How to get into an Ivy League school | A complete Guide 2021

getting into ivy league schools

Is getting into an Ivy League school a dream you hope to achieve? If yes, then this article will guide you on how to get into Ivy League schools.

It is a known fact that Ivy League schools are really prestigious schools.

As a result, it seems like an almost impossible feat for one to achieve.

Many people have done it before and your case cannot be different.

First, we’ll look at the term “Ivy League” and how it was formed. 

From there, we’ll look at other vital information about getting into an Ivy League.

Then, well summarise with important strategies that will help you secure a spot in an Ivy.

If this sounds like what you are looking for, then keep reading.

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What is an Ivy League school?

The term “Ivy League” is most commonly used to describe some of the most prestigious higher education institutions in the United States.

For most people, this term refers to highly esteemed universities that are difficult to get into.

Mostly those schools that are rooted deep in history and home to some of the most brilliant minds in academia.

Plus, all of these schools are located in the Northeast, too.

But that’s not totally correct. 

Yes, it is true that Ivy League schools are considered to be the most prestigious of all colleges in the United States.

It is also true that these schools are primarily located in the Northeastern part of the country.

But unlike the general use of the term Ivy League for every prestigious school, there are only eight colleges that are considered to be Ivy League.

These schools are Brown, Harvard, Cornell, Princeton, Dartmouth, Yale, and Columbia universities and the University of Pennsylvania.

Of all institutions of higher learning, these elite schools are considered to be the most outstanding and the most sought-after in terms of acceptance and graduation.

How was the Ivy League formed?

Despite being known for their high caliber of academics and tough admission standards, the Ivy League category is technically a collegiate athletic conference of which these eight private schools belong

The term “Ivy League” came about in 1954, when the NCAA athletic conference for Division I was formed.

At the time, the elitism of these schools was really due to their prestige in the realm of sports like basketball. 

Although the term “Ivy League” was not created until the 1950s, many of these schools have existed for a very long time.

For instance, as far back as 1636, John Harvard became the first benefactor of Harvard University. 

This school is located in the Boston, Massachusetts, area. 

Yale University on the other hand was formed in 1702 by a benefactor by the name of Elihu Yale. 

Yale is located in the state of Connecticut in the town of New Haven. 

In 1746, the New Jersey school of Princeton was founded and was originally simply named the College of New Jersey. 

The fourth-oldest university in America is the University of Pennsylvania. 

It was founded in 1740 by famous founding father Benjamin Franklin. 

Brown University, founded in 1746, is located in Providence, Rhode Island. 

The smallest Ivy League school, Dartmouth, was established in 1769 in Hanover, New Hampshire.

It received a large endowment of several billion dollars. 

In 1754, Columbia University began thanks to King George II of England.

It is located in New York City. 

And finally, Cornell University got its start in 1865 thanks to two benefactors named Ezra Cornell and Andrew Dickson White. 

This school is located in Ithaca, New York.

Are Ivy League schools the best in the world?

Because of how prestigious these Ivy League schools are, one can easily conclude that they are the best in the world.

But, despite the elite nature of the Ivy League, they don’t necessarily include the “best schools.” 

While all eight universities rank in the top 20 Best Colleges in America, Stanford and MIT outrank Harvard, which is the top-rated Ivy.

Also, Rice University, Bowdoin College, Cal Tech and others beat out certain Ivies as well. 

So, just because they’re Ivy League doesn’t mean they’re the best of the best.

What kind of students do Ivy League schools want to admit and why?

The Ivy League is known for being very selective in their admission process.

As a result, not every highschool student can graduate to gain admission into an Ivy League.

Typically, applicants who have been admitted in Ivy League colleges boast excellent grades in academics (with a focus on certain subjects).

In addition, they have a track record of meaningful involvement in extracurricular activities, leadership skills, and well-crafted essays.

So, the kind of students Ivy League wants to admit are;

  • Students who are going to accomplish world-changing things.
  • Students who are going to contribute positively to their communities while in college and help other students accomplish great things as well.

Therefore, for every student who enters one of the Ivy League, the school hopes that he or she will go on to change the world. 

But changing the world can mean a lot of different things.

For instance, a student might go on to start the next huge company.

Or probably join a nonprofit and manage a large global health initiative.

It could also mean to write a novel that wins the Pulitzer Prize. 

Or might even “just” become a great parent to children who will then also go on to do great things.

The goal is to make the world a better place for everyone through meaningful human contributions. 

What is the easiest Ivy League school to get into?

Ivy League universities are some of the most selective in the country. 

As a result, getting into an Ivy League school is incredibly difficult.

These schools generally have low overall acceptance rates.

What this means is that the vast majority of Ivy League applicants will not get into any of the eight schools.

However, Cornell University happens to have the highest acceptance rate.

Therefore, you have higher chances of getting into Cornell than the other Ivy League.

Besides the high acceptance rate at Cornell, never forget that it has very high admission standards just like other Ivy Leagues. 

How to get into an Ivy League school

One thing you must recall is that every Ivy League school is different. 

Therefore, maximizing your odds of getting into each one will require slightly different approaches.

But on a general note, here are some tips on how to get into an Ivy League school.

#1. Make the decision early

Ivy League schools are not the type of schools you apply too just randomly. 

You have to plan for it well ahead of time.

Once it is your dream to school in the Ivy League, you must put in the work from the onset to get in.

Making an early decision will help you to stay focused on the goal.

Also, it will help you to avoid unnecessary mistakes that could cost you the opportunity when it comes.

#2. Get your grades and test scores up

Stellar good grades and test scores are a prerequisite if you want to go to an Ivy. 

These are the two most important admissions factors according to The National Association for College Admission Counseling. 

If you are ambitious to study in an Ivy, then you must take rigorous courses that you can do well in.

This is why making an early decision is important. 

You can prepare yourself to start making excellent grades as well as build good character prior to your Ivy application.

Students who lack scores in line with Ivy standards “will be sent right to the ‘no’ pile unless they have some other achievement(s) that really help them stand out or fill an institutional need for the school.

#3. Attend an elite preparatory high school

This is one if the main reason you need to make that early decision of getting into the Ivy League. 

Elite high schools send a high percentage of their student body to Ivy League schools. 

On the plus side, going to an elite prep school gives students access to plenty of hard classes and great college admissions counselors. 

Then again, these students compete for admission against classmates who have taken similar classes and done extracurricular activities.

This brings us to our next point.

#4. Use consulting services

While have great exam and test scores may be a thing, it cannot take the place of a consultant. 

If you are looking for how to get into an Ivy Leagues school, then you probably have not done so before.

As a result, you need proper guidance to keep you on the right track.

Using consulting services will help you to avoid making unnecessary mistakes.

Also, they will help you take the best shot at getting and admission in the Ivies.

Although, this is the expensive route because it will come at a cost.

If you can afford it, then you can save yourself so many troubles.

#5. Have a strong “Why”

To become an Ivy student, you must know your “Why” and stick to it.

You must not be such that attempts to do a bunch things you have no interest in.

Instead, find your passion ans stick to what you love.

It doesn’t necessarily matter if it is athletics, community service, academic clubs or anything else. 

What the school is looking for is why a student is choosing to do those activities and what they got out of it.

Have they learned time management skills, leadership, teamwork, discipline? 

How have they grown as a person and what qualities will they bring to the campus?

The outcome of what you find passion in doing is more important than what it is that you are doing.

#6. Be a good person

Being a good person is a good trait.

But when it comes to getting an admission into an Ivy League school, being nice might just be the thing that solidifies your spot.

That’s because more and more universities want the students they admit to be good people who give back.

There is a story on CNBC of a student who got into Dartmouth because of one recommendation letter from a high school custodian.

The letter noted that the applicant was the only student who knew the names of every janitorial staff member.

In addition, the student would help custodians with menial tasks like turning lights off in empty rooms and cleaning up after other students.

Don’t just do nice things to get into an Ivy League school.

However, you should do them because you feel it’s right. 

The custodian who wrote that recommendation pointed out that the student would do these things when no one was watching. 

The key is to be genuine.

#7. Take advantage of early decision and early action

Early decision (ED) or early acceptance is a common policy used in college admissions in the United States for admitting freshmen to undergraduate programs. 

It is used to indicate to the university or college that the candidate considers that institution to be his or her top choice.

However, this comes with a condition that if admitted, the candidate definitely will enroll and withdraw all other applications.

Also, you only get to apply early decision for one school, so choose carefully. 

Early action (EA) on the other hand means that “students apply early and receive a decision well in advance of the institution’s regular response date.

This comes with an advantage because unlike early decision, early action is not binding.

Applying using these methods significantly boosts your chances of getting into one of the Ivies.

#8. Write a really good essay

Your essay is one of only two places where the you can tell us the school exactly who you are, in your own words.

The other place is the interview.

When writing your eassy,  write about something not found anywhere else in the application.

It’s a chance to show what you’re interested in, what your passions are and what’s important to you. 

So, be yourself, but keep it simple, too. 

In many cases, the best essays are the simplest.

Does attending an Ivy League school really matter?

Absolutely not, it doesn’t really matter at all.

As you correctly note, a lot of very smart and successful people–in fact, most smart and successful people–did not go to Ivy League schools. 

Studies have indicated that those who had what it took to be admitted to an Ivy League school, but were either rejected or chose to attend a less prestigious institution, did pretty much the same as those who did attend an Ivy League school. 

In other words, high achievers do well because they’re high achievers, not because of the name on their degrees. 

And certainly, once you get out into the real world, who issued your degree matters less and less.

For instance, a Harvard degree isn’t going to magically catapult you into the CEO’s chair if you don’t put in the work or deliver results.

Life is a marathon, not a sprint.

The fact that you were really good at high school doesn’t mean that you will be really good at adulthood.

So, don’t think that attending an Ivy League is the only road to success in life.

Also, don’t beat yourself if you never had the opportunity to attend an Ivy.


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