How To Get Into Ivy League Schools

Getting into an Ivy League school or a top-tier college is a highly competitive process, and there’s no guaranteed formula for success. However, it is a holistic review process, and there are several key components that can significantly enhance your chances. Keep in mind that these are general guidelines, and each college may have its unique criteria and priorities.

  1. Academic Excellence:
    • High GPA: Maintain a rigorous course load and strive for a GPA in the range of 3.8 to 4.0 (on a 4.0 scale).
    • Standardized Tests: Score well on standardized tests like the SAT or ACT. While some colleges are moving towards test-optional policies, a strong test score can still be a valuable asset.
  2. Extracurricular Activities:
    • Diversity and Depth: Participate in extracurricular activities that genuinely interest you, rather than trying to accumulate a long list. Admissions officers value depth and dedication in your chosen activities.
    • Leadership Roles: Take on leadership positions within clubs, teams, or organizations, as this demonstrates your ability to make an impact.
    • Passion Projects: Pursue personal projects or hobbies that showcase your creativity, dedication, and commitment to your interests.
  3. Community Service:
    • Meaningful Involvement: Engage in community service or volunteer work that aligns with your values and interests. Consistent involvement over time is more impactful than sporadic efforts.
    • Leadership: If possible, take on leadership roles within community service organizations or start your initiatives.
  4. Awards and Achievements:
    • National and International Recognition: Win awards, competitions, or honors related to your field of interest. These can include science fairs, writing contests, music competitions, or sports achievements.
    • Local Recognition: Local awards and recognition can also demonstrate your excellence and dedication.
  5. Recommendations:
    • Strong Letters of Recommendation: Build strong relationships with teachers, mentors, and supervisors who can write compelling letters of recommendation on your behalf.
    • Diversity of Perspectives: Choose recommenders from different areas of your life to provide a well-rounded view of your character and abilities.
  6. Application Essay:
    • Unique Personal Statement: Write a compelling personal essay that showcases your personality, experiences, and values. Be authentic and use your voice to tell your story.
    • Proofread and Edit: Carefully proofread your essay to ensure it is error-free and effectively communicates your message.
    • Seek Feedback: Ask teachers, counselors, or mentors to review your essay and provide constructive feedback.
  7. Interviews (if required):
    • Prepare: If interviews are part of the application process, practice your interviewing skills. Be ready to discuss your experiences, goals, and why you are a good fit for the college.
  8. Demonstrate Interest:
    • Campus Visits: If possible, visit the campuses and attend information sessions or tours. This shows your genuine interest in the college.
    • Supplemental Materials: Submit any additional materials requested by the college, such as portfolios for art or music programs.
  9. Early Decision/Early Action:
    • Consider applying through an early decision or early action program if you have a clear first-choice school. These programs can increase your chances of admission. Make sure to understand the differences between the two before submitting your applications.
  10. Financial Aid and Scholarships:
    • Be sure to research and apply for financial aid and scholarships offered by the college or through external organizations.

Remember that admissions decisions are holistic, and each Ivy League school or top college has its own priorities and values. While these guidelines can enhance your application, it’s essential to be genuine, showcase your unique qualities, and choose colleges that align with your goals and values. There are hundreds of great colleges out there! Make sure to do your research to understand what type of environment you’d like to be a part of for the next few years. Lastly, don’t be discouraged by rejection; the college admission process is highly competitive, and there are many excellent schools where you can thrive.

The admissions process is confusing, to say the least. Contact a college admissions expert from Gooroo to help ease the process. Our tutors offer help in essay writing, college selection, interview preparation, resume editing, and much more! Get into your dream school with the help of a Gooroo!

About the Author



Sadia is an experienced STEM and college advising tutor at Gooroo. Gooroo is a tutoring membership that matches students to tutors perfect for them based on their unique learning needs. Gooroo offers math, English, ESL, Spanish tutoring, and more.