Who ACTUALLY gets into Ivy Leagues?

Who ACTUALLY gets into Ivy Leagues?

Do you think that Ivy Leagues are students with straight A’s and perfect SAT scores with pages and pages of extracurriculars and accomplishments?

If you said yes, I’ve got news for you…

Ivy Leagues reject more near-perfect and perfect applications than they accept! (This is straight from a Harvard admissions officer!)

What they’re really looking for is something much more valuable…

Ivy Leagues want personality.

Here’s an example from a current Harvard senior, Catherine Zhang:

“In high school, I was one of those self-righteous students who derived significant esteem from not being like other other Asians…I liked to insert myself into conversations I didn’t belong to, an outspokenness my teachers interpreted as showing independent thinking and bravery…There were 1,556 seniors in my graduating class and I wanted to be an individual”

That’s the kind of personality that schools like Harvard crave.

And by the way — if you’re curious about Catherine’s high school stats, she didn’t have the perfect SAT scores and not to mention several B’s. (And, she’s Asian).

The best thing that you can let your high school teens (who is aiming for Ivy Leagues) do is to let them explore their interests, express their beliefs, share their perspectives, learn new skills, read more books, and give the freedom to find their passion and calling.

Through the process, students gradually or even quickly solidify their identity and personality.

Just like Catherine Zhang.

The Ivy League admission officers don’t make mistakes.

The Ivy League admission officers can detect hidden potential.

The Ivy League admission officers can whiff out the inauthentic list of activities, college applications, and essays.

That’s why with my Ivy League-bound high school students, we don’t “fake” anything. I don’t have them create “show it all” projects because I know for certain that that’s not going to work.

Will your child be the applicant who demonstrates the personality that Ivy Leagues are looking for? Or an applicant with a list of random activities? 


By Julie Kim Ed.M Harvard University