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.


When to Visit Colleges

To manifest your child’s destiny, visit colleges as soon as you can.   Manifestation is to bring something you want into your life through attraction and belief: what you think will happen will happen.  I do not mean visiting colleges in the 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.

Showing your child a prestigious college unleashes the power of manifesting.  When my child was seven, we started visiting colleges.  Of course, we started with the best: Harvard.  Boston in the summer is gorgeous, and we toured Harvard with the rest of the tourists, some also had their young children in tow.  Another great tourist attraction in Boston is the plentiful lobsters and we had a great time there.  I still recall the delicious twin lobsters in the beautiful outdoor restaurant near the water.  The more you expose a child to the places you want her to go, the more it becomes familiar, and eventually it will be a goal within reach.  A child who has seen what is possible will work harder to get good grades, score well on standardized tests, participate in extra-curricular activities, whatever it takes to get into an elite school. 

Around the time of end of junior year of high school, you might consider visiting colleges you would like to apply to for demonstrating interest.  College admissions officers sometimes like to see demonstrated interest by prospective students before they make the decision to admit a student because they want to know the student will accept.  Because universities seek to improve their yield – or raise the number of students who accept admission offers – they look for demonstrated interest.  Further, some admissions officers have said that they would view it as a lack of interest on the student’s part if they lived close by and didn’t ever visit.  It would be wise to visit a college so you can see where you will be taking classes and the surrounding neighborhood.  Finally, visiting colleges can allow you to write a better and personalized “why us” essay, which is what colleges are looking for.

college money

The Ivy League is Not a Dream!

The Ivy League is Not a Dream

Get Admitted to Top Universities and Get Rich!

The Ivy League is not a dream! So many parents and kids have dreams of getting admitted into a top university. My kid was just admitted into an Ivy League college, and 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. In intermediate school, 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.

Get your first month of Hooked on Phonics for just $1

Another thing to do as soon as possible is to order workbooks. 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.


Working Out from Home

What are your New Year Resolutions?

Working from home, it is harder to get exercise. I have had excellent results from the Brazilian Butt Lift workout from Beachbody on Demand. The beachy scenes make me think of the vacations I took when I was able to travel.

Beachbody On Demand 14 Day Free Trail!

I’ve had a few days with my Peloton tread and it is definitely more entertaining than a normal treadmill. I had a Taiwan walk and the screen showed beautiful footage of a mountain in Taiwan. It made the time go by faster, that’s for sure. I also walked with Jess King aka Allegra on Just Like That, Sex and the City. She is one tough trainer! No wonder Big had a heart attack (but is still alive)! Then, to add to my steps, I did a few minutes of the sad walk, where the trainer says things like, “It’s ok to be sad.” Not only was he depressing, he wanted me to go faster. I couldn’t do it, my heart was too heavy. I’ll try the salty walk next time.

You reach the Buddha at the end of the Taiwan walk on Peloton

You are Graduating College without your MRS— Now What?

Advice for our daughters:

You did everything right: joined clubs where the men were, wore your nice Lululemons around campus, was friendly to everyone, Instagrammed photos of yourself baking and summering in the Hamptons, yet you are still single. Sure, for awhile, you thought the guy you were dating was the one, but he dumped you last week, saying he was going home to California and did not invite you to go with him. Men. Now what? Never panic, here are some solutions.

1. Remember, you are only 21

Plenty of time to still hunt for a husband. Yes, at this point, even though time is on your side, you need to continue the search.

2. Join clubs

Out of school, there are fewer opportunities for you to join clubs, but perhaps you can join a racquet club, outdoor adventure group or the gym. If a guy tells you he’s only looking at you on the leg machine to see how the machine is being used, he’s hitting on you. Flirt back and try to get him to get your number.

3. Join some dating sites for serous relationships.

Nowadays, most people meet online. We can imagine that during Covid, you are not in a flirtatious mood wearing that mask around town. At least online, you get to show photos of yourself, sans mask. If a guy asks you what you are looking for, be honest and say marriage. Don’t waste time with lies. Click here to meet some elite singles!

4. Friends

If you had been following this blog, you would have read the The Social Climber’s Bible: A Book of Manners, Practical Tips, and Spiritual Advice for the Upwardly Mobile and made some special friends to make you even more special. Maybe Muffy can invite you over to her country house to meet her single brother.

5. Go back to school

One Ivy League mom regrets not being friendlier to her law school classmates. She took law school too seriously and had a negative attitude as she competed against her classmates for the top of the class. She should have been a little more positive and made more friends in law school. Grad school is another opportunity to network. You should try to get your MRS in grad school, a second chance, if you will.

6. All is not lost– It ain’t over till it’s over!

We know men, and they are indecisive. Have you really lost that guy you had been dating? Keep on living your best life– hang out with your friends, go to the gym, join clubs, do whatever it is that makes you happy. Who knows? He might be back one day. The question is, would you want him back? Of course, you want what everyone has, an everlasting happy marriage. Therefore, keep on looking for the one. But, always be on good terms with a few exes, because hey, you never know!


Lessons Learned from Divorced Moms

The Ivy League Moms Book Club got together the other day and the conversation came to divorce. Several members are divorced or separated. We wanted to come up with some lessons learned for our college-aged single daughters. Here is the list we came up with:

Divorce is never easy, especially when children are involved. Therefore, before you decide that he’s the one, ponder the following lessons learned from other people’s divorces.

1. Do Not Attend the Wrong College

If you are looking for a husband while in college, be aware of the man to woman ratio if you are a woman interested in marrying a man. Colleges such as the Fashion Institute of Technology, with about an 80 percent female student body, is not optimal for looking for a husband. What makes the odds even more against FIT ladies is that it is located in Manhattan, one of the most competitive areas for women looking for men.

2. Don’t wait too long

Do not assume that you are too young to be married when you are in your early twenties. Don’t date someone starting from your early twenties and not get married until your mid-thirties. You are giving the guy an entire decade of your fertility window without him making a commitment. Your youth is worth more than anything, so dump him and move on if he won’t commit by year five.

3. Watch how he treats others

When you are young and beautiful, you are worth something to him, whether it’s your body for childbearing or other physical activities. He will be nice to you to keep you. If other people tell you things like “it’s not too late to back out”, perhaps that’s how he will treat you when he’s tired of you.

4. Do not waste time if he’s married or otherwise taken

Please, have enough respect for yourself and other women and stay away from someone who already has his own family. Plenty of single and available men out there and you deserve a family of your own.

5. Children are a blessing

If you have children with a man and later you wind up divorced, that does not mean that you did something wrong. In fact, the children are the best treasures to come out of the relationship. You are not young forever, and you get what you get and don’t complain.

6. Make sure you are compatible before you spend too much time in the relationship

If you think a few minutes answering compatibility questions is too much, then imagine how many hours you will waste on a bad date or years that you could be spending with someone who is better for you.

7. Always have your own money

Develop skills to earn your own money. If you have writing skills, see if you can write novels on Amazon or start a blog. Make YouTube videos. Nowadays, employers allow you to work from home. Invest family money and keep it aside. You don’t have to share all your money, especially since inheritance is separate property in case of a divorce. Having your own money enhances the relationship, because you can buy the groceries, take him out to dinner and buy him gifts; love is give and take. Also, if the relationship fails, you have the option to leave.

8. Don’t waste time with hookup sites if your goal is marriage

One lady who was separated spent a lot of time on hookup sites because she would get lots of attention from men. But quantity does not mean quality. She got upset because a few gentleman who took her out to dinner never called her back. She complained to her therapist that even though the conversations with these men from the serious dating sites were ok she thought, they did not call. However, the men at the hookup sites would always call her back. The therapist said, “It’s because the hookup guys want sex! If the conversation with the serious men did not flow, then why waste time? You can’t tell until you meet. These men were willing to take the time to know you, but it didn’t work out. However, it’s a numbers game, so keep on trying.”

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.


Worth the Carbs: Wegman’s Garlic Tuscan Bread

Wegman’s Garlic Tuscan Bread

This is probably the best bread I have ever had. So worth the carbs. Nowadays, people are eating keto and low-carb, but this bread is so worth the carbs.

college fashion

Shopping for a Canada Goose Coat

To reward my daughter for getting into an Ivy League college, for her 18th birthday, we went shopping for a Canada Goose coat to survive those frigid Northeast winters. Yes, if you want to attend an Ivy League college, particularly those further North, you have to deal with harsh winters.

On a beautiful Saturday day in January in New York, we stood in line in front of the Soho Canada Goose store in Manhattan. There were about six people ahead of us, and soon there were ten people behind us. It took about 20 minutes to let us in. Wow, I felt I was in a sample sale, but in a store with full-priced coats, each over one thousand dollars. We asked for someone to help us, and a very nice young lady appeared to assist in finding the right coat. First, daughter tried on the Shelburne, a longer parka. It sort of bunched under the shoulders. Then, she tried on the Lorette and it was perfect. I even managed to get daughter to accept a medium instead of a small because it was over a thousand dollars and daughter was only seventeen with a lot of growing ahead of her. But alas, they were sold out all over the country! We put our name on the waitlist and left to go to our next destination.

There is always a line in front of the Canada Goose Store in Soho in New York

Is a Canada Goose coat worth over a thousand dollars? My daughter said that it is the warmest coat you can buy. I suspect that she wants one because it is popular and trendy. I mean, there was a line in front of the store. However, walking around Soho that day, I noticed lines in front of Louis Vuitton and the Apple store too. During this pandemic, there is an increased demand for everything and a shortage of everything. My friend bought his Canada Goose jacket for $400 before it got popular.

Canada Goose is hot because it is popular with celebrities. Even model Kate Upton had a Canada Goose jacket over a bikini on the cover of Sports Illustrated. The round logo on the sleeve is a status symbol. They also make a black logo, but my daughter insisted on the classic red one.

Kate Upton wearing Canada Goose on Sports Illustrated

I am reading a book called Lion Dad, How to Nudge Your Cub into the Ivy League – A Comprehensive Guide For Elite School Admission and it says that a Tiger Mom’s way of rewarding a kid for achievement is not the way to go. My daughter would beg to differ. A reward for good behavior encourages more positive behavior. I don’t agree with all the Tiger Mom’s ways, like the mental and emotional abuse and discipline, but the rewards for achievement is one thing Tiger Mom and I both agree on.

A few days later, I received an email from Saks Fifth Avenue after submitting my email in the notify me section of the coat we wanted to purchase. I immediately signed on to the Saks website and ordered the coat. A beautiful Canada Goose coat arrived for the birthday girl a few days later. Happy ending to our shopping story.

college college admissions consultant

Do you Need a College Admissions Consultant?

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.

Jason, a high school senior who was accepted to attend an Ivy League college, was one of those lucky ones who did have a college coach that cost $15,000.

Jason reported:

My college coach, a former admissions officer at an Ivy League university, worked with other former admissions officers and guided me throughout the college application process.  They helped with the essay, emphasizing my special circumstance, such as needing to care for my little brother due to my parents being divorced.  The college coach assisted with prepping me for my interviews.  College admissions officers are looking for the perfect fit.  The most important parts of the application are a great essay and spectacular extra-curricular activities.  Everyone has top grades and excellent SAT scores, so you need to stand out with a personal essay that shows your special circumstance while maintaining good grades.  There are so many students who have the best extra-curriculars, such as creating their own company, winning international awards, creating patents, playing in Carnegie Hall, starting their own non-profit, etc. The Ivy League is looking for someone who is so passionate about something that he is willing to spend all his time and effort on it, such as a Regeneron winner or Olympic athlete, not someone who dabbles in something.  How was I to compete?!  One kid hired a college coach who created a website that showed his non-profit, started by donating his birthday money to poor kids and tutoring them.   My coach also gave me advice such as, everyone wants to apply to UPenn Wharton for finance, so perhaps UPenn’s art history major might be better. 

Vanessa, Ivy League Student

The Pieces of the Pie for Admission to an Ivy League College

Think of admissions to an Ivy as pieces of the pie: If you have enough pieces and they are large enough, then you make up the entire pie.  The pieces of the pie include: grades, extra curricular activities, achievements and awards, opportunity in high school, the essay, recommendation letters, the university-specific questions and SAT/ACT. 

Photo by Felicity Tai on


What grades do you need to have to get into the Ivy League? 

Since the Ivies have so many applicants to choose from, they will probably choose the straight A (weighted Grade Point Average 4.0) student over the B student.  The colleges want students who can handle the rigorous academic standards, so grades are a good indicator of future success.  Does it mean that if you have the occasional B that your chances are zero?  No it does not.  However, you are competing with the straight A students, so the higher your grades are, the higher your chances of getting into an Ivy. 

What if your grades are not perfect?

By not perfect, we mean a GPA around 3.3 to 3.7. 

  • Apply to less-choosy Ivy League schools. Out of all the Ivies, Cornell probably has the top acceptance rate, which is still uber- selective at approximately 8.7%. However, students with average grades will have an improved chance of getting into Cornell as opposed to Harvard, with a 4% acceptance rate.
  • Explain your grades in the Common App Additional Information Section. 
  • This is where you can explain your special circumstances, such as needing to do the housework or get a job because your parents are divorced.  Nowadays, divorce seems to be the norm rather than the exception, so discuss how the divorce has affected your grades: emotional distress, extra housework, need to take care of siblings, etc.
  • Excel in other areas of the college application. Grades are just one part of the pie that  Ivy League colleges use to assess their applicants. If a student has great extracurricular activities, top letters of recommendation, and poignant college essays, he can still be a viable candidate with so-so grades.
  • Look into transferring to an Ivy League.   Even if you don’t get in on your first try, perhaps you can transfer to an Ivy after a year or so at another college.

The College 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.  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.  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.

Please take this poll about whether you hired a college admissions consultant and check back for the results.


More Cash = Brainier Babies

I always knew that what I did while pregnant would affect my child’s brain development. How could it not? I was growing a baby in my body, so whatever I ate went to the baby’s brain. Those huge prenatal vitamins with the folic acid and omega oils promised to better baby’s brain function. Now this study reported in The NY Times confirms that more money to the mothers increased cognitive ability in children. Yes, more money for prenatal vitamins!

Finally an easy way to get up to $5,000 at Get Started!
Age 3-8 college

The Power of Incentives: How to Train Your Young Child’s Brain for Optimum Performance on Tests (Ages 3-8)

When my kid was three, I taught her how to read with Hooked on Phonics. From then on, I made her do pages of workbooks such as the NY state curriculum and Kumon math and English, all of which I ordered from Amazon. How do you make a kid do what you want? I did it with incentives. You want a new toy? Do a few pages of Kumon. Note that I was too cheap to actually pay thousands of dollars to the Kumon testing centers for them to watch my kid do workbooks when each Kumon book was only $10 on Amazon. I had to save money for the incentives!

You want to go to Hershey Park? Do some sudoku puzzles. A young child will do as he or she is told, especially when you offer treats. Then, before you know it, the kid will have grown into a bigger kid whose brain has been trained. This is akin to the dad teaching his kid how to hit a ball in the schoolyard. We all teach our kids what we know, and I know how to take tests. The test writers tend to test logic, and math and Sudoku train the brain to get used to thinking a certain way. You don’t need tutors when your child is three to eight years old. You need to build a foundation of basic skills and this is best done with active activities like workbooks with answers at the end. Save your money for when you prepare for standardized tests like the Hunter High School Entrance Exam, SHSAT and SATs.

Today, as a reward for getting into an Ivy League college, we are going to go shopping for a Canada Goose coat for those cold Ithaca winters, eat oysters at Docks for Restaurant Week and then go see Dear Evan Hansen (cheaper during Broadway Week). Yes, Broadway is back and we are showing our support with our standing ovation! Yes this is a pricey day, but incentives are very important. Also, see my other posts for my penny-pinching days.