Seeking admission in Ivy League colleges
Natasha Jain recommends some significant steps to prospective students, seeking admission at competitive Ivy League colleges.
Is it your dream to be part of the Ivy League? Are you also preparing for admission at your dream college? Like legions of highly qualified applicants you too may be prepping to score well to get an entry at the desired college.
November and December are the most crucial months for students applying to foreign universities and almost 10 million students apply to colleges abroad every year.
The Ivy League colleges are a group of eight universities based in the north eastern United States. All the eight are private institutions considered among the country's elite schools for academics. The league includes Harvard, Yale, Pennsylvania, Princeton, Columbia, Brown, Dartmouth and Cornell Universities.
These universities are renowned for providing outstanding education and hence preferred by students from all over the world. Acceptance to one of these colleges is highly coveted, making them most students’ dream educational destination.
With a high demand for these colleges, thousands of students from all over the world aim to study at an Ivy League college. It is considered to be the apex of collegiate education by many students. But getting admission at such colleges is becoming tougher and decreasing to as low as 5-6%, leading to an exceedingly competitive application process.
Here are some steps recommended to prospective students seeking admission into competitive Ivy League colleges.
High SAT/GRE score
SAT and GRE are competitive exams for students who aspire to seek admission at any foreign university or academic institution. The SAT and GRE are the first step in the admission process. Thus it requires students to make sincere efforts to prepare and practice. It is important for all students to start preparing for these exams at least six to eight months in advance.
There are many guiding tools, books and institutions that are available but it is essential for prospective students to choose one that fits their individual style of learning. Students should give themselves the option to attempt the SAT twice. One would be like a test and other should be prior to the admission deadline as this would give students much more confidence and an opportunity to give their best shot in the competitive admission process.
Unlike other countries, in India, it is not very common for high school students to be working or interning. So although students look at this as an opportunity to 'build their CVs’, they can be quite fun and help them learn and grow immensely. It would be advisable to look for summer internships after one’s 10th & 11th grade exams. One must feel free to reach out to his/her family and friends for help.
The US application process evaluates every student in a holistic manner. The application is just not about having a high GPA, test scores, class rank or SAT/GRE score. It is important for students to highlight their work experience, research and their extracurricular activities. Through their essays, resume and short answer questions; students should emphasize specific extracurricular activities where they have excelled in order to show commitment/leadership in a particular activity.
Students should also showcase their work experience or research in their field of study as this helps show the commitment of the student to that particular course/major. It is important for the student to have a well-rounded application as opposed to focusing only heavily on the academic aspects of it.
You might have heard the phrase, “All work and no play make Jack a dull boy,” and now it is time to put it to practice. Participation in extracurricular activities is required to take student’s mind off academics for a while and help them de-stress as it makes one feel fresh and energetic and build a student’s overall personality.
Students should also make it a point to get actively involved in other activities such as students council, starting clubs or organisation for things you feel passionate about. Students should take up and pursue a sport seriously.
They should also participate or lead a community service project that they feel strongly for. Prospective students should try to be part of an internship/full time job in the area they want to study. They should also participate in a few activities but try and attain a leadership role there. Participating in these activities help students build a well rounded personality which will definitely add credibility and value to their profile.
Tips for Ivy College aspirants
Students, seeking admission into Ivy League colleges, can start early and start building their profile. Starting early is the key to getting into the best colleges.
n Research: Students who are seeking admission into Ivy League colleges should start preparing well in advance and start building a well rounded academic profile. Starting early would give them sufficient time to research and evaluate different institutions and courses available, to study for entrance exams and prepare to write their essay/SOP. It is very significant for students to spend considerable time evaluating colleges and majors in order to pick the university where they will ultimately be happy and successful.
n Recommendation letter: It might be helpful to get letters of recommendation from professors / supervisors / teachers they have closely worked with and will be able to vouch for the student’s performance and work. These letters will serve as positive review by different academician’s students has studied under in the past. Thus, it is important as it useful in adding significant value to the student’s scholastic profile.
n Clarity of thought: It is also advisable for students to have a clear understanding of why they want to attend a particular college/course and should be able to demonstrate that in their essay/SOP.
It is imperative for all students to have clarity of thought before applying to colleges and universities. As it is important to know why they wish to seek admission at a particular college or university and a specific course/stream before they begin their application process. They should also be able to articulately state and clearly demonstrate that in their essay/SOP.
(The writer is the CEO of a career service agency.)