Each year, thousands of students ask their college counselor, “How do I get into an Ivy League school?”
Any counselor worth their salt knows that there are a variety of responses to this question and that the path to an Ivy League college varies for each student, depending upon his/her background, credentials and goals. However, at College Transitions, we feel compelled to offer our take:
Generally speaking, earning consideration at an Ivy League institution requires excellent grades and test scores, as well as a demonstrated willingness to take tough courses and commit substantially to one or two extracurricular pursuits. However, consideration is not the same as admission, and while the aforementioned credentials/experiences are necessary for entry into a Yale, Princeton or Harvard, they are not sufficient. Winning an Ivy League acceptance letter also requires an outstanding college application that carefully articulates your accomplishments and ability to contribute to an elite college environment. A competent and well-trained college counselor can help students craft such an application and develop an admissions strategy that maximizes their admissions chances at an Ivy League school. However, there are no guarantees in life or the college admissions process; every year, hundreds of students with outstanding credentials and extensive counseling are denied at a Columbia, Dartmouth or Brown. Yeah, we said it. Private college counselors, regardless of their expertise or level of involvement, CANNOT assure acceptance at an Ivy League college, even for the “best and brightest” students—simply because Ivy League institutions receive applications from a lot more of these students than they are able to accept, making the admissions process at a Penn or Cornell somewhat unpredictable.
Fortunately, the best of American higher education is not limited to eight colleges in the Northeast that just happen to play football against each other on a few Saturdays in the fall. Students and parents who obsess over the Ivy League are wise to consider a host of other institutions that offer equal or better academic experiences and professional pathways.
College Transitions counselors cannot guarantee your admission into an Ivy League institution, but we can guarantee your acceptance at a college that is commensurate with your credentials and interests, where you can thrive and where you acquire the experiences and skills necessary to achieve success. We do not strive to get you into the most prestigious school; we strive to get you into the right schools, and in the process, help you discover who you are, who you want to become, and what you want out of your undergraduate experience.