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College Admissions Blog

College

Should I Hire a College Consultant?

How to Find a Good Admissions Coach In the world of college admissions, there is a lot of noise, but very little signal. A quick Google search will reveal myriad options for an ‘admissions coach’ without offering much clarity on who is providing genuinely useful services. So how do you determine who to hire to help your child? If you’re reading this article, you’ll know we’re one of the companies offering college admissions coaching services. Our purpose here is to lay all our cards on the table and explain our business as we see it. We’ll cover why you may

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high school student receives college acceptance letter
Admission

When Do Admissions Decisions Come Out?

You’ve finalized your applications, completed the last edits to your essays, and made sure your recommendations and test scores have been sent in. As you click the button to submit, your college application journey has been completed. Now the long wait begins. January 1st, the deadline for many schools to submit the Regular Decision application, is seen as a terminus, the last step in a student’s college application journey. It is, however, a midpoint, with more to come. While the student’s work is complete, the application process itself has just begun, and now the work done by admissions officers kicks

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Admission

What Do Colleges Want in High School Grades?

Your grades in high school are important, and a big deal is made about them when you enter high school. “These grades matter, and will determine your future” is an oft-repeated phrase. How true is this phrase though? How much do grades matter? A great deal, as it happens. The majority of colleges consider success in high school as the most important trait when deciding on applications. But what grades look best, and how can you make up for weak performances in your grades? Improvement vs. Constancy The best kind of academic performance is continual success in the most challenging

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Admission

Discrimination Against Asian Americans in College Admission: Myths, Truths, and Paths to Success

Asian American parents and students often come to us with concerns about the admissions process. There is a common perception that being Asian hurts a student’s chances of being accepted into a top school, one not helped by lawsuits against Harvard and Yale which allege the same thing. Students and parents should not despair, however. Around 6% of America’s population is Asian, and around 20% of students at top colleges are Asian. It is clearly possible for Asian students to succeed, and in this guide we’ll break down myths about their paths to success, and some truths about how the

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College

Computer Science and Business Combine at UT Austin

Many of the students and parents who come to us at Ivy Scholars are torn between studying business and computer science. Both are growing and dynamic fields, with incredible potential for success. While some students choose to double major, or major in one and minor in the other, this merely gives an overview of both, without discussing or delving into the connections between the fields. A new program at UT Austin combines the best of both worlds, offering an honors program which merges the explorations of business and technology. As computer science and the internet of things continue to grow

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Admission

Should You Apply Early Decision II?

The first round of applications has come and gone, and now students wait with bated breath to hear the response from colleges while filling out applications for safety and secondary schools. While everyone hopes to get in early, some won’t be so lucky. As you work on additional applications, you may notice that some schools offer another round of Early Decision applications, known as Early Decision II (ED II). What’s the purpose of ED II? Should you apply for it? How will it affect your chances of admission? In this article, we’ll explore the answers to these questions and explain

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Uncategorized

A Guide to Financial Aid and Scholarships

With the cost to attend college rising remarkably over time, many families are wondering how they will pay for college. The purpose of this guide is to introduce and explain the various financial resources available for students and families when trying to pay for college, including financial aid and scholarships. Federal Financial Aid The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the backbone of financial aid for colleges. It determines whether students are eligible for federal aid when paying for college, allows them to sign up for loans, and is used by most schools to determine students’ eligibility for

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Legacy Admissions Guide
Admission

Legacy Admissions and You

Is the college admissions process fair? According to some, the admissions process is scrupulously fair; to others, it is intrinsically biased. In this article, we will attempt to explore some of the nuances in the admissions process, including the issue of legacy admissions.  Legacy Admissions: The Main Question What are legacy admissions anyway? As we touched on briefly in a previous article (How Colleges Judge Applications), legacy admissions are candidates whose parent or parents (or near relatives) attended the university.  This practice is often criticized, especially at elite institutions where legacies are most prevalent and conspicuous. The question then, given

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Admission

A Guide to the Common App

The Common App is the most widely used application portal by colleges, and while College Board does put out their own guide, this guide is mostly about implementation, and not best practices. The purpose of this article, in contrast, is to give you advice on the best ways to fill out your Common App: what colleges want to see in it, and how to make the best use of what is given to you. The process of applying to colleges can be stressful, but the existence of the Common App is one of the aspects which actively seeks to reduce the

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Admission

Test-Optional Colleges and You

As we’ve already discussed (twice even), the college admissions process has been heavily impacted by the Coronavirus pandemic. SATs were often cancelled, as were  ACTs, and many students around the country were unable to take any standardized tests at all. Those who did manage to take these tests often did so much later than planned, or in otherwise difficult circumstances. College Board requires  testing centers to abide by local Covid regulations, so not every student was affected in the same way.  In this article, we’ll examine how schools have responded, and how you should approach standardized testing, and submitting your

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5/5
Wendy Y.
Parent
Below is my son's review. He was accepted to his dream Ivy League school!

From an admitted student's perspective, I am incredibly grateful to have met Sasha - he has been instrumental in helping me achieve my educational dreams (Ivy League), all while being an absolute joy (he's a walking encyclopedia, only funnier!) to work with.

Many people are dissuaded from seeking a college counselor because they think they can get into their desired college(s) either way. Honestly, going that route is a bit short-sighted and can jeopardize your odds of acceptances after years of hard work. The sad truth is, the American education system (even if you attend a fancy private school and ESPECIALLY if you go to a public school) doesn't really tell students how to write a compelling and authentic application. Going into the admissions process alone, without speaking with an advisor, is like going to court without a lawyer - you put yourself at a significant disadvantage because you don't have all the facts in front of you, or the help you need to negotiate the system.

That said, you need a good lawyer just like you need a good college counselor. And that's where Sasha distinguishes himself from the crowd of people claiming they'll get you into Harvard. I came to Sasha worried about and frankly dumbfounded by the college admissions process. I was unsure what to write about and how to go about drafting the essay that perfectly captured my passion, interests, and self. And I was highly skeptical that anyone could really help me. But, damn, did Sasha prove me wrong. From the beginning, Sasha amazed me with his understanding of the process, and ability to lend clarity and direction to me when I desperate needed it. After interviewing me about my background, experiences, activities, outlook, and vision, he helped me see qualities about myself I had not previously considered 'unique' or 'stand-out.' This process of understanding myself was so incredibly important in laying the groundwork for the essays I eventually wrote, and I'm certain I would've drafted boring, inauthentic essays without it.

Looking back, Sasha's talent is that he can see where your strengths lie, even when you don't see them. The truth is, although we don't always realize it, everyone has a unique story to tell. Sasha helped me see mine, and with his big-picture insight I was able to write the application that truly encapsulated my life and vision. He inspired me to dig deeper and write better, challenging me to revise and revise until my essays were the most passionate and authentic work I had ever written. As clichéd as that sounds, that's really what universities are looking for. In retrospect, it makes sense - in the real world passionate (not simply intelligent) individuals are the ones who make a difference in the world, and those are the individuals colleges would like to have associated with their brand.

In the end, I was accepted to the college of my dreams, a feat I could not have achieved without the direction Sasha lent to me. Essays (and the personal narrative you develop through your application) matter so much, and can literally make or break your application. I have seen so many of my 'qualified' friends receive rejections because they wrote contrived essays that didn't truly represent who they were; conversely, I have also seen so many friends with shorter resumes accepted because they were able to articulate their story in a genuinely passionate and authentic way - I fall into the latter category.

As a former admissions officer at Johns Hopkins, Sasha knows what types of essays jibe well with universities, an invaluable asset to have in the admissions process. He is responsive, flexible, creative, positive, and witty. For anyone who is serious about going into the college admissions process informed and prepared, I highly recommend Sasha.
5/5
Arda E.
Student
I used Ivy Scholars to mainly help me with college applications. Within weeks of using this service, Sasha was able to simplify the already complex process. When it came to writing the Common App essay, Sasha didn’t just help with grammar and syntax, he brought my essays to life. Sasha also worked tirelessly to help solidify my extracurricular activities, including research and internship opportunities. Without his help, I would have never had an impressive resume.

Sasha is not only an extremely knowledgeable tutor, but also a genuine brother figure. His guidance, throughout my last two years of high school, was everything I needed to get me an acceptance letter from my dream schools (UC Berkeley, Tufts, Emory).

When it came to testing, Ivy Scholars worked like a charm. Sasha offered a very comprehensive plan when it came to completely acing my standardized tests. Without his test taking strategies I would have never gotten straight 5s on my AP tests and a 35 on the ACT.

Working with Sasha, I didn’t just become a good student, I became a genuine scholar.
5/5
Samson S.
Parent
We worked with Ivy Scholars during my son's senior year. I was concerned that we may be too late to take advantage of college advising but the Ivy Scholars team quickly and confidently directed us through the steps to ensure no deadlines were missed. Sasha's knowledge about schools, what they looked for in candidates, and how to maneuver the application process was invaluable. Mateo and Ryan worked with my son to help him create an essay that would get noticed and I am so appreciative he had their guidance.

Prior to securing Ivy Scholars, we tried using a less-expensive online service which was a terrible experience. As a parent, Ivy Scholars brought peace of mind to an area that was frankly overwhelming. This service was invaluable in the knowledge that we gained throughout the process. He has also met with my freshman daughter to provide guidance for her high school courses, career paths, extracurricular activities, and more.

Prior to signing with Ivy Scholars, I tried a less expensive online service and was very disappointed.

As a result of our work with Ivy Scholars, I am pleased to say that my son will be attending Stern Business School at New York University this fall! I highly recommend Ivy Scholars. Highly recommend!