The Hidden Key to Successful Ivy League College Essays

The HIDDEN key to successful Ivy League college essays

Most parents and students tend to think that the students who get accepted into their dream colleges and Ivy League schools write essays that only demonstrate their accomplishments, academic endeavors, and lofty future goals.

But, let's face it, that's what everyone will write about.

However, there is a secret that my students, who have successfully been accepted into their dream colleges, have used in their essays.  So what is this “hidden key”?

It all comes down to vulnerability.

julie kim consulting

It’s about opening up about the real struggles that your child has been through. Or, if your child hasn’t gone through any significant struggles, it’s OKAY to open up about their feelings surrounding anything personal to them, including: not feeling good enough, having a lack of confidence, always feeling behind, jealousy, the struggles of popularity, peer pressure, or anything else that means something to them!

Then, have your child list 2-3 actions that they took to overcome their struggles, hardships, insecurities, failures, etcetera.

If you turn to your son or daughter right now and ask, “Hey, what are you struggling with?”
They’ll most likely say something like, “Mom, stop it. I don’t have any insecurities. I’m not struggling with anything”

Think again.

Even something as small as losing your Chess Club Secretary election, earning $0 from your fundraising idea, getting a B — even after pulling an all-nighter, etc. can have a profound impact on a person.

Drop your ego and think again. That is your child’s action step for this week.


By Julie Kim Ed.M Harvard University