how to get into an Ivy League school

13 Steps To Get Into Schools Like Stanford

Let’s face it. Universities like Harvard and Yale are buzzwords. These schools are tagged as the best of the best that’s why many are searching for ways on how to get into an Ivy League school and similar prestigious colleges.

Don’t worry! If you are asking what is the easiest Ivy League school to get into or what are the Ivy League acceptance rates, we’ve got you covered. 

Not only are we about to give you some advice on how to get into an Ivy League school and other prestigious universities, but we will also help you lay the groundwork for how to determine if they’re the best for you.

Here are some tips to get you to your dream college.

Discover your true passions.

What are you good at? Where do you excel? Is it in academics, athletics, music, or art? Understanding this early on is crucial to getting accepted into elite universities like Stanford.

For you to stand out and push the limits, it would only make sense if you have the desire/hunger to work harder than even the brightest.

Myth: You should be as well rounded as possible.

Fact: Focus on one area and be extraordinary – Stand out!

For example, if you love math, participate in the US Math Olympiad and the Intel Science and Engineering Fair. If you’re a star player in baseball, sign up for the club baseball team and get a coach to take you to the next level.

Develop 15-Year and College Goals

Once you have a solid understanding of your true passions, you can develop a 15-year vision board and college goals that align with them. You would no longer want to search what is the easiest Ivy League school to get into because you are already driven with your goals.

This vision board will be critical to understanding what college is best for you. It forces you to start visualizing where you will be when you grow up. The board will also keep you motivated when school gets tough. 

It is necessary to note, however, that your vision board is allowed to change. Many times people get scared to create 15-year goals because they are afraid that they will outgrow it in time.

The point of the vision board is to give you direction, motivation, and an excuse to start pursuing something, so it is fine if you change your path from time to time. Once you get in the habit of continually pursuing dreams, opportunities start arriving, and the dreams start becoming a reality.

Achieve higher grades

Based on the recent Ivy League acceptance rates, Cornell, Dartmouth, and the University of Pennsylvania are the easiest ivy league school to get into. Nevertheless, their admission process is still stringent so getting a high list of grades for your transcript is still necessary.

Contrary to what most people believe, having a high GPA does not ensure that you will be accepted to the Ivy League and other prestigious schools. Usually, your GPA only matters for your class rank but not really in your applications. The applicant pool for Ivy league schools are quite strong, so to ace other students, you must know when to direct your efforts, and you should research for the best study tips to help you. 

In planning your curriculum, make sure that you enrol in challenging courses and get an A in all of them. This is probably the most useful tip on how to get into an ivy league school. Most admission committees look for straight A grades in subjects that are difficult so you better choose your courses wisely and make sure that you will do everything to avoid a grade of B as this will lessen your chances of getting admitted.

Maybe, you are now asking “what is the easiest ivy league school to get into?” so you won’t have to take difficult classes. Unfortunately, the case is the same for all these schools, so stop whining and start planning your courses.

Strive to be a good person

You might laugh this one off, but it is true. You have to be a good person if you want to be accepted in your dream college. Some schools are now asking for letters of recommendation from guidance counsellors or any certification that you have a good personality. 

However, this doesn’t mean that you will only be nice because you want to use this as an advantage in college admission. Strive to be a good person because it is the right thing to do.

Apply early decision or early action

If you are already sure that you would want to study in one of the Ivy League schools, it would be better to apply early decision and early action. Admission rates of most of these schools show that your chance to be admitted is higher if you apply early.

Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, and Penn are some of the schools with early decision programs. Meanwhile, Harvard, Princeton, and Yale have the early action program. For early decision programs, you will be required to apply to that school once you are admitted. The early action program is more lenient, and you are not obligated to enrol in that school if you ever change your mind.

Do good at the common application essay

The common application essay is one way for the admissions committee to get to know you. You should focus on something that matters to you instead of extraordinary topics that would not allow the reader to see who you are.

If you are curious about how to get into an Ivy League school, you can begin by acing the essay by using an interesting tone and language in writing your essay. Avoid grammatical and punctuation errors and other mechanical mistakes. It would be best to prepare and research your essay options since it will significantly impact your application.

Write meaningful supplemental essays 

Aside from the common application essay, you would also be asked to write supplemental essays. These essays are commonly about the reasons why you want to be admitted to that particular school.

In mass applying for college, it is not suggested to use a common essay since each of the schools is different. It would be better if you would research that college you are interested in and then, anchor your essay to its vision. You don’t have to make it sound like you are writing a speech that will be read in front of a large crowd. Write from the heart and make it simple. Once the admissions officers feel your sincerity, you will have a higher chance of getting to your dream school.

Attend an elite high school

The Ivy League acceptance rates have been relatively low in the past years. But studying in an elite school may give you a chance to enter one of them. Most elite schools send their student body to reputable colleges, including the Ivy League.

Students from these schools also have more access to difficult classes that are one of the top considerations in being admitted to prestigious universities. Enrolling in challenging courses and acing them should be your top priority once you are studying in elite preparatory schools, especially if you are aiming for the Ivy League in college.

Get help from admission consulting firms

Some students who are dedicated to entering the Ivy League schools and other notable universities also seek the help of admission consulting firms. These firms offer different services, including tutoring and college counseling.

However, the price of these services can be costly. It usually ranges from $1,000 up to six figures. If you are interested and you have the money, do your research on the best admission consulting firms and get ahead of other students. This is one of the tips on how to get into an Ivy League school that would require you a lot of money but is very worth it in the end.

Make sure your extracurricular counts

Many activities fall under extracurricular involvement. However, no matter how many clubs you join in, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it will help you get admitted to a prestigious school.

Most colleges especially Ivy League schools are not after the number of your extracurricular involvement but the depth of it. If you focused on one activity to develop your skill, you might have a higher chance. For instance, volunteering in a non-government organization and being involved in different community activities throughout the years. This has more bearing than joining journalism camps and a year after, shifting to another activity. There should be consistency in your field of involvement to show the admission officers that you are a student with a plan. 

Research the school/s you’re interested in

By researching information about the university you would like to be admitted, you will learn facts that will help you outline your SMART goals.

SMART means specific, measurable, attainable, and time-bound. When you finally know what grades they need, what SAT score do they favor, what curricular activities they would like to see in your application, you can now plan your next move.

Do well in the SAT/ACT

Earning a high score from standardized college admission tests such as the SAT and ACT will have a high impact on your application to most universities, including the Ivy League.

Because a lot of students apply in these prestigious schools, they rely on these standardized tests in assessing which deserves to be admitted. However, your score should be very high for it to count so you should study for the SAT and ACT as early as possible.

Prepare for the interview

Even though Ivy League interviews don’t weigh too much, not doing well on it may still affect your chances of getting admitted. We would highly suggest that you prepare for the interview and ace it as much as possible.

Also make sure that in replying with the interviewee’s question, you sound smart but polite. You don’t want a short interview to damage all your hard work. 


Make sure to start integrating these tips on how to get into an Ivy league school and other notable universities.

Surely, you won’t be asking what is the easiest ivy league school to get into after putting effort into your application. Just do your best and believe that everything you set your mind to is possible. 

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Todd VanDuzer

Co-Founder & CEO at Student-Tutor
Hello! My name is Todd. I help students design the life of their dreams by ensuring college, scholarship, and career success! I am a former tutor for seven years, $85,000 scholarship recipient, Huffington Post contributor, lead SAT & ACT course developer, host of a career exploration podcast for teens, and have worked with thousands of students and parents to ensure a brighter future for the next generation. I invite you to join my next webinar to learn how to save thousands + set your teenager up for college, scholarship, and career success!
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Grace Scuderi
Grace Scuderi
6 years ago

Great info Todd!

7 years ago

Todd, you have an impressive dossier! This is great information. I love your cment about standing out rather than being well rounded. If I may give you a tip, check your usage of the word higher. I believe you mean hire. Thank you for giving parents a great road map of how we can help our kids get in to top schools and hopefully earn merit-based scholarships.