Books and Ivy League Admission

Books in Ivy Admission, The Ivies and Reading, Reading for the Ivy League

Read books for pleasure. It’ll help your case for admission. But try to avoid book series like “The Hunger Games,” or books that every kid in America reads.

Here’s an observation we’ve made in our many years in the business of highly selective college admissions: College applicants just don’t read. We imagine this doesn’t strike you as too surprising. High schoolers not being voracious readers isn’t exactly news. But for applicants to highly selective colleges, reading is — as the NBA stars like to say — fundamental! Grant Hill knows where it’s at. After all, the man is a Duke University graduate! Students who want to gain admission to America’s top colleges should be avid readers. They should have an insatiable intellectual curiosity. They should love learning. And what better way to learn than to read? We don’t know a better way. Unless you’re David Boies, the master litigator who happens to be Dyslexic and so got through law school by essentially memorizing verbatim everything his professors taught him (as chronicled in Malcolm Gladwell’s latest book “David vs. Goliath”).

Over these summer months, we encourage high schoolers to read not only because it’s a good thing to do, because it’ll make you smarter, because it’ll keep you out of trouble, but also because it will help your case for admission to highly selective colleges. Highly selective college admissions officers aren’t impressed that you read “The Great Gatsby” or “Hamlet.” Everyone and their mother knows that F. Scott Fitzgerald and Shakespeare are required reading in high schools across America. You read required reading? What an intellect! What an insatiable appetite for learning! That was sarcasm if you didn’t catch our drift…

So spend the summer reading for pleasure. Try to avoid books like “The Hunger Games” or “Divergent” or “Twilight.” No, we don’t have anything against Lionsgate in spite of us just listing their three major movie franchises. We just want you reading books that everyone else isn’t reading. March to the beat of your own drum, as Henry David Thoreau would say. See what we did there? We got that from reading. You can too.


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