Inventory Control: The Anatomy of an Ivy Application
Using a "typical" Ivy application as an example of what you can expect from this level of competition, then, let's take a look at what lies inside. This should help to give you some perspective on what it takes to go Ivy.
- The cover. Yes, you should even pay attention to the cover. Beyond its colorful layout and proud presentation of school crests and whatnot, you'll usually find some type of greeting from the director or dean of admission, perhaps on the inside of the front cover. There also may be additional specific instructions on the inside of the back cover, such as how to apply for financial aid. Ivy League applications always have their "Statement on Common Ivy Group Procedures" lurking somewhere. The cover's a good place for that. This is a kind of "how we operate" mission statement for the Ivy League schools.
- Part 1. In order to open a file on you, the admission offices need some general information about applicants and their family members. There are also questions about whether you're applying EA, ED, or RD, your ethnicity, citizenship, and prospective majors. Sending in Part 1 along with the application fee, gets the whole process started. Once they have a file on you, everything that subsequently arrives pertaining to your application will go into this file.
- Part 2. Now it gets serious. Part 2 starts to zero in on the applicant's specifics at almost every level. Required information includes academic data, the recommending teachers' names, major academic honors, AP courses taken, AP test scores, college courses, and SAT scores (I and II) and/or the ACT. You'll also need to list your interests and school-year activities, summer-activity history, and after-school jobs.
Of course, there are also the two teacher recommendation forms, the secondary school report, and the counselor recommendation form. You don't fill these out, but you do have to manage them, shepherd them, and observe the appropriate protocol (pre-addressed, stamped envelopes, courteous follow-ups, and hand-written thank-you notes, etc.). All of this is relative child's play when compared to [drum roll and fanfare] The Essays [muted gasps and muttering].
>> Next: The Challenge of Ivy League Essays