Top Tips to Get Admission into Ivy League Universities

    Updated on: 04 Sep 2023


    The 8 Ivy League universities – Yale, Harvard, Penn, Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, and Princeton – are the most prestigious schools in the USA that resonate all-round excellence. Getting into an Ivy League university is like conquering Everest; it takes immense dedication, focus and hard work to be able to ace the admission process and surpass the other applicants. 

    Now, all this cannot be done in a day, nor can you do it on your own. There’s guidance involved from a bunch of sources, and years of excellent academic and extra-curricular records that, together, make you stand out in the crowd. Let’s look at a number of tips you can consider if an Ivy League admission is your dream.

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    1. Outstanding Grades

    According to the USA's National Association for College Admission Counselling, you’ve got to maintain those grades throughout your study years, and not only the important board years. They need to know that you are focused on being in the top 1% of your class. 

    Being consistent in your grades also proves that you are self-motivated and don’t need anyone telling you to pick up the slack. It’s a great way of letting them know that dedication and intellect are in-built in you. Some may say that grades are not the only thing that matters, and while that is true, it is still a pretty important factor that’s going to get you into your dream school. 

    2. Test Scores

    You will have to ace the Scholastic Aptitude Tests (SAT) or American College Testing (ACT) if you want your file to move ahead in the admission process. Having good grades is one thing but scoring well on these entrance exams is also given high value. Almost all students who apply maintain a 3.9 – 4 GPA, so it’s the test scores that help them filter the students. 

    The subject areas of these tests are mostly English, history, language, math and science. So, it would make sense to build your knowledge and speed in these categories. There are plenty of mock tests that you can write in order to practice and improve. 

    3. Figure Out Your Passion

    Many students are misguided by the notion that you have to pick only certain noble professions to get into the Ivy League. Society has made you think that only those who want to be doctors, engineers, lawyers or scientists are the ones who are welcomed at the prestigious institutes. 

    This is so far from the truth; all fields are given the same importance, and you must pick the path that you are truly passionate about. If you want to be a professional in geology, but you’ve gone into medicine because that’s what you think is your best option, think again. 

    You can very well graduate in geology from any of the Ivy League schools. The courses are hardcore, and you will cope only if you have a genuine love of the subject. Picking what you love most will help you stand out as it will reflect in your essay or statement of purpose

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    4. Extracurricular Activities

    Coming back to the point that grades are not the only important aspect of your admission file, it’s true that the admissions department looks for other interests of the students as well. They want to make sure that you’re not just a bookworm or a recluse, but someone who can blend into their culture and be a value addition. 

    But more importantly, they look for learnings that you’ve picked up through these extracurricular activities. If you’ve pursued hobbies and interests like music, sports, social work, debates, theatre, etc., what is it that you have gained from it, and how has it improved your skills and character? 

    Perhaps you gained patience, leadership skills, discipline, teamwork, empathy, time management or problem-solving abilities through these activities. You can mention all this in your file. 

    5. Letters of Recommendation 

    Ivy League universities appreciate two letters of recommendation for each student, submitted by a teacher and a counsellor. Now, it’s best to get the letter from a teacher who has been a part of your academic achievements as that will help them express your potential, dedication and character accurately. 

    This teacher will also be able to share stories specific to you and your accomplishments, and not generic facts about competent students. On the other hand, your counsellor can attest to your character because, believe it or not, the Ivy League also looks for the human aspect in their students.

    Read more about: What Constitutes A Good Letter Of Recommendation?

    The letter can speak about things like your abilities with problems and crises, threshold for tolerance and patience, and instances where you’ve exuded commendable people skills. You can also make sure that the letters are crisp and not vague. 

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    6. Write an Awesome Essay

    A bad essay will send you straight to the no-pile list, and we definitely want to avoid that. The essay is what will intrigue the admissions dean to want to get to know you more. All other documents will speak for you, but through the essay, you will speak for yourself. This is the opportunity that allows you to give them the best perception of you. 

    They haven’t met you face to face, so you have to help them get to know the real you through this essay – your likes, dislikes, achievements, opinions, passion and strengths. Be sure to be genuine; focus on your strong points, mention a few weak points and that you intend to work on them, keep it simple, and add a little humour. 

    The admissions personnel want to know the human and academic sides of you. Very often, the students selected are the ones who opened up candidly about themselves in an elegant and professional manner. 

    I hope after knowing all these tips you will be better-equipped for the admissions but it’s always best to get professional help to make sure that your documents and language are in place. And once you receive your offer letter, it is time to start your student accommodation hunt on University Living

    It is a global student housing platform offering accommodations in more than 210 cities across the globe. Get in touch with their team of experts to get free guidance to help you choose the best accommodation within your budget.

    First published date: 24 Mar 2021

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About author

Vishakha Bhagia
Interest in Finance with a flair for writing, Vishakha has written on education loans and the study abroad field for the last two years with articles published in Times of India, Outlook India, The Hindu, and many more publications.

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