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Want to go Ivy League? 4 Must Haves for Your High School Transcript

Private school is a popular choice for students who dream about attending an Ivy League college or university, but it isn’t the only thing that top candidates do to improve their chances at acceptance. Here are four things you need to focus on throughout high school if you want to pursue admission to some of the best Ivy League colleges and universities.

Excel Academically

This should be a no-brainer tip for students aiming to enroll at top colleges. Focusing on your classroom studies is crucial for success, both in terms of demonstrating strong grades on your transcript and for mastering the subject matter at hand. There have been studies that in order to best prepare for the workload that is expected at an Ivy League school, students should focus on truly mastering the material, and not just temporarily memorizing concepts to ace an exam. Some students will also focus a lot of attention on their standardized testing scores, and while acing these exams won’t hurt you, they aren’t always a necessity. Not every school requires SAT or ACT scores, and even those that do will typically look at your overall academic profile. Not hitting the median scores of applicants doesn’t immediately rule you out of the running for admittance.


Show Your Passion for Life Beyond School

Whether it’s athletics, arts, or academics, most likely you have one or two passions that drive you to go above and beyond. Use this passion for life to demonstrate your greatest strengths that will set yourself apart from the typical college applicant. Find a way to showcase this strength, and use it to your advantage. If you’re a debate champion, entrepreneur, or aspiring politician, share these interests and how you’re pursuing them. More importantly, let the Ivy League schools you’re applying to know how your strengths can benefit them, and how you envision pursuing this passion with the resources available to you at the school.


Set Yourself Apart from the Crowd

Knowing that you’ll have to compete with other top candidates means that you need to stand out from them. Likely, there are others who excel in the same areas as you, so it’s also important to look at other aspects of your life that make you unique and set you apart from others. This doesn’t have to be an area that requires significant achievements, but rather just a cool fact about you. Do you have a unique hobby or cultural background? Perhaps you’re the first generation to attend college or the only person to pursue scientific studies when everyone else in your family excels in the humanities. Maybe you work a job to help save money for college, volunteer regularly, or have held exciting internships that relate to your desired major. Whatever it may be, share interesting details about yourself to make yourself more memorable to the admission committee.


Demonstrate that You are a Good Citizen

While it’s important to be awesome at what you do, it’s also important that you demonstrate good character traits. Being a good citizen means that you fit into communities well, and know how to be supportive and caring. Many top colleges pride themselves on building student bodies that care and will do great things in the world, and showing your ability to be a good citizen will go a long way to help in the admission process. Talk about volunteer work you do, how you’re involved in your school and your local community, and the ways in which you want to be involved at college.


While nothing can guarantee acceptance at an ivy league school, these four things can help you improve your chances at getting into the school of your dreams. Just remember, all of these tips require a long-term commitment to excellence, and aren’t one-and-done tasks that you can simply tick off your checklist. Hardwork and dedication will definitely pay off in the long run.

Stacy Jagodowski

Written by Stacy Jagodowski

Ms. Jago joined the Cheshire Academy community in August 2013 as the director of strategic marketing and communications. Prior to coming to Cheshire Academy, she spent six years working in communications offices at both colleges and private school, as well as five years in admission at both boarding schools and day schools.

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