Ivy Coach’s tagline is “Toward the Conquest of Admission.” But we thought long and hard about an alternative tagline when we were coming up with that one. If we had gone with an alternative tagline, it likely would have been something like, “We help make you interesting.” And that’s because helping to make students interesting is a big part of what we do. Are there tricks in the college admissions process — with courses, grades, testing. Of course there are. And more. We teach our students how to optimize their chances for admission by beating colleges at their own game with their coursework, testing, and more. But a big part of the highly selective college admissions process comes down to telling your story. And the fact is that the stories of most students just aren’t all that interesting.
That’s actually putting it gently. Most students — yes, even the ones applying to the very best schools in America — are entirely boring. They’re no different than fifteen other students in their classroom. They may have stronger grades. They may have stronger scores. But they’re boring. They’re in National Honor Society (whooot, whoot! — sarcasm, yes). They play the oboe. Maybe they compete in Science Olympiad. ZZZzzz. But we find the weird in our students. We find what makes them stand out, what makes their story not only interesting but compelling too.
We are proud to help make our students interesting. It’s a big part of our secret sauce at Ivy Coach. And our sauce is delicious.
In many ways, we Hollywood (used here as a verb of course) our students. In Hollywood, when you pitch a television show, you’ve got about twenty minutes to make your case for why this project should be purchased by a network, why it deserves a shot to make the air. And just like in highly selective college admissions, they’re looking to pass on the pitchers. They’re looking to say “no.” The “yes” is the exception. Just like in Hollywood pitches, a student’s only got a few minutes to make his or her case to an admissions officer. So in those few minutes, they’ve got to stand out. They’ve got to be interesting.
We know a thing or two about selling television shows. Brian of our firm has sold quite a few over the years — like this one to ABC based on a short story by F. Scott Fitzgerald or this one to FX about the Underground Railroad or this one to NBC inspired by “Freakonomics” or this one to MTV based on the first mystery in American history (Roanoke Island of course!), among many others. And we know a thing or two about highly selective college admissions too. And we’d say that there are a whole lot of commonalities. It always, always, always helps to be interesting. At Ivy Coach, we help make our students interesting. We sure do.