If you’ve been traveling lately by air, you may have noticed Ivy Coach featured in “Alaska Airlines Magazine” in a piece by Lora Shinn entitled “College Bound.” In the article, our Founder, Bev Taylor, is quoted as saying that applicants to highly selective colleges must tell a story. What we at Ivy Coach do is help that student craft a more compelling story. And the story isn’t just reflected in the admissions essays. It’s in the letters of recommendation, the activities, the grades, the test scores…you name it! It tracks throughout the application. Bev is also quoted as saying that applicants have to be likable. Too many students are arrogant and brag throughout their admissions essays. Too many students are grade-grubbers and letters of recommendation reflect this. Colleges want students who love learning for learning’s sake. They don’t want grade grubbers. Nobody likes a grade grubber.
In admissions essays, as Bev is quoted as saying, it’s important to write about a small moment in time. “Too many students turn the essay into an activity sheet and end up talking about everything they’ve been involved in, or spending time patting themselves on the back, or writing a cliche topic.” Don’t do that! The best essays are closer to being about nothing than they are about something. Remember the show “Seinfeld”? “Seinfeld” was one of the most successful television series in history. It was a pillar of NBC’s “Must See TV.” And it was about absolutely, positively nothing. College essays should take inspiration from “Seinfeld.”
Bev is also quoted as saying that students should help shape their letters of recommendation from guidance counselors and teachers. Don’t just let them send in a letter on your behalf. Too often, these letters are utterly generic. Sometimes, they don’t even bother “find and replacing” the names so the name Tali might end up in a recommendation for Sam. At Ivy Coach, we help our students help their teachers and guidance counselor craft powerful letters that stand out from the pack.
Check out the piece in “Alaska Airlines Magazine” (linked above) for more helpful tips!