Admission to Ivy League

Ivy League Admission, Admission to the Ivies, Ivy Admission

A former Yale University professor thinks applicants to highly competitive colleges like the Ivy League are…sheep (photo credit: Namkota).

A former Yale University professor, Bill Deresiewicz, told Stanford students that they, like their Ivy League counterparts, are “hoop-jumping, teacher-pleasing sheep.” According to the Stanford Daily’s take on Deresiewicz, “Elite university education is deficient because admission criteria are more than 100 years old; what admission offices look for in an applicant today is the same as what they looked for in 1905. ‘I think that the multicultural meritocracy today is no different from the monocultural aristocracy 100 years ago,’ Deresiewicz said. ‘We’re becoming ossified and complacent and self-congratulatory. We need to transcend ourselves.'” Deresiewicz believes that the process of gaining admission to Ivy League colleges and other highly selective universities is distinctly flawed.

In fact, Deresiewicz believes that students have become “pathologically busy,” which he describes as doing “a million things” to impress university admissions counselors. He wonders how they have time to sleep. He thinks the need to do so many activities has only increased in recent years. But we at Ivy Coach beg to differ. You don’t need to do “a million” activities to gain admission to Ivy League colleges or to another highly selective university. You may only need to do one activity. Ivy League admissions counselors as well as counselors at elite universities like Stanford don’t want to see a slew of activities that a student did for a weekend last year. They would prefer to see a real passion and commitment in one activity.

Wolak, Janelle. “Talk Compares Students to Sheep.” Stanford Daily. 13 April 2011. Web. 16 April 2011.

Check out our blog on Ivy League admissions statistics and Ivy League admissions rates.


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  • Jake says:

    I think I’m one of the sheep! What does Professor Deresiewicz propose as a solution?

  • Hank says:

    I wonder why so many people still think admission to the Ivy League is about doing a ton of activities. They couldn’t be more wrong!

  • Marilyn says:

    I know…the well-rounded student is what warranted Ivy League admissions years ago. Not these days.

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