College Admissions Consulting Firms

Admissions Consulting Firm, College Consulting Firm, University Admission Consulting Firm

Mr. Wonderful gave us a good idea.

We’re sometimes — though not often — asked during free consults, “Why should I work with Ivy Coach instead of another private college admissions consulting firm?” The folks who ask this question likely didn’t do their homework on Ivy Coach because if they did their homework they’d know that we’re only interested in working with people who are interested in working with us. And if after we’ve answered several of your questions, you still insist on asking this question, it’s probably not the right fit. The free consult is as much for us to glean whether you’re the right fit for us as it is for you to glean that we’re the right fit for you. Some folks seem to only think it’s a one way street, that we need to sell. We have zero interest in selling. If you don’t want to work with us, don’t.

Parents who ask us on free consults why they should hire Ivy Coach likely didn’t do their homework. Because that question implicitly asks us to sell. We won’t sell. And we’re quite open about it.

But after watching a recent episode of “Shark Tank,” we have a new answer to this question. An entrepreneur recently asked investor Kevin O’Leary (a.k.a. “Mr. Wonderful”), “Why do I want to make a deal with you?” Kevin’s response was something along the lines of, “I have tremendous experience in licensing. You can only wish you could make a deal with me.” At Ivy Coach, we have a tremendous amount of experience — a quarter century’s worth — of helping students gain admission to the colleges of their dreams. We optimize their chances of admission, so they can get into schools that they wouldn’t otherwise get into.

That’s our new answer to why you should hire Ivy Coach over other private college admissions consulting firms. Thanks Mr. Wonderful! And if folks don’t like our answer, we won’t lose any sleep over it. Not a wink.


Advantage of Early Decision

Early Decision Advantage, Early Action Advantage, The Advantages of Applying Early Decision

Any information out there that applying Early is only to the advantage of recruited athletes and legacies is patently false.

Some parents come to us around this time of year in the hope that their child won’t make mistakes in the highly selective college admissions process that will hurt their case for admission. For most of these parents, their children have already made a major mistake. And that mistake is that their child didn’t apply Early Decision or Early Action. Just take a look at the data, through our compiled Ivy League Statistics. The odds of getting in during the Early round are so much more favorable than in the Regular Decision round. It’s apples and oranges. To not use your Early Decision or Early Action card, and to not use it wisely by applying to a reach school but not an impossible reach, is to not take advantage of one of the few cards that a college applicant has in their back pocket.

Many assert that Early Decision or Early Action is only great for athletes and legacies. These folks couldn’t be more wrong.

When we tell parents that this was a mistake not to apply Early Decision or Early Action, they sometimes tell us that they heard it’s harder to get in during the Early round, because so many athletes and legacies and such are applying then too. They sure are. Recruited athletes are often admitted in the Early round. And the same is true of legacies. But that doesn’t change the fact that when a non-athlete, non-legacy applicant applies Early and shows a school his or her unmatched love for that university, that university will show the applicant back a whole lot more love than if he or she simply applied Regular Decision. The odds of getting in for that non-athlete, non-legacy are so much stronger in the Early round and any information out there to the contrary is patently false.

Another line we hear quite a bit from parents is that students weren’t able to commit to a school in the Early round, that they wanted to apply to a bunch. And what do we have to say to that? Your child is going to have to commit to one school, in the end, anyway so he or she might as well do it in the Early Decision / Early Action round when the odds are, to paraphrase from “The Hunger Games” (coming off its worst box office opening this past weekend) “ever in your favor.”

Hope to avoid making other major mistakes in the highly selective college admissions process? Fill out our free consult form and you’ll receive a reply from Ivy Coach within the day.

Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton

Woodrow Wilson and Princeton, Princeton and Woodrow Wilson School, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs

Woodrow Wilson was a graduate of Princeton University. But some students are not pleased that his name remains ubiquitous on the Princeton, New Jersey campus.

Many colleges are proud of their associations with American presidents. Columbia University, Occidental College, and Harvard University are proud of their association with President Obama. Harvard University and Princeton University are proud of their association with President Kennedy. Harvard and Columbia are proud of their association with Theodore Roosevelt. Columbia University is proud of its association with President Eisenhower (he happened to be a president of Columbia). The list goes on.

But is Princeton University proud of its association with President Wilson? Woodrow Wilson attended Princeton as an undergraduate and the university’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs is renowned. But could this highly respected school within Princeton be renamed in near future? It seems this might well be the case as racial unrest sweeps college campuses (and with unrest at Yale University at the center of the media’s attention in particular).

According to a piece on Princeton’s association with Woodrow Wilson in “Reuters” by Dominick Reuter, “Princeton University has pledged to consider renaming buildings dedicated to former U.S. President Woodrow Wilson in the latest U.S. campus effort to quell student complaints of racism by tweaking names, titles and mascots. A deal top administrators signed late Thursday with student demonstrators ended a 32-hour sit-in outside Princeton President Christopher Eisgruber’s office. At about the same time, a threat against the university triggered a campus-wide safety alert but on Friday was ‘deemed not credible,’ school security officials said. Protest organizers at the Ivy League university in New Jersey urged Princeton to remove Wilson’s name and image from its public spaces and from its Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. Wilson, the 28th U.S. president from 1913 to 1921, was a leader of the Progressive Movement but also supported racial segregation, which was part of public policy at the time, particularly in southern states.”

What do you think about this deal that administrators at Princeton have signed? Do you think that the university should rename all buildings associated with its alumnus, President Woodrow Wilson, the man who guided America through World War I? Or do you believe President Wilson was simply a man of his times? We’re curious to hear from our readers on this controversial subject.


Ivy League Champions

Ivy Champs, Ivy League Championships, Ivy Titles

Congratulations to Dartmouth College and Coach Buddy Teevens on their 2015 Ivy League football title.

Update: Harvard University and the University of Pennsylvania each won their games today as well over Yale University and Cornell University, respectively, joining Dartmouth College as 2015 Ivy League champions.


The team that plays with robots (in practice) to reduce concussions is changing the game of football. And today, they’re also Ivy League champions.

Congratulations to the Dartmouth College Big Green on their Ivy League football title earned this afternoon. As reported by “Dartmouth Sports,” “The 6,208 fans in attendance got to witness the first Ivy title for Dartmouth (9-1, 6-1 Ivy) since 1996 but 18th overall, more than any other school in the Ancient Eight.” The University of Pennsylvania is currently up 34-14 on Cornell University, so it looks like the Quakers will claim a share of the title too. Harvard University also will have a shot to claim a share of the Ivy League crown — though they still have work ahead of them, with The Game (Harvard vs. Yale) on their docket today. With the University of Pennsylvania’s upset over Harvard University last week, that set the stage for a chance at a three-way tie for the title.

Even though Harvard beat Dartmouth in a tightly fought contest and even though Dartmouth beat Penn, the Ivy League crown is based on record within Ivy League play alone — and not based on wins against opponents. So that’s why Dartmouth is an Ivy League champion and why Penn and Harvard can be Ivy League champions too. If you’re wondering the last time there was a three-way tie for an Ivy League football title, the year was 1982 and the champions that year were…Dartmouth, Penn, and Harvard. So not much has changed.

Princeton was leading through almost all of the game today against Dartmouth, carrying a 10-7 lead into the 4th. Dartmouth would then tie up the score, intercept a pass, and set up a Dartmouth touchdown (after a fumble on this possession that was recovered by the Big Green athlete who would score on the next possession). With the Dartmouth victory today, the Big Green maintained its stronghold on Ivy League football titles in history. Had Dartmouth lost and had Harvard won, Dartmouth and Harvard would be tied for the most Ivy League football titles in league history. But with the Dartmouth win, Dartmouth can claim this distinction on its own — whether Harvard wins later today or loses.

Note that we predicted that Dartmouth College would claim the Ivy League crown this year during the college football preseason. We may have also predicted that the Big Green would upset the Crimson, but they sure did come close in that contest in which they led the whole way — until the final thirty-eight seconds. So we’ll call it a win.

Yale Early Action Admission Numbers

Yale Early Action, Yale EA Applications, Yale 2020 Statistics

Single Choice Early Action applications to Yale are down this year from last year, albeit marginally.

Ivy Coach is featured today in an article of “The Yale Daily News” entitled “Early applications show increased diversity” written by Jon Victor. The article focuses on the Yale Early Action admission numbers for the Class of 2020. Early Action applications to Yale University were down slightly this year, with the school receiving 4,662 applications under their Single Choice Early Action policy. For the Class of 2019, Yale received 4,693 applications, representing as Victor writes “a marginal drop.”

What we happened to notice was that the Yale University press release was quite defensive about this marginal drop in applications. Indeed, the release reads: “As always, the Admissions Office is less interested in the total quantity of applications received, and is more interested in the quality of those applications and the diversity of backgrounds, experiences, and interests reflected in the pool.” Uh huh. Of course colleges like Yale care about recruiting a diverse class. But you can bet they also care about the number of applications they receive.

As we are quoted in the piece: “Brian Taylor, director of Ivy Coach, a New York-based college consulting firm, said the increased diversity of the pool shows that Yale’s outreach efforts to minority students have been effective. He also noted that a school’s early application numbers are important for college rankings such as the list published by U.S. News and World Report, which factors acceptance rate into its rankings. He pointed out that Yale’s early acceptance rate has increased in each of the last three years. The early acceptance rate for the class of 2017 was 14.4 percent, while for the class of 2019 it was 16.0 percent.” An increase in acceptance rate isn’t what Yale is aiming for, though it does seem they are making great strides at increasing the diversity of their class under the leadership of Jeremiah Quinlan.

Applying to One College

Apply To One College, Early Decision Advantage, Early Action Advantage

There’s a piece in “Insider Higher Ed” how many students are only applying to one college.

Thinking of applying to one college or to twenty colleges this college admissions cycle? There’s a piece up on “Insider Higher Ed” entitled “Most Freshmen Apply to One College, Data Suggest” that we figured we’d write about on the pages of our college admissions blog. For loyal readers of our blog, they know our position on applying to colleges — apply Early Decision or Early Action. By applying Early Decision or Early Action, an applicant’s odds of getting into his or her dream college are so much stronger. Just take a look through our compiled Ivy League Statistics through the years. The data tells the full story, better than our analysis of it ever could.

So maybe so many students are applying to only one college because we’ve been successfully getting the word out over the years. Maybe. Maybe not. According to the piece, “Two-thirds of college freshmen who applied for federal student loans or grants last year indicated that they were applying to only one institution, according to new data released by the U.S. Department of Education on Thursday. Sixty-eight percent of freshmen filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid during the 2014-15 academic year instructed the Education Department to send their information to only one college, the department said. That’s down from 80 percent in the 2008-09 school year. The Obama administration called the new data ‘troubling.’ ‘By focusing on only one school, students run the risk of being turned down for admission or losing out on better financial aid and educational opportunities from another school, with ramifications that can last a lifetime,’ Education Secretary Arne Duncan said in a statement.”

If our Secretary of Education disapproves of the trend of students applying to only one college, the Secretary of Education should scrutinize misaligned incentives.

But Secretary Duncan, with due respect, have you considered looking through the statistics at the highly selective colleges — for the Early Decision / Early Action round as compared to the Regular Decision round? If you did so, you’d know that the incentives are misaligned. Just like in real estate, with brokers. The more you pay for a house, the more your own broker gets. “Freakonomics” taught us this. Well, the incentives are misaligned with respect to applying to one school as compared to many schools, too, if you think about it. Perhaps, Secretary Duncan, instead of lamenting the problem, you should propose a viable solution if you truly believe it to be a problem. That’s just our two cents.

2020 Dartmouth Early Decision Numbers

Dartmouth Class of 2020, Class of 2020 at Dartmouth, Dartmouth Early Decision

Early Decision applications to Dartmouth climbed 2% this year for the Class of 2020 over last year’s record.

The numbers are in for Dartmouth’s Early Decision Class of 2020. No, not the number of students who’ve been admitted. Only the number of students who submitted applications to the College on the Hill. Dartmouth experienced a 2% increase for the Class of 2020 from last year’s total for Early Decision applications. And last year’s Early Decision pool, for the Class of 2019, was the largest in the history of Dartmouth College.

As referenced in “The Dartmouth,” “Students admitted through the early decision process comprised 41 percent of the Class of 2019. While a decade ago this figure was about 35 percent, it has been closer to 40 percent for the past several years. The number of early decision applications has increased every year since 2006, with the exception of a 12.6 percent drop in the number of early applications for the Class of 2017. Over this time, the number of applicants has increased from 1,287 to 1,859.”

There were some scares a couple of years ago when applications dipped for the Class of 2017, but these sorts of things happen every now and then. Yale’s Early Action applications are down this year. But only marginally. As we’ve long said on the pages of this blog and to every Ivy League newspaper, slight dips such as these are no reason for colleges to get bent out of shape and start second guessing their recruiting tactics. But there was no slight dip at Dartmouth this year. Rather, there was indeed a slight application uptick.

But does more applications mean it’ll be more competitive? Not necessary. Think about it this way: Does a C student with a 26 ACT score applying to Dartmouth make it more difficult for students to get in? No. Not in the least. So application numbers don’t tell the full story. They never have. But that doesn’t mean colleges don’t want to see those application numbers go up every year. They sure do — no matter what it is the colleges may say.



Harvard Dean of Admissions

Harvard Admissions Dean, Dean of Admissions at Harvard, William Fitzsimmons

We at Ivy Coach admire Harvard Dean Fitzsimmons’ straight-shooting approach (photo from “The Crimson”).

Harvard’s longtime Dean of Admissions & Financial Aid, William Fitzsimmons, has added his voice to the growing chorus of voices skeptical of the new Coalition for Access, Affordability and Success. Dean Fitzsimmons has always been a tell-it-like-it-is admissions official (much like Penn’s Eric Furda) and we echo his comments, as voiced to “The Crimson,” that question how the Coalition for Access will actually make it easier for low-income students to access highly selective colleges such as Harvard University.

As quoted in “The Crimson,” “Fitzsimmons said he has repeatedly opposed the coalition’s strict conditions for membership, which he said include a graduation rate above 70 percent within six years and a demonstrated commitment to financial aid. According to Fitzsimmons, a major advantage of the Common Application is that it is available for all colleges to use, allowing students to apply to a variety of schools more easily. ‘We hope the coalition application would recognize the stress that many high school students are under, and take the bureaucracy out of applying to colleges so students could focus on which college would be the right match,’ Fitzsimmons said. He is leading a task force on the coalition’s membership criteria, he added, and will advocate for opening the application to all schools.”

At Ivy Coach, we firmly believe that the Coalition for Access will make it more difficult — not less difficult — for low-income, disadvantaged students from accessing highly selective colleges. The whole application process, one that will be drawn out over four years, will require more work, not less. It will require more college admissions counseling, not less. It will require more access to computers, not less. How pray tell will this serve underserved students? The logic is misguided if you ask us. Dean Fitzsimmons may have had to be a bit more political than us in his comments, since he is the dean of admissions at one of the now member institutions of the Coalition for Access, but he’s essentially saying the same thing. And that says something.

Most Militarized American Universities

Militarized American Colleges, Militarized American Schools, Militarized American Universities

At Ivy Coach, we have a long and proud tradition of helping select veterans of our nation’s military earn admission to the highly selective colleges of their dreams. And we’ve long been outspoken about which highly selective colleges we believe to be supporters of the military and which highly selective colleges we believe could aim to do better (although, frankly, every college in America could do more to help our veterans). In that spirit, “VICE NEWS” has released a ranking of the 100 most militarized universities in America and we thought we’d cherry-pick the selective or highly selective colleges from their ranking to highlight for our readers.

George Washington University, Johns Hopkins University, Georgetown University, University of Virginia, American University, University of Southern California, Villanova University, Georgia Institute of Technology, Carnegie Mellon University, Harvard University, Boston University, University of Texas at Austin, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cornell University, Syracuse University, University of Pennsylvania, Stanford University, Duke University, Michigan University, Northwestern University, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, and New York University are our cherry-picks from that list.

“VICE NEWS” believes Harvard, Penn, Duke, Stanford, Cornell, and MIT to be among America’s most militarized universities.

And if you’re curious how “VICE NEWS” arrived at this ranking, here is their methodology: “The 100 schools named in these rankings produce the greatest number of students who are employed by the Intelligence Community (IC), have the closest relationships with the national security state, and profit the most from American war-waging. These rankings rely on a unique dataset of more than 90,000 people who have worked in and around the US Intelligence Community since 9/11.”

So surely smaller universities that are very military friendly are at a disadvantage in terms of “VICE NEWS'” ranking. The fact of the matter is that a smaller school isn’t going to have as many students — much less as many students joining our intelligence community — as compared to a big school like the University of Michigan.

College Application Month

National College Application Month, November and College Applications, November and College Admissions

President Obama has named November National College Application Month.

President Obama has labeled the month of November to be not Movember (if you see a lot of folks sporting mustaches during the month of November, it is no coincidence) but rather National College Application Month. But President Obama has been President of the United States for several years now and November has always been one of the key months in which high school students across America complete their college applications. Why now?

Maybe it’s because his eldest daughter, Malia, is applying to colleges this year. But unlike the vast majority of parents of overachieving students, we have a feeling President Obama isn’t too stressed out about this. After all, highly selective colleges are coveting the daughter of the American president. Sometimes people need that personal connection in order to take action, even executive action.

Is it a coincidence that President Obama has named November National College Application month the same year in which his eldest daughter is applying for college admission?

As reported by Mary Stegmeir on the NACAC blog “Admitted,” “After backing efforts to streamline the FAFSA and make information about colleges more accessible to the public, Obama went a step further. The commander-in-chief issued an official proclamation last week declaring November National College Application Month. ‘This month, let us strive to expand access to quality higher education for all people and to make real our nation’s promise of opportunity,’ Obama said in his announcement. ‘…I call upon public officials, educators, parents, students, and all Americans to observe this month with appropriate ceremonies, activities, and programs designed to encourage students to make plans for and apply for college.'”

Do you think President Obama’s personal connection to the college admissions process this year led him to dub November National College Application Month? We sure do.

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