The Activities Ivy Leagues Want to See

The Activities Ivy Leagues Want to See

I’ve lost track of how many times parents have asked me: “What are we missing?”

You’re probably wondering the same.

Just when you start to feel confident about preparing your child for success, you hear through the grapevine that one of her classmates just got accepted for a summer internship. And you wonder, should we be looking for internships now, too? Is my child doing enough?

So you start to research pre-college summer programs, internships at local start-ups, community college courses. All the while, your child is juggling weekly volunteer commitments, 3 school clubs, and tennis practice.

I’ll let you in on a little secret. It sounds harsh, but it is the reality: Ivy Leagues are not impressed by your laundry list of involvements.

Two years ago, I had a parent reach out to me about her child — good grades, participated in anything and everything, passionate, yet she knew something was missing.

Immediately, I helped her get started on the following:

  • Identify her strengths, values, and passion
  • Use our discovery to create passion projects (that no one has EVER created)
  • Write the best college essay and application that is only UNIQUE to her

She got accepted into Cornell and Dartmouth.

I know that it works because we’ve done it over and over again. Accepted. Not rejected.

So here are THREE qualities to look for in choosing an activity for Ivy Leagues.

QUALITY #1: Explore your interests and passions

Do something you’re passionate about — that could be bullet journaling, learning a new language, photography, cooking, teaching, and many more. “Coding” is not going to help you stand out if that’s not what you’re passionate about. Do what makes you happy and come alive. Ivy Leagues are looking for bold students who strive for what they love, not what they think “other people” will deem as good enough.

QUALITY #2: Exercise your entrepreneurial spirit

When you graduate, you might see less and less 9-5 jobs. Our world is changing. Every industry is shifting.

Being entrepreneurial doesn’t mean that you’re running an online business or starting a lemonade stand.

Ivy Leagues want students who take calculated risks, exercise their creativity, learn from mistakes and setbacks, create something that people need, and get out there and network.

I had students create their own non-profit platform for female teens, start an online jewelry store, and host a free Kicking class for teens!

QUALITY #3: Make a direct impact (because YOU want to to)

What are you doing to make a direct impact? You don’t need to travel to India or China. Or anywhere international to make an impact. Start locally. Start small. Are you JUST saying that you want to change the world or are you REALLY getting out there and actually making an impact?

Is that speaking in front of hundreds of audiences about women education? Or tutoring 3rd graders in East Angeles? Or helping a student out with how to write and debate with confidence?

Make a DIRECT impact.

And this is all possible as soon as your child starts following the system that is proven. Not only once, but proven hundreds of time.

Remember, Ivy Leagues are impressed by passion in action.


By Julie Kim Ed.M Harvard University