator, you need to save $15,012 per year around 21 years.  If you split the savings into months, it makes the amount a bit easier to stomach. One thing you need to watch out for is not to be too aggressive with your investment choices as your kid becomes closer to college-age.  Yes, in 2021, the S&P 500 returned 26.89% but so far in March 2022, the S&P returned negative 12.17%.  You can lose so much money in just a few months if you are not careful!   If you are in a 529 account, make sure to stick to the age of the child recommendations in the fund.  Look at what happened to the stock market between 2021 and 2022 before you get too confident that your money will keep on going up and your child is close to going to college (as in within a year or less). 

There are Facebook pages about affording college.  One of the more popular ones is called Paying for College for High-Income Families 101.  It is good just to lurk and read posts by parents to learn how people are saving and trying to afford college.

Another thing to trick yourself to save if you are a parent is to increase the taxes that your employers take out of your paycheck so that you get a bigger refund at tax time.  If you claim single and zero deductions, the employer will take out a lot more for taxes.  Or, you can just ask them to take out more taxes.  Then, you or your accountant can file your taxes using the formula for married filing jointly (if that is your situation) and you will get a huge tax refund especially if you have child tax credits and other tax deductions such as a mortgage.

Apply for as many scholarships as possible.  You never know, maybe someone will give you some money for college.  Your high school guidance counselor should be emailing opportunities for scholarships.

I have heard good things about work study, but if your child needs to concentrate on school, it is up to you whether this is a good thing for you.  Of course, there are people who have no choice but to work, and this is fine too.

If you are a student who is reading this and your parents did not save any money for your education, should you take out loans?  Often, this is the only way you can stay in school.  Yes, you might owe a lot of money when you graduate, but you have a chance to make something of your life with this degree.  With some hard work, ambition and smarts, you will never lose money with an Ivy League degree.  An Ivy League education is the best investment you can make in yourself.  You will gain access to a group of people who can help you in so many ways.  Let me tell you about a girl who was offered an opportunity to go to law school.  She was working in a retail store at the time, and she could not quit any faster.  She left the store with a big bag of books that she purchased at the bookstore for her courses, and never looked back.  She signed for the student loans and just concentrated on her school work.  She did not know this, but the tuition they charged was a bargain because the tuition would increase tremendously year after year.  When she got married, her husband’s family paid off her student loans.  She worked as an attorney and became a self-made millionaire due to the blind faith that she would succeed one day.  That is manifestation, ladies and gentlemen.  Believe that it will happen and it will.

Secret Backdoors to the Ivy League

A secret we learned from a college admissions counselor who charges tens of thousands of dollars is that you should always try to apply to the less popular majors, so you have less competition. Everyone wants to go to Wharten for finance, so apply to Penn for art, and you will have a higher chance of getting in. Our Ivy League Moms Club also have reported the following secret backdoors into Penn:

Penn Liberal and Professional Studies (LPS)—Lower admission standards but you graduate with a Bachelor’s degree from Penn

Philadelphia Academy of Fine Arts (PAFA) combination degree with Penn —If your child is into fine arts, then the PAFA/Upenn joint degree is perfect. PAFA is a top fine arts college and you go there for three years and apply to Penn to complete your Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) degree at Upenn. Acceptance into Penn is not guaranteed (they have criteria you need to meet), but it is a way in if you want to major in art. What can you do with a BFA? Lots of careers: Curator of a museum, garllerist, architect, designer, animator, etc.

The Columbia School of General Studies—for students who have been out of school for a year or so, who would like to go back to school

Columbia University School of General Studies (GS) is the only college of its kind created to meet the needs of returning and nontraditional students seeking a rigorous, traditional, Ivy League undergraduate degree full or part time. 

When you join us, you’ll become a fully integrated member of the global Columbia undergraduate community and learn from world-renowned faculty. You’ll be guided by dedicated academic advisors experienced in supporting nontraditional students and have access to extensive research-backed support programs.

Columbia School of General Studies website

The Yale University Whitney Program

The Yale Admissions website states:

Students are eligible to apply to the Eli Whitney Students Program if they do not already hold bachelor’s degrees and:

  • they have taken at least a five-year break from their education at some point in their educational careers
  • Or they will have been out of high school for five or more years by the time of their proposed Yale matriculation. 

The Harvard Extension School 

You can get a certificate at Harvard by taking courses, and then stacking the certificate into a degree if you take enough courses. 

How to Write a Great College Essay

“If you can’t do it with feeling, don’t.”

Patsy Cline

Before you write a word, close your eyes, take a deep breath and think about what you are passionate about. Be honest. What would you do if you had all the money in the world and didn’t have to worry about making a living when you graduate? What makes you happy? Then, think about what can you contribute to society with what you are passionate about. Write things down and start your outline. The essay does not have to be perfect at first. Just write it down.

The colleges want to know how you can contribute to make the world a better place. They want to see signs of future leadership. However, don’t just make a list of your accomplishments and use that as your essay.

The college essay is your chance to shine, to stand out amongst all the other stellar grades and perfect SAT scores. Here is where you need to reveal something about yourself. You want to evoke emotion: include details that will make them laugh or cry. The admissions officers want to feel emotions, to know who you really are, so don’t be afraid to be vulnerable. It’s better to show that you are human with faults than to be another perfect applicant, which the colleges get in droves. Many students with perfect scores and grades get rejected. Tell them your parents are divorcing, or your mom is sick, you need to work to help the family or other circumstances that might have affected your grades, but yet you did so well anyway. Admit something embarrassing if it will make you be memorable. The admissions officers want to know who you are, so that they can make a right match for the school. Think of it as matchmaking for your significant other: you will be spending the next four years of your life in this college, so the admissions officers need to know that it will be a good fit.

You can write about anything you want when trying to follow the writing prompt!  Don’t feel the need to sound professional or perfect.  One student, Carolina Williams from Tennessee, even wrote about her love for Papa John’s pizza and how ordering it made her feel safe and grownup and got into Yale.  Unfortunately, she did not choose to attend Yale, but instead chose Auburn University instead.  Which begs the question: why?  If an Ivy were to admit you, and there is only an admission rate of 5 percent or less, why would you choose to attend another university?  Most of the time, the reason is probably financial.  For ways to afford an Ivy League education, go to the chapter: How to Afford an Ivy League Education (coming soon).

Of course, there are some exceptions, like if your dad wrote a large check to support the school, but for the rest of us, the essay is very important.  The dirty secret, according to high school students I interviewed, everyone has some help with their essays.  Even those who cannot afford to hire a college coach will probably get some help, even if it is from a friend or teacher.  You need to be personal, pour your heart into drafting your essay, and send it to everyone you know to proofread. When you pour your heart out on paper, when you really put all your energy into your writing, the reader can feel the electricity.  And that, is the key to writing a great college essay.  


Sports for Future Ivy Leaguers

What sports should a potential Ivy Leaguer pursue to gain admission into the Ivy League? The Ivy League is a collegiate athletic conference consisting of eight private universities in the Northeast United States. The term Ivy League became official after the formation of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I athletic conference in 1954. There are sixteen men’s and sixteen women’s sports in the Ivy League championships:

Women’s Ivy League Sports

  • Basketball
  • Cross-country
  • Fencing
  • Field Hockey
  • Golf
  • Ice hockey
  • Lacrosse
  • Rowing
  • Soccer
  • Softball
  • Squash
  • Swimming and diving
  • Tennis
  • Track and field (indoor)
  • Track and field (outdoor)
  • Volleyball

Men’s Ivy League Sports

  • Baseball
  • Basketball
  • Cross-country
  • Fencing
  • Football
  • Golf
  • Ice hockey
  • Lacrosse
  • Rowing
  • Soccer
  • Squash
  • Swimming and diving
  • Tennis
  • Track and field (indoor)
  • Track and field (outdoor)
  • Wrestling

If you are a parent of a small child, and you were to choose a sport for the main purpose of getting your child into an Ivy, which sport should you choose? Well, the experts would tell you to choose a sport that your child would enjoy first. However, the word on the street is that squash and rowing would make your child stand out. However, if you want to give your child a leg up on networking in the business world, perhaps golf and tennis would be good choices, as those are sports that executives play at the country club.

Working from Home Chairs

This is our third year working from home, and for those of us without standup desks, the kitchen counter is a great solution to be able to stand up to work while being able to sit down. What chairs work for sitting comfortably at the kitchen counter? Search the chairs below:

Why is Getting a Child Admitted to the Ivy League so Important to Some Parents?

Hint: Money- It is Like Winning the Lottery

Why am I passionate about my child attending an Ivy League college? Because I have seen the access, privileges and things that Ivy Leaguers can get.  And as a parent, it is my job to get the best for my child.  The Ivy League is a private club that few can get in, but once you are in, you can have access to better jobs, make more money, network with a certain group of people (other Ivy Leaguers who have gotten these benefits and are now powerful), get wined and dined by companies just looking to recruit Ivy League students. One reader sent in this story:

When I was a law student, I got into a program that assigned me to a prestigious internship with a federal judge. I personally did not attend a top law school, but the judge assigned to me was an alumnus of Ivy League schools and only hired clerks who attended prestigious schools. This is the case with most Federal judges; they all want the best. I was lucky that I was part of the program, so I was vouched by the program organizers. While in chambers, I was able to see that these Ivy League clerks had it all: federal clerkships, large bonuses as a result of the clerkship in the guaranteed jobs in large law firms eager to hire them. I did not have access to any of these perks because I was not part of the club. The other interns chosen by the judge who attended top law schools talked about the wining and dining by law firms. They attended several recruiting events a month. It is really a different world for Ivy Leaguers.

Lower-Tier Law Mom

Connections-Friendship and Beyond

Ivy Leaguers wish to connect with other elite graduates like themselves.  It’s like a private club. 


Ivy Leaguers get the best jobs.  Just look on LinkedIn and you will see that more often than not, the top financial, law and consulting firms employ Ivy League graduates.


People love to brag about having graduated from an Ivy League university.  It raises the esteem of a person to have been part of a prestigious college, and it opens doors.

Most Importantly: Money- It is Like Winning the Lottery

According to The Years that Matter Most: How College Makes or Breaks Us, by Paul Tough, using research by Raj Chetty, the famous Harvard economist who utilized tax returns and college data, students who attend Ivy League and other elite colleges become very wealthy as adults. Ivy League plus graduates (of Ivy League schools plus Stanford, MIT, Duke and the University of Chicago) have a 1-in-5 chance of achieving the 1% by their mid-30s, making more than $630,000; at other elite schools, the chances are 1-in-11; at community colleges, the odds are only 1-in-300.  Imagine being in the 1% by your mid-thirties!  The Ivy League gives a student the confidence and motivation to become richer than they could ever imagine. This is what people dream of.

Want to make six-figures right out of college?

Attend these schools and major in the following, and you can make $100,000+ right out of college:

MIT—Economics, Computer Science, Mathematics, Electrical, Electronics and Communications Engineering

University of Pennsylvania—Nursing, computer science, Financial Management, Systems Engineering

Stanford University–Computer Science

Princeton University– Computer Science, Economics

Dartmouth– Computer Science, Economics

Cornell—Computer Science

Columbia- Computer Science

Yale—Computer and information Sciences

Harvard- Computer Science, Statistics

Source: U.S. Department of Education,

Money Recruits Ivy League

True story: a mom friend who is a lawyer once volunteered at the local bar association and offered to mentor some students. She took two students from Columbia law school to lunch. It was no slice of pizza or a sandwich either, it was a hot pot all you can eat in Chinatown for $39 a person that the students said they wanted to go to. The Columbia students did not even thank her for lunch, no email, no text, nothing. The next time she saw them at the bar association, one of them looked at her awkwardly as he walked in late for his internship meeting at the association. Turns out the Columbia Law students are used to being wined and dined by firms eager to recruit them for jobs. They said that they get invited to receptions on a weekly basis, so they thought that the mom got money from the bar association to take them to lunch, even though she paid with her own money.

Why do Firms Recruit at Ivy Leagues Schools

Firms recruit from Ivy League schools because everyone wants the best, and since these schools were selective already, the perception is that the selection has been done for them.  The top jobs at big firms most often go to the graduates of Ivy League and other elite schools.  This also raises the prestige of the firm, so that the firm can sell to the client that so many graduates of elite firms will be handling the work.

Ivy League Graduates are on the Forbes list of Billionaires.

Seventy-one of the Forbes 400 billionaires for 2021 went to seven Ivy League schools: Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Cornell, Columbia, Dartmouth and UPenn.  Not surprisingly, Harvard is at the top of the list, which contributed more alumni on The Forbes 400 than any other university — with 15.  This excludes Harvard’s infamous dropouts: Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg.  Fourteen graduates of The University of Pennsylvania were in the Forbes 400 in 2020. Yale and Stanford tied for top three with 12 graduates each.      

The 2021 Forbes 400 List of the Richest Americans: 12 Colleges with the Most Undergraduate Alumni

#1 Harvard University

Forbes 400 members: 15

#2 University of Pennsylvania

Forbes 400 members: 14

#3 (tie) Stanford University

Forbes 400 Members: 12

#3 (tie) Yale University

Forbes 400 Members: 12

#5 University of Southern California

Forbes 400 Members: 10

#6 Cornell University

Forbes 400 Members: 9

#7 Princeton University

Forbes 400 members: 8

#8  (tie) University of Michigan

Forbes 400 members: 7

#8 (tie) Columbia University

Forbes 400 members: 7

#10 University of California, Berkeley

Forbes 400 members: 6

#10 (tie) Dartmouth College

Forbes 400 members: 6

# 10 (tie) Duke University

Forbes 400 members 6

Ivy Leaguers Make Bank

The most highly paid jobs in the United States come from the following firms:




Law firms

These firms recruit from Ivy League and other elite colleges more often than from other colleges.  Then, there are the fintech companies, often started by Ivy League and Ivy Plus students, such as Stripe ($95 billion valuation, founded by Harvard and MIT students, processes credit cards for small businesses and large companies such as Zoom and Microsoft) and Robinhood ($11.1 billion valuation, started by Stanford student, more than 13 million users buy commission-free stocks, ETFs, options and cryptocurrencies on the app).

Ways to Get Rich

Here are some ways people get rich in the Ivy League

  • Job at a top firm

If you look on LinkedIn, you will see the school of each person’s account and the company where they work.  More often than not, the most prestigious companies have the most number of Ivy Leaguers.  There are at least four different types of companies where you can make lots of money right out of school: technology, finance, consulting and law firms.  These companies concentrate their recruiting at Ivy League universities most often.  Therefore, if you just get a job at a top firm, make the high salaries, save your money, max out the 401k and other retirement plans, you will do very well.

  • Start their own companies

Did you know Warby Parker was started by UPenn graduates?  The Ivy League is full people who have started innovative technology companies.  According to Forbes, in an analysis of 13,000 startup founders, Pitchbook added first-round funding between 2006 and the end of August 2019 by the startup founder’s university, 9 out of the 10 top schools for venture capital (VC) came from the United States’ Silicon Valley and Ivy League universities.  The colleges that boasted the most VC-backed startups are Stanford, UC Berkeley, MIT, Harvard, University of Michigan, Tel Aviv, University of Texas and University of Illinois.  Stanford produced such companies as DoorDash and Snapchat.  Between 2012 and 2017, the following universities produced students with the most successful patent applications (indicator of innovation): Stanford, MIT, Harvard, University of Pennsylvania, University of Washington, UNC Chapel Hill, KU Leuven (Belgium), University of Southern California, Cornell and Imperial College London (UK). 

  • Network with classmates and alum

Ivy Leaguers tend to trust other Ivy Leaguers, so they are more interested in networking with their fellow classmates and alumni.  When you are looking to start a company, or are seeking a job, you are more likely to be successful when reaching out to former classmates in the network.  Some places to network include LinkedIn and the Ivy Clubs, as well as alumni associations.  Money circulates amongst the rich with relationships and connections.

  • Marry a rich classmate

According to Forbes, the most number of billionaires come from the Ivy League, many of whom inherited family money.  Inheritance and marriage remain the top way that people become wealthy, and there is a large concentration of single wealthy individuals at Ivy League universities.  See next chapter for the full details.

dating money

How to Get Rich by Attending an Ivy League University

Here are some ways people get rich by going to an Ivy League college:

  1. Job at a Top Firm

If you look on Linkedin, you will see the school of each person’s account and the company where they work.  More often than not, the most prestigious companies have the most number of Ivy Leaguers.  There are at least four different types of companies where you can make lots of money right out of school: technology, finance, consulting and law firms.  These companies concentrate their recruiting at Ivy League universities most often.  Therefore, if you just get a job at a top firm, make the high salaries, save your money, max out the 401k and other retirement plans, you will do very well.

2. Start their own Companies

Did you know Warby Parker was started by UPenn graduates?  The Ivy League is full people who have started innovative technology companies.  According to Forbes, in an analysis of 13,000 startup founders, Pitchbook added first-round funding between 2006 and the end of August 2019 by the startup founder’s university, 9 out of the 10 top schools for venture capital (VC) came from the United States’ Silicon Valley and Ivy League universities.  The colleges that boasted the most VC-backed startups are Stanford, UC Berkeley, MIT, Harvard, University of Michigan, Tel Aviv, University of Texas and University of Illinois.  Stanford produced such companies as DoorDash and Snapchat.  Between 2012 and 2017, the following universities produced students with the most successful patent applications (indicator of innovation): Stanford, MIT, Harvard, University of Pennsylvania, University of Washington, UNC Chapel Hill, KU Leuven (Belgium), University of Southern California, Cornell and Imperial College London (UK). 

3. Network with Classmates and Alum

Ivy Leaguers tend to trust other Ivy Leaguers, so they are more interested in networking with their fellow classmates and alumni.  When you are looking to start a company, or are seeking a job, you are more likely to be successful when reaching out to former classmates in the network.  Some places to network include LinkedIn and the Ivy Clubs, as well as alumni associations.

4. Marry a Rich Classmate

According to Forbes, the most number of billionaires come from the Ivy League, many of whom inherited family money. Inheritance and marriage remain the top way that people become wealthy, and there is a large concentration of single wealthy individuals at Ivy League universities. Read How to Get Your MRS Degree in College for more details.