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Articles / Applying to College / Is Being From Wyoming an Ivy Hook?

Is Being From Wyoming an Ivy Hook?

Sally Rubenstone
Written by Sally Rubenstone | June 20, 2007

Question: I live in the middle of nowhere in Wyoming. Will that help me get into an Ivy League college?

The party line that you'll get from most admission officials is "No." They'll tell you that, statistically, your chances of admission are about the same, whether you hail from Wyoming or Washington D.C., Nevada or New Jersey.

But we disagree. Granted, simply having an "Equality State" address alone won't be enough to earn you a fat letter from a hyper-selective school. BUT, if your grades, tests, and other accomplishments put you at least in the ballpark, then your location may be the "tip factor" that gets you through the Ivy gates.

So what about those statistically even chances? Well, sure ... perhaps the percentange of students accepted from Wyoming each year isn't very different than the percentage from, say, New York or New Jersey. But what the stats may NOT tell you is that the Northeastern applicant pool is typically so incredibly, mind-bogglingly strong that those candidates who made the cut in Wyoming might not have had the same killer SATs, GPAs, AP results, etc. that their East-Coast counterparts did.

Moreover, simply being "from the middle of nowhere" can be a hook as well. If you go to a tiny high school or one that rarely sends students to the Ivies, then you'll get some extra attention at admission-decision time, even if you live in a state that IS much represented in Ivy admission pools.

So, contrary to what you may hear from admission big-wigs, it CAN be a plus to be from the middle of nowhere in Wyoming, but just don't rely on geography to play too big a role in your admission outcomes.

Written by

Sally Rubenstone

Sally Rubenstone

Sally Rubenstone knows the competitive and often convoluted college admission process inside out: From the first time the topic of college comes up at the dinner table until the last duffel bag is unloaded on a dorm room floor. She is the co-author of Panicked Parents' Guide to College Admissions; The Transfer Student's Guide to Changing Colleges and The International Student's Guide to Going to College in America. Sally has appeared on NBC's Today program and has been quoted in countless publications, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Weekend, USA Today, U.S. News & World Report, Newsweek, People and Seventeen. Sally has viewed the admissions world from many angles: As a Smith College admission counselor for 15 years, an independent college counselor serving students from a wide range of backgrounds and the author of College Confidential's "Ask the Dean" column. She also taught language arts, social studies, study skills and test preparation in 10 schools, including American international schools in London, Paris, Geneva, Athens and Tel Aviv. As senior advisor to College Confidential since 2002, Sally has helped hundreds of students and parents navigate the college admissions maze. In 2008, she co-founded College Karma, a private college consulting firm, with her College Confidential colleague Dave Berry, and she continues to serve as a College Confidential advisor. Sally and her husband, Chris Petrides, became first-time parents in 1997 at the ripe-old age of 45. So Sally was nearly an official senior citizen when her son Jack began the college selection process, and when she was finally able to practice what she had preached for more than three decades.

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