While the league shares a long tradition of academic excellence, exclusivity, and a set of admissions protocols that relate mostly to athletics (such as an Academic index that all Ivy athletes have to meet), the eight Ivies remain very distinctive institutions.It is hard to imagine how to write a Common Application essay that simultaneously speaks to Columbia’s focus on the intellectual value of a core curriculum, Brown’s notion that such value derives from the absence of a core, Cornell’s proud tradition as a land grant school, and Harvard’s exclusivity.Established in 1636 by the Massachusetts legislature and soon therea...
Presumably Princeton and Yale are largely looking for exactly the same qualities in their top applicants—academic aptitude, intellectual depth, awareness of others, leadership qualities, and knowledge of the institution.
To help them identify those elements, Princeton asks students to reflect on their own lives by writing, for example, in response to quotes on culture, service to the nation, and the practices of inequality.
Yale, in contrast, asks simply that a student “Reflect on something you want us to know about you.” Associate Director Rebekah Westphal of Yale explains that the question is, “open enough that students write about whatever they feel like at the time, to present themselves to us without trying to fit into a certain topic or question.”In a good essay the student embarks on a voyage to learn more about an idea, a place, or about herself, and she returns able to examine and understand what has been familiar with new eyes and a deeper perspective.
In that narrative, Ivy admission officers are looking for qualities that are no different from those that readers at Stanford, Rice or Chicago are searching for, and for the greatest part, they are all likely to discern them in similar essays.
Read more"Place yourself in the middle of the stream of power and wisdom which animates all whom it floats, and you are without effort impelled to truth, to right and a perfect contentment." ~Ralph Waldo Emerson, Spiritual Laws As a transcendentalist, Emerson found inspiration in places where "the str...
Read more At the corner of each eye lie little crinkle lines, tip-offs to her mood: they might be laughing, or exhausted, or some days furious and fed up with people.But the student who is applying to both Princeton and Pomona has to craft a personal statement that speaks to readers at both schools equally well.As Jon Reider, a well-known high school counselor in San Francisco, says, “It has never occurred to me that one Ivy (or anywhere else) would want a certain kind of essay.Read more Harvard University, sometimes simply refer to as Harvard, is a private Ivy League research university in Cambridge, Massachusetts.Its history, influence and wealth have made it one of the most prestigious universities in the world.Read more I was in 9th grade the first time I stumbled upon a copy of What caught my eye was its trademark title: white type, red highlight, a connotation that stories of great consequence lay beneath.Such bold lettering gave me a moment’s pause, and I was prompted to leaf through its glossy pages...” Dartmouth avoids additional long essays and Harvard’s is optional, but last year when the Common Application did away with its so-called activity paragraph (“choose one of your extra curricular activities and tell us about it”), these Ivies decided, as did Columbia, that it was useful enough for their purposes to include it in the supplement.The Ivies with engineering schools ask for additional essays from prospective engineers, but Cornell, not surprising given its seven colleges, asks every applicant for such an academic interest statement.The whole point is that the main essay tell that kid’s own truth.Colleges take what they get.”Admission officers at Ivy schools would agree that in telling their truth, students choose topics that more often reflect the reality of their own lives than they do the ethos of specific colleges: Students’ desire to write an Ivy-inspired essay is also complicated by the nature of the Ivy League itself.