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How to Apply to an Ivy League University

What’s the first step in applying to an Ivy League University?

Applying to an Ivy League school is a very in-depth process that requires tremendous preparation. The first thing to consider is that you should have developed a strong extracurricular resume throughout high school that reflects developing a clear academic narrative, strong leadership, and a tremendous commitment to the community.

If you’re considering applying to an Ivy League school, here are the preliminary steps we recommend:

  1. The first step is to thoroughly research the specific requirements and processes for each Ivy League university that you’re interested in. Each of the eight Ivy League schools (Brown University, Columbia University, Cornell University, Dartmouth College, Harvard University, University of Pennsylvania, Princeton University, and Yale University) have their own essays, interview protocols and each school is very different in its own ways. Understand each Ivy League college’s unique offerings, programs, and campus culture to determine which ones align with your academic and personal goals.
  2. Next, evaluate your academic achievements, extracurricular activities, awards, honors, leadership roles, community service, and any other accomplishments. Be honest about your strengths and weaknesses to determine your competitiveness as an applicant and begin working on strengthening any weak areas in your academic profile.
  3. Ensure that you have taken challenging courses, continue to earn top grades at school, and continue building your extracurricular profile to showcase your dedication and commitment to your education, community and intellectual growth.

The Ivy League application process

The process of applying to Ivy League schools is similar to  applying to other highly-ranked colleges in that you apply through the Common Application and then complete the school-specific supplements. Please note that each college has different supplemental essays and that you will have a lot of essays to write if applying to Ivy League and other top-ranked colleges. The distinguishing factor remains that Ivy League schools have extremely low college admission rates making it that much more critical to stand out as a prospective applicant.

One of the most impactful ways of standing out is by having a stellar Common App essay and school-specific essays. Some of the Ivies’ school-specific essays are specifically looking to see your ability to add to their communities. You will need to explain what you will be interested in doing when you get to their college and how you will benefit your peers in and outside of the classroom. A lot of prompts will inquire about ways that you’ve handled diversity and Ivy League admissions officers will want to see that you are able to see the world from many perspectives. The following is a brief outline of the remaining critical components of your application process:

When should you start applying for Ivy League colleges?

Looming deadlines can feel intimidating, especially when you are trying to accurately pace yourself as you move through each component of your college application. To set yourself up for success when applying to Ivy League schools, it’s important to utilize a calendar more than ever. Create a detailed timeline for yourself that outlines all your important deadlines for your applications. Allocate specific timeframes for each task to stay on track!

Simplify the Ivy League College Admissions Process With Spark

Here at Spark, we know exactly what the Ivy League schools are looking for, as you can see from our longstanding college acceptance results. We aim to help you throughout the extensive college preparation process, which we recommend beginning as early in high school as possible. Getting into an Ivy League school requires plenty of preparation, and we are here to help set you up for success. The right resume is the most crucial part of an Ivy League application. We will also help you craft essays that will help you stand out and will help the Ivy League colleges see you as someone who they would want on their campuses. If you are looking for greater guidance from a knowledgeable expert, reach out to connect with one of our college consultants here for a free initial consultation.

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