Ivy League Admissions

So you want to go to the Ivy League, huh? As Pink Floyd says, “Welcome to the machine.”

Every year, legions of highly qualified and not-so-qualified applicants knock at the admission doors of these eight great schools. There is much information about Ivy League admissions, but the best place to start is with the Web sites of these elite institutions. Visit these sites and carefully review them. There’s a ton of pertinent facts, figures, and photos to be had, so take note. Here are the links:

Princeton  Harvard  Yale  Columbia  Dartmouth  Brown  Penn  Cornell

The history of the Ivy League (it started as an athletic conference) can be found by searching for “Ivy League history” on Google or any other of your favorite search engines. Also, be sure to check out our own Ivy League College Discussion area for a wealth of Ivy-related insights.

I’m sure that you’re aware of how exceedingly competitive schools like these are. Never forget that you must constantly be aware of the sometimes-arbitrary nature of college admissions. You already may have read the posts in College Confidential’s discussion forums about the students who are rejected year after year from their first-choice schools for no apparent reason. I mention this only to underscore the point that, in most cases with the top schools, and especially the Ivy League, there is no such thing as a “sure thing” when it comes to getting in. You simply have to keep a reasonable perspective.

This past year was, without doubt, the toughest year ever for elite college admissions. Many seniors with near-perfect SAT Is, Subject Tests, ACTs, etc. were either denied or waitlisted. I find this situation difficult to rationalize. I mention these things not to discourage you but, rather, to prepare you for what lies ahead: a significantly challenging admissions process. The coming years will be increasingly tougher, mainly among the Top-25 colleges and the Ivies.

Want more insights?  Check out Many Paths Lead to Ivy: Wise Advice from the Pros and Ivy Success Diary: From Nowhere to New Haven.

So what’s your point, Dave? Well, my point is that at the top, it’s much harder than you may think. You need to adjust your thinking. You’ll probably also need a more substantive plan than just “My [parents, school counselor, friends, etc.] and I think I have a good shot.”

Where can you get the information you need for this new way of thinking and planning?  Answer: You’re already here: College Confidential.  Best wishes for your college quest!