The Ivy League is an athletic union of American educational institutes based in the northeastern United States, including Harvard, Yale, and Columbia University. Many people mistakenly believe that MIT and Stanford are members of this union. While we refer to these institutes in this article, they are not.

There are a number of factors that will determine your acceptance into the Ivy League or other elite institutes. Here we will discuss the best approach. Let’s start with your GPA.

GPA requirements

Of course, your GPA is a mainstay of your application. But is your app a house of cards without it? Not necessarily. Why are some students turned down with a 4.0 GPA, while others with a GPA less than 3 are accepted? Because the value of the courses you took is often of equal value to your result. Because your application must demonstrate an extracurricular pedigree.

Your record in school must show academic rigor; don’t go for the easier courses. A prescribed high school pathway with 4 years of core subjects, English, math, and science, is best complemented by 4 years dedicated to history and foreign language learning.

That brings us to extracurriculars.

Those damn extracurriculars

Meet John. John has a 2.7 GPA and equally unremarkable SAT scores. Although John was never the best student, he excelled in sports, taking over as captain of his baseball, basketball, and soccer teams, winning awards for his athletic ability. It is these strengths that secured his place at Harvard. Meanwhile, many thousands of students are rejected each year with outstanding academics.

Stories of a sub-3 GPA turned Harvard graduate are the exception, but there is a moral to this story. If two students are the same academically, universities, like employers, will choose the candidate who has held leadership roles or has shown an extracurricular peak. Without these features, your application will be lost.

Financial help

Unfortunately, you will have to factor in the cost to attend the school of your dreams. Fortunately, however, the world’s most prestigious schools often boast the largest financial aid donations. Think Harvard, which has a financial aid budget of $ 172 million. This aid is reserved for students whose parents earn less than $ 60,000 per year. The net result means that the cost of attending actually matches or exceeds 90% of other colleges. Before preparing your FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) application, you will need to know your situation.

What about Reach Schools?

Colleges with low admission rates, including Harvard and Yale, are considered ‘Outreach Schools’. A ‘Party School’ is one that has a high probability of acceptance. Identifying outreach schools and correspondence schools is smart future planning.

Perhaps your heart is determined to attend Yale. You can dream of being published in the Yale Law Review before one day of running for Congress. Students negotiate a path to their dreams every year. Similarly, there are students who fail to achieve their dream school without Plan B. Identify other institutes with a prestigious record of graduating the finest minds in their field.

Graduate success

When creating a short list of schools, it is wise to assess the success of the graduate students they are likely to experience. Let’s take MIT. While the US economy is struggling and jobs are alarming, MIT bucks the trend. Studies show that only 20% of students find employment upon graduation. Yet MIT students do better than the national average, and on-campus hiring remains prevalent.

However, the idea that your graduate success depends solely on your education is wrong. History is shaped by those who defy the rules and define their own route. Whether it’s a rejection from Harvard, Warren Buffet, or a rejection from Princeton, Ted Turner. So you don’t have to graduate from the Ivy League to be successful … But it helps.

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