Telling It Like It Is in College Admissions

Truth Telling in Admissions, Telling the Truth in Admissions, College Admissions Truths
If a student’s dream is Michigan and we think she can get into Duke, we will push Duke and we will push Duke hard. It’s a more selective school.

At Ivy Coach, we have a reputation for telling it like it is. In fact, America’s oldest college newspaper said as much: “Way to tell it like it is, Ivy Coach.” — The Dartmouth. So we thought we’d focus our post today on one of the ways in which we at Ivy Coach tell it like it is: school selection. Some students have unrealistic expectations of which schools they’ve got a shot at. Maybe some think they can get into Princeton but Tufts would be a big stretch. And then there are others who dream of UVA but we push them to apply Early to Duke, establishing a new dream.

Many Students and Parents Have Unrealistic Expectations About Chances of Admission

Do you know those stories people tell years after they graduate from high school that go something like, “My high school counselor told me I had no chance of getting into a top school. And yet I did. Shows what she knew! Never let anyone tell you that you can’t do something.” You know you’ve heard that kind of story. And the fact is those kinds of stories do happen because many school counselors aren’t experts in highly selective college admissions. Maybe they don’t know the kinds of activities admissions officers love to see. Maybe they don’t know that submitting no SAT Subject Tests scores isn’t going to score an applicant any points. Who knows. But there are other times when these school counselors are right. There are a whole lot of students (and parents!) with utterly unrealistic expectations.

We Tell Students and Parents the Truth, Even If They Don’t Want to Hear It

At Ivy Coach, we don’t tell students and parents what they want to hear just because it’s what they want to hear. We tell them the truth. If a student has no shot on God’s green earth of getting into Princeton with a 1200 SAT score, we’ll tell them as much — in those words. We won’t even add a touch of sugar to our delivery because if we made the mistake of doing so (we wouldn’t!), all they’d remember is the sugar. “You have no shot of getting into Princeton. Not on God’s green earth. But you’re so smart. And so talented.” Do you know what students and parents would remember? Only the sugar: “You’re so smart. And so talented.” And then they’d insist on applying to Princeton. We serve our coffee with almond milk and absolutely no sugar. Sugar can lead to diabetes, certain cancers, and college rejection.

We Help Students Get Into the Best Schools Possible

Over the years, we’ve upset countless students and parents by pulling off that bandaid and telling them the God’s honest truth. But in our experience, the savvy ones are upset for a day and then they get over it and do everything they can to optimize their case for admission to the best possible schools to which they can earn admission. But we’ve also surprised countless students and parents by telling them their dreams aren’t high enough, that they can get into an Ivy League school even though they are under the false impression it’s an impossibility. We’d conjecture that over the years, we’ve pushed just as many students up in their school selection as we’ve pushed down. But we’re just as proud of the students we pushed down. At Ivy Coach we help students get into reach schools…but not impossible reaches, although every now and then we make impossible dreams come true, too — notably at Stanford. There are exceptions to every rule.


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