Getting into college is no walk in the park, and if your goal is to attend an Ivy League school, you should prepare for additional difficulties. Not only do these prestigious institutions have higher standards for admission than other colleges and universities, but because admission spots are so coveted, there is incredible competition.
If you have your heart set on attending an Ivy League school, there are steps you can take to make sure you are eligible and that you’re an attractive candidate.
Here are a few helpful tips to put you on the right path.
This is more than advice – it’s a motto to live by if you want to attend an Ivy League school. While most of your classmates are sleeping in and spending their evenings and weekends goofing off, you’re going to be rising early, staying up late, and spending nearly every waking moment focused on college prep.
This means studying for exams, engaging in extracurricular activities, completing homework, and possibly participating in charity work. You also need to start early when it comes to taking tests, filling out applications, and writing admissions essays. Procrastination is your enemy if you want to get into an Ivy League institution.
Choose Extracurriculars Carefully
You obviously want to show that you excel at activities associated with the field or major you are most interested in. Science majors will likely join science clubs while music students will participate in choir, orchestra, or band, for example.
However, you should also look for extracurricular activities that are outside your wheelhouse but that could complement your chosen major. If you tend to be somewhat introverted, think about joining student government or the forensics team to improve your social and public speaking skills.
Or if you’re more interested in performing arts, consider joining an academic club to improve your studies and show prospective universities that you’re capable of succeeding in more activities than those you naturally excel at.
Ask for Help
Many students are keen to do everything on their own, but you shouldn’t ignore the resources available to you. Student mentorship, counsel or advice, and references from teachers could all make a difference when it comes to gaining admission to your school of choice.
In other words, take the time to cultivate relationships, seek out useful resources, and accept assistance when it comes to preparing for college and filling out applications.
Don’t Skimp on Scoring
This sounds obvious – everyone knows you need an outstanding GPA and test scores to qualify for admission to an Ivy League school, and even then it might not be enough. The fact is that all colleges and universities consider a number of factors in the admission process.
That said, you definitely need to start with a solid foundation, including a GPA and test scores that meet or exceed standards for your schools of choice. From there you can build on your successes by adding extracurriculars and charity work as a means of standing out from your peers and gaining the interest of admissions boards.
It may not be easy to visit every college on your list, but you should take the time to visit at least your top three campuses in person. The reason, beyond making sure you like the school you plan to attend, is that admission interviewers will often ask some iteration of the question, “Why us?”
In other words, schools want to know why you prefer their institution and what makes you think you’d be a good fit for their academic community. Visiting the campus ahead of time can help you to formulate a more direct and authentic answer.
Whether you end up participating in Villanova’s online tax LLM program or you shoot for the stars with an Ivy League education, it’s important to make sure that you’re prepared for the admission process and that you have given yourself the best chance to reach your goals.