Rohan Ganeriwala Founder

Here’s a thought that bears repeating about getting into Ivy League and so-called Top-25 schools: It’s harder than you think and it takes long-range planning.  There is an incredible crush of applicants for the top schools.  They’re the ones with the lowest acceptance rates.  Although there are many quality colleges and universities in the United States, every year a disproportionate number of high school students from across the world  try to get into a very small group of schools.  You’ll need several essential tools for success at the top: a strong strategic admissions plan, an outstanding student profile, and good advice along the way. Here’s the part where a multinational educational consultancy firm like Collegify comes in.  At Collegify, we look to mentor students of class 9,10,11 and 12 and assist them with their applications abroad. We also coach them for GRE/ GMAT/ SAT/ SAT 2/ AP/ IELTS/ TOEFL. We are a group of alumni from MIT, St Andrews, Babson College, Rutgers University, Oxford University, Singapore Management University amongst others, and we look to actively make a difference in the lives of our students.

We have an excellent track record, and our students have received scholarships worth over $10 million this year from Delhi alone. Some of our best admits include Boston, Brown, Carnegie Mellon, Darthmouth, Emory, Georgia Tech, NYU Stern, UCLA, Upenn, Bath, Kings College London, LSE, St. Andrews, Warwick, Yale NUS etc.

A good, general, long-range college admissions plan might look something like this (suggestions for both students and parents):

The elementary years: Encourage reading and broad-range interests.  Look for signs of special talents.  Get involved with your school’s guidance program.  Start developing computer skills.

Middle-School Years: Continue reading at all levels.  Begin to emphasize writing and general communication skills.  Watch for emerging leadership traits.  Increase involvement with teachers and administrators.

Ninth Grade:

GPA and class rank begin to accumulate.  Schedule only the most challenging courses.  Excel in academics and extracurricular pursuits.  Don’t waste summer.  Students in 9th and 10th can look into Collegify’s career mapping program. Here, Collegify helps students understand the prospects of studying abroad after high school. It creates a road map for all students as to what should be incorporated in their academics and extracurricular activities to get them into the Ivy League.

Career Mapping

  • Identify Career Interests
  • Exploring Subject Options
  • Discussing Career Prospects
  • Identifying Country Interests
  • Knowledge Building regarding college applications
  • Discussion on profile, filling the gaps

STANDARDISED TESTS

There are mandatory exams like the SAT 1 and TOEFL to be given for students applying to colleges in U.S. The SAT1 is an assessment of the student’s mathematical and verbal proficiency and primarily in the multiple choice format. It is 2400 mark paper. An Ivy League college will definitely require a SAT score of 2200 and above.

TOEFL stands for Test of English as a Foreign Language. It is the most widely accepted English Language exam to check an examinee’s proficiency and comfort in understanding, listening, speaking, and writing English.

SAT 2 are one hour tests on specific subjects. The SAT 2 has 22 separate tests covering five subject areas like math, history, literature, science and languages scored on a scale of 200-800. Not all schools require subject tests, but it’s mandatory for most top schools. And they specify the number of subject tests i.e two or three. Please check the individual college website for the SAT2 requirement. The subject tests opted for should be in tandem with the basic study program you would like to opt for i.e. science or humanities.

You may be surprised to learn how many applicants to America’s top colleges have scores approaching perfection on the SAT I.  An equally surprising number also have perfect 800s on their Subject Tests.  Now, don’t give up just because your scores are not in this range.  There are a number of things you can do to improve your score.  The SATs, especially the SAT I, can be coached.  If you are unsatisfied with your score, you can improve it through some structured study.  Collegify also offers comprehensive preparation for exams like SAT II, PSAT and AP. Add these to your regular SAT preparation to have that extra edge during your college applications. Collegify has trained students like Rachit Parasrampuria ( attending Brown university) with a SAT score of 2400. He was also accepted in Cornell and Colgate with full scholarship. There are a great deal of students from Collegify who have secured a score of 2300 and above. Few of them in 2014 were Angad Singh who got a SAT score of 2370. He is attending University of Chicago and was also accepted in Yale-Nus, Vanderbilt and Emory

The Advanced Placement Exams (AP)

The AP exam tests cover more than 30 university level courses that are taken by high school students to improve their chances at getting admission into an Ivy League college. Taking AP exams and scoring in them is a sure shot way of impressing college admission counselors as it indicates the child’s preparedness to take on challenges as well his ability to handle college level course work. AP exams in India are offered in 24 subjects like World History, Human Geography, English language and Composition, United States History, Computer Science, Calculus, Statistics, Environmental science, Chemistry, Biology, Physics, Psychology, Macroeconomics, Microeconomics, etc.

ACT

American College Testing is an alternative to SAT 1. Like the SAT, it is a paper and pen test, for college admissions in the USA. It is scored out of 36 points. There are four sections English, Math, Reading and Science.

Essays

Here’s the weak link in many college applications.  It’s unfortunate because the essay can tip the scales when a college is trying to decide between two otherwise equally qualified applicants.  Some students don’t put much thought into their essays.  This is a big mistake.  Essays are crucial.

Most applications for competitive colleges ask the applicant to write a reasonably significant essay (in the 500-750 words range) about what is usually a broad topic.  What colleges are looking for in the essay is an insight into how well the student thinks and how well s/he can articulate a point of view.  Colleges require applicants to submit a personal statement, which is literally an essay about you. This may be the one chance the admissions committee has, to get to know who you are and what you will contribute to their student body. As such, the essay is an extremely important part of your application.

The main requirement for writing a convincing essay, aside from a command of the English language is to be who you really are.  Find your “voice.”  Your voice is that writing style that lets your readers “hear” who you are.  The key to finding your voice is to forget trying to write what you think the admissions people want to hear.  Write what you want to say.  Relax and make your essay approachable.  Some application essays are so stilted they are painful and embarrassing to read.

You are more than the sum total of your test scores, school marks, and other achievements. You have a unique personality, sense of humor, funny little habits that only your best friend knows about… the personal statement is your chance to make an impression, to demonstrate the special qualities that make you you. The strongest applicants are those who have the strongest stories, the Mentors at Collegify help you transform life experiences into powerful narratives.

FINANCIAL AID

Fortunately some Ivy league colleges are Need Blind colleges. This means an applicant’s ability to pay has no effect on his admission. If the applicant is good enough to be selected, he will be accepted into the college regardless of his ability to pay the fee. Most colleges are Need Blind only for domestic students. Some Ivy league colleges which are Need Blind for international students are : Harvard, Princeton, Yale and Dartmouth. Harvard and Yale are committed to meeting 100 percent of admitted students demonstrated financial need. Families with income between 65000 and 150000 dollars are expected to pay zero to ten percent. Families with annual income over 150000 dollars are expected to pay proportionally more.

There are Need aware colleges too for international students. There are various parameters considered before being given financial aid. Usually, the strongest applicants in terms of academics, SAT scores and profile make the cut. Collegify understands your need for a scholarship and maximizes your chances of procuring financial aid. Our students have received over $15 million in scholarships in 2014 alone! One of our students Shalmoli Halder from Kolkata is attending Yale University with 100 percent scholarship.

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