A love of learning and Ivy League admission are intimately tied. Ivy League admissions counselors seek students who enjoy learning for learning’s sake. They aren’t interested in students who are interested in learning to secure great grades, great letters of recommendation, and a fat envelope to college. A love of learning is, quite simply, something you can’t hide. Ivy League admissions counselors can discern an applicant who loves to learn from an applicant who loves to get top notch grades.
Maybe it’s a line or a word in a teacher letter of recommendation. Maybe it’s something like, “Michael works very hard to master lessons from chemistry class to excel on exams.” Or maybe it’s something more subtle like, “Getting good grades is important to Michael.” Or maybe it’s even more subtle — something like, “Michael’s work in my biology class is summed up by his test scores. He is an excellent test-taker.” If you think that subtle last line is positive, know that it’s not. An Ivy League admissions officer will likely interpret that line as though the teacher is trying to convey something not directly stated.
If you want to gain admission to an Ivy League college, you’ve got to love learning and you’ve got to convey this not only in your college essays (where you should show though not tell) but also to your teachers, your guidance counselor, and in your extracurricular activities. Ivy League colleges don’t want students who work hard for the grade. They aren’t interested in grade grubbers. They’re interested in admitting students for whom learning comes easily and who have a deep passion for learning. It’s something Ivy League admissions counselors are looking for in each application that they review. And that’s something that’s not going to change anytime soon. A love of learning matters in the Ivy League admissions process. Big time.