IvyAchievement helps you optimize every part of your application! The undergraduate application process for colleges in the United States is far from simple. There are many factors and “moving parts” that need to be coordinated. On this page, we break down the different parts of the application and explain how IvyAchievement can make the process smoother.
Not all schools or students will require all services. Our packages are designed to fit a range of budgets and family needs.
Most American colleges consider all coursework completed throughout high school (9th through 12th grades), plus any national/international board exams. Scores and board exams in 9th, 10th, 11th, and 12th grade matter! Colleges also evaluate the rigor of an applicant’s curriculum and prefer students who take challenging courses.
Throughout high school (beginning in 9th grade), we help students choose classes and streams in order to fit their academic interests and college admissions goals. We can also provide English-language enrichment if necessary.
During the application process, we help students explain weaknesses in their academic record and guide them on how to present their academic achievements in the best light possible. A former admissions officer can review academic records to identify any issues. We also guide students on selecting AP (Advanced Placement) exams. For students who attend high schools that do not provide standard transcripts, we can produce transcript templates.
Nearly all American colleges require the SAT or ACT. International students must also usually take an English proficiency exam such as TOEFL or IELTS. Most top colleges (for example all Ivy League colleges) require or recommend SAT Subject Tests.
Throughout high school, we advise students on scheduling tests at optimal times. We also guide students on selecting test preparation resources and optionally provide tutoring services.
During the application process, we advise students on reporting requirements and help decide which scores to send. We also help students balance test preparation with academic requirements, extracurricular activities, and college applications.
American colleges (and many outside the United States) expect high school students to pursue intellectual interests outside the classroom, develop personal skills, and engage in physical activity such as sports. Top colleges also value leadership experience and community/social service.
Throughout high school, we guide students to ensure they have a complete and impressive extracurricular profile. Drawing on our experience, we help students choose activities that both fit their interests and stand out to admissions officers. We also advise students on research topics, connect students with internships and volunteering opportunities, and offer advice on academic/extracurricular balance. In addition, an experienced coach can help talented athletes in the recruitment process.
During the application process, we help craft a resume (CV) and advise students on how to describe their activities for maximum impact in the limited space they have (just 150 characters for most activities). We have assisted hundreds of students with thousands of activity descriptions! Additionally, former admissions officers can offer expert insight into which activities truly stand out.
Almost every American college requires at least one essay, typically of 500 to 650 words. This essay is different from the “statement of purpose” required by colleges in other countries. Most top colleges require additional, school-specific supplementary essays. Applying to the top 20 schools ranked by U.S. News & World Report requires students to write around 40 unique essays between 250 and 650 words. These essays often involve creative writing and literary analysis.
Throughout high school, we can advise students on how their experiences might ultimately translate into application essays. We also guide students to resources that can help improve their English writing skills. During the application process, experienced writing specialists (many with advanced degrees) work with students to develop interesting and unique essay topics; provide paragraph-by-paragraph outlines for students to work with; discuss improvements to structure, tone, content, and writing mechanics; edit essays for grammar and clarity; and conduct a final proofread to help students avoid embarrassing and harmful errors. Invariably, students we work with become better writers and are more prepared for college!
Many American colleges, including almost all top colleges, require letters of recommendation, usually one from a school counselor and two teachers. Most colleges accept letters of recommendation from coaches, employers, and other mentors and supervisors, and some colleges even ask for letters of recommendation from peers!
Throughout high school, we can advise students on developing relationships inside and outside the classroom that can lead to outstanding letters of recommendation.
During the application process, we help students choose which teachers and mentors to request letters from. Often, teachers ask students to draft a letter of recommendation for them; we can advise students on the content of recommendation letters and provide sample letters of recommendation from students who were admitted to top colleges.
Many top colleges, including all Ivy League colleges, interview their applicants. Interviews are typically 20 minutes to an hour long (sometimes longer) and are conducted by the school’s alumni.
Throughout high school, IvyAchievement professionals offer perspectives as alumni of top colleges. Students from all different backgrounds become comfortable speaking with us and often find that their interviews are more natural as a result.
During the application process, we help students prepare for interviews, including conducting mock interviews. Often, students are able to prepare for a particular interview with an alumnus of that school (for example Harvard, Yale, Stanford, and Columbia).
Many colleges accept music, dance, and visual arts portfolios, even from students who are not applying for arts programs. Several colleges also accept compilations of scientific and other academic research. Colleges that recruit athletes usually ask for practice and game footage for evaluation purposes, especially when students and/or coaches cannot travel for in-person evaluation.
Throughout high school, we guide students on which skills best complement their profile and encourage unique projects that can be used for portfolios. Professionals with experience in science publication evaluate and offer feedback on research.
During the application process, professional artists and experienced musicians help students curate their arts portfolios; scientists and engineers review research; and veteran coaches evaluate footage.
Hundreds of colleges offer need-based and merit–based financial assistance. To be eligible for awards (even purely merit-based awards), students usually have to fill out one or more forms such as FAFSA, CSS PROFILE, ISFAA, and/or a school’s own forms. Usually, some supporting documentation is required.
Throughout high school, we guide students on developing skills and selecting areas of focus that could make them eligible for scholarships. We also advise parents on expected expenditures on the application process and help families get an idea of the total cost of college attendance. We can provide referrals to financial planners if desired.
During the application process, we assist families with financial aid forms and review supporting documents. For complicated cases, we also provide referrals to professional accountants experienced in college financial aid application preparation.
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