Here is our list of strategies to increase your chances of getting in to an Ivy League university:
Study like you’ve never studied before
One way that the Ivy’s weed out candidates is by eliminating those who have not excelled academically. If you are aspiring to study at an Ivy League university, your marks need to be impressive. Find a tutor, ask your teachers for extra credit assignments, and make sure you get plenty of sleep (or at least some sleep. High school is hard).
Prepare well for the SAT
Some of you will have taken the NBT and if not, you will be familiar with the concept of standardized testing. Don’t underestimate the SAT though - there are helpful study guides online, and you should spend some time doing several SAT practice tests before the main event so that you are familiar with the way that the questions are asked. SAT questions are designed to trick you, and you’ll need to practice to feel comfortable with them.
Think about your extracurricular activities
Because there are thousands of students who are applying with extremely high marks, one of the things that admissions officers look for are impressive extracurricular activities. Things like volunteering, part-time work, or interesting hobbies are all things that you should include in your application and will provide you with potential material for your admissions essays.
Speaking of the essay
Aside from your marks and the SAT, your essays are one of the most critical parts of your
application. Spend a lot of time on these, and don’t just put your CV in essay form. Rather, think about what you’re passionate about, and remember that you don’t have to have “change the world” dreams to make your essay appealing. All the reader wants to see is that you’re passionate about impacting whatever niche you choose to study in. If you’re stuck coming up with ideas, email us! We have a team member on hand who can help you conceptualise your ideas and edit your essays to perfection.
Testing and the NCAA: If necessary, retake the SAT or ACT. Create yourself a profile on the NCAA website and check if you have taken all the correct courses. The admissions testing policy for colleges vary, with some requiring the SAT and ACT optional section. To be safe, you should always do the optional test sections.
Resumé: You want to constantly be updating your resume. This is handy when filling out applications and preparing for admissions interviews.
Apply: Create a profile on the Common Application website and fill out the application carefully. Ask your parents or school counsellor to look over your essays critically. The essays are one of the most important parts of the application and will be the admission officer's opportunity to differentiate you from the other applicants. We also are able to provide you with first-rate essay guidance, so feel free to reach out and ask us for more information.
Scholarships: Check with each university for financial aid eligibility requirements, as well as application deadlines as they do vary. Speak to the sports coaches and see what scholarships they may be able to provide you with.
Choose your College: Tally all of your college acceptances, analyse the various factors that may sway your decision such as cost, scholarships, degree choice, college rank, athletic division and then confidently make your choice by sending in your deposit.
Make sure you explore leaderships pursuits that interest you but at the same time will add value to your resume. For example: Organise a fundraiser for the Soweto Golf Club.
Ask two teachers and your coach to write your letters of recommendation. You should provide them with a list of your academic, sports and community service achievements which will help them write better letters.
The SAT and ACT scores matter, so talk with your school counsellor about which one to take. We recommend taking the SAT in Grade 11 and again in grade 12. If you want to study a STEM degree, the SAT Subject Tests are recommended.
Building your college list:
Once you have received your test scores, convert your high school marks to a GPA and start researching college requirements. Once you have a list of colleges that you are eligible to attend, narrow this list down to schools that have your top 3 desired degree fields. For assistance, you can speak with one of our agents, or there are many apps to aid your research.
From May to September USA colleges go on summer vacation. This is the ideal time to visit Universities. To do a college campus tour go to their website and contact the admissions offices to book a tour. During the tour make sure to talk with your guide and have a list of questions to ask during the info session. This will give you a good feel for the school, and don't forget to send a thank you email.
Be sure to clean up your Facebook, Instagram and other social media profiles. College coaches and admissions officers will review the content, and if deemed to be inappropriate, offers and scholarships will be rescinded.
Make sure to keep an eye out for the grade 12's to do list next week.