by Neil Chyten
If it were easy to get into Ivy League colleges, then there would be nothing special about them. It is the very difficulty of getting in that makes everyone want to get in. Considering the numbers, unless your child has an extraordinary talent or world-class accomplishment, it is unlikely that he or she is going to get into Harvard. However, your child can become the type of student that Harvard, along with other top colleges, is looking for. He can provide top colleges with a reason to choose him over the thousands of other applicants that are all vying for the same prized seats.
In the powerful Hollywood legal drama “A Few Good Men,” protagonist Tom Cruise famously taunts antagonist Jack Nicholson for “the truth,” to which Nicholson powerfully responds, “You can’t handle the truth!” It is one of the most powerful and memorable scenes in Hollywood history. Yet, the same confrontations between hopes, dreams, and the truth play out across the country on a regular basis in scenes featuring hopeful-yet-unrealistic parents and the counselors they hire to “get my kid into Harvard.” So, if Jack Nicholson is correct and you can’t handle the truth, well it’s time for you to click another website because what follows is the truth, no matter how hard it may be to hear, and even more, to accept.
Disclaimer: The following paragraph contains striking images that some might consider to be objectionable.
This year, Harvard received over 57,000 applications for 1600 seats. Of those 1600, approximately 600 are reserved for students with special talent in fields such as music, sports, acting, writing, as well as for those with striking accomplishments such as Olympic gold medals, best-selling books, creation of multimillion dollar corporations, or ideas that have left indelible mark on the world before the age of 20. The rest of Harvard’s applicants are students with striking academic records. Many are valedictorians of their schools, have perfect GPA and SAT scores, and 10 or more perfect AP scores of 5. You would certainly think that your valedictorian child would be a sure bet for Harvard, until you consider the fact that there are far more high schools in America than there are seats in Harvard’s incoming class. Now, let’s add to this group of US-based super-achiever students all the other students from all around the world who also believe they are sure bets to get into Harvard. There are 195 countries in the world and Harvard likes to take students from most, if not all, of them. Further, no one applies to Harvard unless they feel they have a reasonable chance of getting in, based on the fact that they are extraordinary students.
So, considering these numbers, unless your child has one of these extraordinary talents or accomplishments, it is unlikely that he or she is going to get into Harvard. No matter how many guarantees are out there, the truth is that there is no such thing as a Harvard guarantee and anyone that tells you there is, or that says that they have insider information that will propel you directly to the top of the long list of applicants, is lying to you. If your child is a 12th grader with a 3.0 GPA, a 1440 SAT score, no Olympic gold medals and no other extraordinary talents or accomplishments, he’s not going to get into Harvard, and no one can change that! I would love to tell you something different, but that is the truth. Not even a $10 million contribution can change that. If you don’t belong, then you don’t get in. Conversely, if your child possesses all the requisite numbers, skills, and accomplishments, he certainly can boost his chances by presenting himself in the best possible light.
Of course, I cite Harvard merely as a representation of all top colleges. The same holds true for all the big-name colleges that populate your dreams and kitchen table conversations. But there is another side of the story. There are lots of students who have all the qualifications needed to get into these top colleges. In fact, there are far more students with these amazing resumes and transcripts then there are seats at top colleges. In other words, there are lots of students who deserve to get in but who will not, simply because there are not enough seats. For these students, the difference between success and rejection will be how you present yourself to colleges through your application, through your perseverance, through your recommendations, and through your interview.
The Keys to Success
The most important point of all is that, if you are currently an underclassman, you do have an opportunity to boost your personal profile to an Ivy League level. When it comes to applying to top colleges across America, time, and an experienced college admission consultant, are your most important assets. You can become the type of student that they are looking for. You can provide top colleges with a reason to choose you over the thousands of other applicants that are all vying for the same seats. So, the truth may be hard to swallow or it may provide a wake-up call to a greater opportunity than you can possibly imagine. The moment you enter high school, your life is an open recording that cannot be erased. If you make the best use of your time and demonstrate vision, persistence, and skill, you too can wake up sleeping among the Ivies.