The Ivy Coach Daily

May 1, 2018

A Word on Admissions Development Cases

The peanut gallery is so very silly (photo credit: John Phelan).

Parents interested in Ivy Coach’s services often write in to us inquiring what it takes to be a development case. For those unfamiliar with the term “development case,” these are college applicants whose parents donate significant funds to a university. The funny thing is that most parents significantly underestimate what it takes for their child to be considered a development case. These parents also don’t seem to realize that when you have no ties to a university and you donate funds to said university all as your child applies for admission, well, if you think it smells like you’re trying to buy your way in, you smelled right. Oh, yes, it can backfire! Now don’t get us wrong. Colleges will accept those donations. They’ll even send ’thank you’ notes. Maybe they’ll be handwritten. But that doesn’t mean it’ll help the donor’s child’s case for admission to that very school.

Underestimating the Development Case Magic Number

We know our loyal readers have been waiting with bated breath for us to respond to the story that landed Ivy Coach on the cover of the Sunday edition of “The New York Post” alongside Sarah Jessica Parker’s battle with Kim Cattrall. Oh how we tease, we know. But, in the meantime, we figured we’d respond to the oh so silly peanut gallery that presumed we serve as an intermediary between families and colleges in donating money. Clearly these folks have a few loose screws in their common sense because if they took the time to think about it, it wouldn’t make any sense at all. We proudly — and very openly — work exclusively behind-the-scenes.

If a college knew that a private college counseling firm — any private college counseling firm — was helping a student earn admission to that very college, it would not serve that student’s candidacy. Any college counselor that doesn’t work exclusively behind the scenes, well, isn’t good at all. Our students at Ivy Coach wouldn’t earn admission year after year if colleges knew we — or any college consultant — was advising that student. Think about it. Why would a college admissions officer root for a student who paid a steep fee in order to improve their case for admission?

One of the key reasons why our students at Ivy Coach overwhelmingly earn admission to their dream schools is because we help make them likable. We inspire admissions officers to want to root for them, to go to bat for them. Who would root for an applicant who paid a college consultant — no matter their fees — for help? The reason we’re good at what we do is because admissions officers — who so often reach out to us for employment opportunities after their time working in admissions offices — don’t know we had a hand in our students’ applications.

So when the oh so silly peanut gallery presumes that we serve as an intermediary between families seeking to donate money and college development offices, they just don’t get it. We don’t give a portion of our fees to colleges. No, no. That’s ridiculous. The math doesn’t even add up. You see, parents would have to donate a whole lot more money than our fee of $1.5 million in order to improve their child’s case for admission to highly selective colleges. And with Ivy Coach’s track record over 25 years in which 100% of our students earn admission to one of their top three college choices and 93.5% earn admission to their top choice college, why would they donate money to colleges when they can just use our services? This didn’t happen to cross the minds of the peanut gallery.

One last thing. Over the years, we’ve given advice to families on how to navigate the process of making donations to college development offices but it may surprise our readers to know that the vast majority of prospective clients who even mention the words “development case” don’t end up becoming clients. And why? Well, these folks often either underestimate what it takes to be considered a development case or they’re just, well, full of (cereal) and bluster. Lastly, people with money are quite often smart. Why would they donate to colleges when they could pay Ivy Coach a whole lot less to give their child the best shot possible of earning admission to the best school possible? …Bueller. Bueller.

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