How to Get Into & Pay for College


Do I have what it takes to get into an Ivy League school?

QUESTION: I am a student who attends a private school and has a 4.3 GPA. I have been playing junior USTA (United States Tennis Association) tennis for four years, and I do community service every weekend. My SAT critical reading score was 800, and my math was a 750. Do I stand a chance of being accepted to Harvard and other Ivy League schools?
- Ivy League Hopeful

Dear Ivy League Hopeful: We don’t claim to be prognosticators, but we think that you have strong Ivy potential. Through your grades and test scores you have demonstrated your commitment to academics, the most important factor in admissions. In addition, you seem to have dedicated yourself to and excelled at extracurricular activities. What’s important for you is to build an application that highlights these strengths. We recommend that you develop application materials with two or three overarching themes that support your strengths. For example, the themes you may want to emphasize are your academic devotion, tennis ability, and commitment to community service. In your applications, provide information about your achievements that bolster these three themes. In essays, expand on what these three areas of your life mean to you beyond the information that you include in your application forms. For example, when describing your academic achievements, don’t reiterate your grades and test scores. Instead, you might write about your passion for an academic field. Seek teachers or others who can write recommendation letters that substantiate your strengths. Ask for help from your parents, friends, and teachers to review your work and insure that you are presenting yourself in the best light possible. We think that with a well-developed application, you are well on your way.


Gen & Kelly Tanabe
Gen and Kelly Tanabe are the founders of SuperCollege and the award-winning authors of 11 books on college admission, financial aid and scholarships. Together they were accepted to all of the Ivy League colleges and won more than $100,000 in merit-based scholarships to graduate from Harvard debt-free.

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