There’s an article up on “Yahoo Finance” today entitled “This perfect SAT scorer got rejected by the Ivy Leagues, but got on ‘Shark Tank’ and is now backed by Mark Cuban” that we figured we’d discuss with our readers. The article, written by Eugene Kim (a Columbia University graduate), focuses on a young man, Shaan Patel who recently appeared on ABC’s “Shark Tank” for his SAT tutoring business. We happened to see Shaan’s pitch and, unsurprisingly, we were none too impressed (along with four of the five sharks). There are tens of thousands of SAT tutoring companies and we failed to see why Shaan’s was unique.
His biggest claim seemed to be that he earned a perfect score so that qualified him to teach students the test. If you’re a regular reader of our college admissions blog, you know that there are tens of thousands of private college counseling companies too. And many are started by folks whose claim to fame is, “We earned admission to Ivy League schools…so too can you.” Or something like that. Just because you earn admission to an Ivy League college doesn’t mean you’re an expert at helping students beat colleges at their own game. Or just because you helped your son or daughter earn admission, it doesn’t mean you suddenly know everything.
A perfect SAT score is nice. But it’s not a guaranteed ticket to Ivy League colleges. Far from it.
Shaan didn’t earn admission to the Ivy League schools (or Stanford) when he applied as a high school senior. As we write so often on our blog, perfect SAT or ACT scores and perfect grades are nice…but so often students with perfect grades and scores get denied admission at the nation’s top schools. And why? Because they’re not interesting. Because they’re arrogant. Because they play into stereotypes. Shaan states in this piece, “So I’m pretty much every Indian stereotype rolled into one.” If the aspiring physician came across as stereotypical when he applied for admission to these universities, and we suspect he did, it surely hurt his case for admission. Stereotyping is a real thing. We all do it, even college admissions officers. Our students at Ivy Coach don’t play into their hand — we help our students differentiate themselves so they don’t in any way come across as stereotypical. And, in so doing, we help them overcome this discrimination at highly selective colleges.