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Ivy League Admission
Ivy Coach College Admissions Blog

Harvard Class of 2019 Stats

September 4, 2015
Harvard 2019, Harvard Class of 2019, 2019 Harvard Admissions Class

“The Harvard Crimson” presents some interesting statistics on the university’s Class of 2019.

There’s a good feature in “The Harvard Crimson” by Jalin P. Cunningham and Luca F. Schroeder entitled “Class of 2019 by the numbers” that we figured we’d share with our readers. The piece includes some interesting data pulled from surveyed members of the incoming Harvard class. Let’s comb though some of these numbers…”The average best overall SAT score among surveyed recruited athletes was 2077, compared to 2244 among respondents who were not recruited to play a varsity sport at Harvard.” Yes indeed, recruited athletes quite often have lower SAT scores, though we encourage student-athletes (and all applicants to Ivy League schools for that matter) to have an understanding of the Ivy League’s Academic Index, an index that applies to both athletes and non-athletes.

Here’s an interesting one: “Women were more likely (15 percent of respondents) to be editors-in-chief of their high school newspaper than men (9 percent). Men, on the other hand, were more likely (21 percent) to be high school student body presidents than women (13 percent), although women were more likely to report that they believe in the power of student government to effect change (73 percent and 63 percent, for women and men, respectively).” And how about this one?: “Thirty-six percent of students who hail from households with a combined income of less than $125,000 a year were interested in joining a final club, fraternity, or sorority, compared to 47 percent of students from households with a combined annual income of $125,000 or more.” Makes sense. There are dues for these organizations and it doesn’t seem all that surprising that more privileged students would be more inclined to join social clubs and such.

And how about intended majors? “About 36 percent of survey respondents said they plan to concentrate in the social sciences, and 26 percent plan to concentrate in Economics or Government, two of the College’s most popular concentrations.” And how about students who go above and beyond BC Calculus? “Men were more likely (22 percent) to have previously taken courses in mathematics above the level of BC Calculus than women (17 percent).” Very interesting indeed.

This is just a sampling of some of the data stemming from the surveying of incoming Harvard students. Take a look at the full piece to get a more complete picture of Harvard’s newest class. And, while you’re here, check out the Class of 2019 Ivy League Admissions Statistics.

Categories: Ivy League Tags: , , , ,

Yield at Yale

September 3, 2015
Yale Yield, Yield at Yale University, Yale's Yield

Ivy Coach is featured on the pages of today’s “Yale Daily News,” the newspaper of Yale University.

Ivy Coach is featured today in “The Yale Daily News,” the newspaper of Yale University. A piece entitled “Yield drops, diversity increases for class of 2019” by Tyler Foggatt focuses on how Yale’s yield (the percentage of students who choose to matriculate to the university after being admitted) dropped by about two percentage points this year. Although it is the second highest yield rate in the university’s long history! Last year’s yield for Yale was 71.7% (a record) and this year’s yield is 69.5%. Is this cause for concern for the university? No way.

As we are quoted in the piece, “Brian Taylor, director of Ivy Coach, a New York-based college consulting firm, said slight decreases in yield from one year to the next are extremely common, and not something that colleges should necessarily look into. ‘There’s a lot of things to worry about in this world,’ Taylor said. ‘A two-percent drop in yield is not one of them.’…According to Taylor, small factors like whether or not it rains during Bulldog Days can have an impact on yield. If a student visits New Haven and the weather is gloomy, he said, they might be more impressed by Stanford or another school located in a warmer region. ‘If you track the relationship between yield and weather at Bulldog Days, and at Dartmouth’s visiting days too, the rain definitely has an effect,’ Taylor said, referring partly to this year’s Bulldog Days, which were plagued by rain.”

Yes, rain during Bulldog Days sure can impact the university’s yield. If it’s rainy, students won’t be out tossing frisbees and smiling. This makes a difference and the fact that it rained during this year’s Bulldog Days might well be the cause for the two percentage drop. Don’t agree? If not, why do you think Yale’s yield dropped a bit this year. We’re curious to hear from our readers.

Categories: Ivy League Tags: , , , ,

Start Early at College Admissions Process

September 2, 2015
Early Start at College Admissions, Start Early in College Admissions, Admissions and Early Start

Procrastination is the enemy in highly selective college admissions.

Folks sometimes ask us when is the best time to come to Ivy Coach for college admissions advice. Our answer is typically something like this: “As early as possible because we can correct mistakes before they become just that — mistakes. Mistakes in coursework, mistakes in testing, mistakes in extracurriculars and summer plans.” But sometimes parents come to us too early. When we receive notes from rising kindergartners (nursery school students), we send them on their way to pack their lunch boxes (although if these parents are in Manhattan, we do recommend Stephanie Sigal for help with the kindergarten admissions process — you’d have to live in Manhattan to understand this phenomenon…we know it seems ridiculous).

For parents of seventh and eighth graders, though, that’s actually a really good time to come to us so that Ivy Coach can map out the student’s high school coursework, testing, extracurricular angle, etc. It’s all done during a one-hour evaluation in which students (and their parents) will get a lot of important feedback, feedback that can never be found on the pages of our college admissions blog. After all, it’s part of our secret sauce and our secret sauce is purposefully left off the pages of our blog.

The fact is that folks come to us at all times of the college admissions process. We have people who come to us for the first time on New Year’s Eve, mere hours before the Regular Decision deadline as they seek our assistance in the college admissions process. That’s ridiculously late. Don’t do that. Enjoy your New Year’s Eve. You should not be working on college applications at midnight. What if the servers go down and you can’t submit your applications? What if you fall asleep? Oy vey. You may laugh but there are folks who contact us every year at this very time. The “Independent Educational Consultants Association,” an organization we have absolutely not a shred of respect for, even once contacted us alleging that a student contacted us around this time and they were disturbed by the fee we quoted. The “Independent Educational Consultants Association” seemed perplexed when we did not deny the possibility that we quoted such a fee at that time. After all, who are they to tell us what we can and cannot charge on a day we wanted to enjoy, to ring in the New Year? This is the United States of America and we firmly believe that any attempt to restrain our trade is a violation of our Constitutional rights. We suspect the “Independent Educational Consultants Association” took the hint.

This is a long way of saying…get started on the college admissions process early. Don’t wait until midnight on New Year’s Eve. That’s absurd. And for you rising seniors, time is of the essence since Early Decision / Early Action deadlines are fast approaching.

Categories: College Admissions Tags: , , , ,

Athletic Recruiting and Attrition

September 1, 2015
Athletic Recruits and Attrition, Attrition and Ivy League Athletes, Ivy League Attrition

Fun Fact: The writer of “Rudy” (and “Hoosiers”) is on the board of The Kinsey Institute at Indiana University.

Attrition is the enemy of many college coaches, particularly in the Ivy League because there are not athletic scholarships. Student-athletes in the Ivy League are thus not financially bound to compete in the sport for which they were recruited through their four years of college. If they quit, they don’t forfeit scholarship dollars. But as these students were recruited to compete in these sports, it is the right thing to do, to honor their end of this pact they strike with coaches. It’s too bad that so many student-athletes choose not to meet this obligation. It’s too bad that so many of them choose to quit during their college careers. It’s not something they should be proud of as, in many cases, a key reason why these students were granted admission was to complete in their sport.

What’s even more unsettling to many college coaches, particularly in the Ivy League, is when athletes quit during the first week of freshman year, or — in some cases — before school even begins. We feel for these coaches. These students had no intention of competing in their sport in college. They simply used the coaches to get in. And that’s not right. It’s not right to the coaches. It’s not right to the walk-ons, the student-athletes who weren’t good enough to get recruited but earned admission on their own and worked hard to compete anyway. It’s not as though we speak from personal experience. Wink. Ever see “Rudy”? It’s a great movie. Remember this speech?: “You’re 5 foot nothin’, 100 and nothin’, and you have barely a speck of athletic ability. And you hung in there with the best college football players in the land for two years. And you’re gonna walk outta here with a degree from the University of Notre Dame. In this life, you don’t have to prove nothin’ to nobody but yourself. And after what you’ve gone through, if you haven’t done that by now, it ain’t gonna never happen. Now go on back.”

And while we are critical of student-athletes who use sports to get in but have no intention of competing in these sports come the time they enroll, coaches don’t always do right by students either. We often hear from student-athletes that a coach really loves an applicant, that he or she is going to recruit this student. Sometimes they even say something like, “Johnny has such good SAT scores and such good grades that he might even be able to get in on his own.” That is a major red flag! Here’s our translation of that sentence (in the coach’s mind): “I think Johnny can get in on his own. I don’t have to waste a slot to recruit him. I only get so many slots. I’m going to roll the dice and see if Johnny gets in on his own. This way, I can get all of my top recruits! Oh boy! What should I have for dinner? Maybe I’ll make a meatloaf.” Get the idea? As Ronald Reagan once said, “Trust, but verify.” This famous saying applies to athletic recruits as they deal with college coaches, too.

Categories: College Athletes Tags: , , , ,

A Salute to an Ivy League Coach

August 31, 2015
Ivy League Football Coach, Dartmouth Football Coach, Ivy League Coaching

Dartmouth head football coach Buddy Teevens has defied the status quo of college football. And he’s changing the game. Ivy Coach salutes Coach Teevens for his pioneering efforts.

Yes, we showed a lot of love yesterday for the Big Green in our post about Dartmouth’s football team, which finished second in the 2015 Ivy League Football Preseason Media Poll but we suspect will topple Harvard to claim the 2015 Ivy League crown. But we’re not done just yet. Because a piece on “NPR” brilliantly titled “Dartmouth Football’s Brilliant Dummies” is worthy of discussion on our blog. And it is worthy of a salute, both to the institution that is choosing to defy the status quo of college football, to the pioneering coach who has dared do what no other Division I college or professional coach we can think of is currently doing, and to two brilliant Dartmouth engineering students.

If you have a pulse, you likely know that football has a concussion problem. Too many players suffer from concussions and many of the symptoms of these concussions don’t present until years later. Too many former football players have committed suicide, like Junior Seau, likely as a result of traumatic injuries to the brain. Dartmouth College too has not been untouched by this sad reality, with a former Big Green football player committing suicide, as brought to the world’s attention by “The New York Times.” Too many former football players have suffered — and continue to suffer from ALS. Too many former football players are suffering from a variety of maladies. And it’s high time this ends. But actions speak louder than words. And Dartmouth head football coach Buddy Teevens is speaking softly with one very big stick.

As articulated in the “NPR” piece by Laura Wagner, “Wearing a green Dartmouth College jersey, the newest player on the school’s football team readies for action during a preseason practice. The whistle blows, he makes his move and then is thrown to the ground by a teammate’s crushing tackle. This happens again and again and again, but every time, the new player pops right back up, completely unhurt. This player is an MVP — a ‘Mobile Virtual Player,’ that is. Developed by students at Dartmouth’s Thayer School of Engineering, the new robotic dummies were designed to allow players to practice tackling without injuring one another in the process. ‘It’s very realistic,’ Dartmouth football head coach Buddy Teevens told NPR. He said the 5-foot-11-inch, 200-plus-pound MVP can weave, cut, stop and start — even ‘run’ a respectable 4.8-second 40-yard-dash. But, Teevens said, ‘the true value is in the reduction of injuries.'”

The “NPR” piece goes on, “Even before Dartmouth football began using the MVPs on Wednesday, the New Hampshire school was unique in its approach to tackling during practice — because it didn’t. Starting five years ago, Teevens decided to completely do away with tackles in practice, citing athlete-on-athlete collisions as a main cause of concussive injuries. Instead, he opted for drills with bags, sleds and stationary dummies. ‘To my knowledge, no one else does it at the Division I level,’ Teevens said about his no-tackling protocol, acknowledging that his players were initially skeptical. ‘It was not received well to be honest with you because [tackling] is sort of fundamental, but I was committed to it.'” Amen, Coach Teevens!

We salute Coach Teevens, these two extraordinary young and inventive Dartmouth engineers, and Dartmouth College for pioneering the use of this incredible ‘Mobile Virtual Player.’ We salute Coach Teevens for daring to forbid tackling in practices. So many players get hurt in practice and with the ‘Mobile Virtual Player,” this is going to stop this trend in its tracks. And when recruits criticize Coach Teevens’ policy and choose to attend another school because of it, we salute Coach Teevens for standing his ground. Coach Teevens is on the right side of history and his practices (literally) represent the future of football. Oh, and to those skeptical potential football recruits, good riddance. Dartmouth has a chance to win this year’s Ivy League title. With this policy firmly in place. If these recruits don’t like it, too bad for them.

Categories: College Athletes, Ivy League Tags: , , , ,

Ivy League Preseason Football Rankings

August 30, 2015
Ivy League Football, Ivy League Football Rankings, Ranking of Ivy League Football Teams

It is our prediction that Dartmouth College, ranked second in the 2015 Ivy League Football Preseason Media Poll, will upset Harvard this year and reclaim the Ivy League football title. You heard it here first.

It’s that time of year again. It’s time for some Ivy League football action and, for yet another year in a row, we’d like to report on the Ivy League football preseason rankings. And for those of you who are wondering why we write about Ivy League football, know that we write about all things Ivy League-related and it should be noted that the Ivy League was first formed as a football league. That’s right. A football league. Anyhow, Harvard, the defending Ivy League champion, enters the season as the preseason favorite to win it all again, securing 130 points (and 11 first place votes) in the 2015 Ivy League Football Preseason Media Poll. Dartmouth College, a university that has historically had the Ivy League’s strongest football team, found itself in unfamiliar territory of late, landing second in the preseason poll, buoyed by their resurgence last year and fight for the Ivy League crown that lasted through the final week of action. Upstart Dartmouth secured 116 points in the preseason poll, along with four first place votes. Well deserved indeed.

Finishing third in this year’s preseason poll is Yale University, with 98 points and one first place vote. Princeton University finished in fourth place with 82 points but no first place votes. Brown University finished in fifth with 80 points and one first place vote. The University of Pennsylvania, which has been a football powerhouse for much of the twenty first century but has fallen off a bit of late, finished in sixth place, with 51 points and no first place votes. Columbia University, which will be led by first-year Lions coach Al Bagnoli (the coach who led Penn through all of those successes) finished seventh in the preseason poll, with 29 points and no first place votes. Cornell University finished in last, with 26 points and no first place votes.

We’re excited to see what’s in store for this Ivy League football season. Will Dartmouth College reclaim the Ivy League crown, something that has eluded the College on the Hill for many years? Will Al Bagnoli lead a resurgence for Columbia, a university that claimed the Rose Bowl title in 1934 under the masterful play of our dear friend, and an inspiration for the formation of Ivy Coach over a quarter century ago, Cliff Montgomery? Will Harvard win it all again? We’re pumped to see it all play out on the gridiron.

Categories: College Athletes, Ivy League Tags: , , , ,

Writing Section of SAT

August 29, 2015
SAT Writing, SAT Writing Section, Writing Section of the SAT

A “Bloomberg” piece portrays a divided Ivy League on the topic of the SAT’s optional essay.

All in favor? All opposed? The Ivy League is in session. You may have read an article recently on the pages of the University of Pennsylvania’s newspaper, “The Daily Pennsylvanian” on the topic of the SAT’s optional essay. Ivy Coach is referenced extensively in the piece. Penn recently removed the requirement that applicants to the university submit the essay portion of the SAT or ACT. But not all Ivy League colleges are standing with Penn. In fact, the Ivy League institutions are entirely divided on the subject.

As articulated by Janet Lorin in a piece in “Bloomberg” entitled “Divided Over Whether To Require SAT Essay,” “Yale’s in favor; Brown is opposed. The Ivy League is in a dead split on requiring the SAT’s optional essay, leaving the country’s top students little option but to take that part of the test. Harvard, Princeton and Dartmouth are lining up with Yale in telling applicants to submit results from the essay portion of the revamped SAT entrance exam, according to a Bloomberg poll of the schools. Columbia, Cornell and the University of Pennsylvania, along with Brown, are taking the opposite position.” And while Stanford University is not a member institution of the Ivy League, the “Bloomberg” piece goes on to state: “Breaking the tie is Stanford — too far West to be an Ivy member. The country’s most-selective school weighed in in favor of the ‘optional’ writing exercise.”

So, basically, applicants would be really limiting themselves if they don’t do well on the SAT writing portion. Who wants to select colleges based on whether or not they require a portion of the SAT? That would be quite silly. It’s of course preferable to select colleges based on whether or not an applicant actually wants to go to the school! And because the Ivy League schools are split, it would be unwise to not perform well on this section since many schools still do require it. If a student really can’t do well on the section, well then applying to schools that don’t require the section is a good course of action. But it’s not the ideal course of action. The ideal course of action is doing really well on this section. Duh! And, remember, that which is ‘optional’ in college admissions isn’t optional in our book. Colleges love to see great scores, whether they require them or not. And if they tell you otherwise, don’t believe it.

Have a question on the new SAT? Post your question below and we’ll be sure to write back.

Categories: SAT / ACT Prep Tags: , , , ,

ACT Scores

August 28, 2015
ACT Score, Scores on the ACT, ACT Testing, ACT Examination

The newspaper of Woodward & Bernstein has really set the standard this year for its analysis of all things SAT and ACT.

There is a good piece by Nick Anderson in “The Washington Post,” the newspaper that has really set the standard this year for reporting on the SAT and ACT. The piece by Anderson is entitled “ACT college admissions testing grows, but scores stagnate” that points out, through the use of data, how while more and more students are taking the ACT these days, the scores of ACT test-takers generally aren’t improving as a whole. And the administrators of the ACT think that high schools need to better prepare their graduates for college and their subsequent careers.

As the piece points out, “The average score for the high school Class of 2015 was 21, out of a maximum of 36. That was unchanged from the year before and largely echoed results going back a decade. Of 1.92 million people taking the test, the share who met the ACT college readiness standard in English was unchanged from the previous year: 64 percent. The share who met the math benchmark — 42 percent — has slid each year since reaching a peak of 46 percent in 2012.” And the administrators of the ACT also expressed that they’ve found racial disparities in ACT results, attributable to the quality of educations students in disadvantaged communities are receiving (and, of course, their lack of access to prep for the ACT — which naturally went unstated by the ACT administrators).

Not all students are fit for college and particularly not for four-year institutions so we don’t happen to see the problem with the fact that these scores have remained relatively stagnant over the years. But it is certainly concerning that minority groups underperform on the exam. The fact is, though, the administrators of the ACT blaming schools for their educations they’re offering isn’t completely fair. The ACT is a very coachable exam. Scores improve with the help of expert tutoring. Certain groups, particularly minorities in disadvantaged areas, can’t afford such prep, though they would of course benefit from such prep. Maybe the administrators of the ACT should focus more on making the test more fair and less coachable rather than assigning blame to the schools? Just a thought.

Categories: SAT / ACT Prep Tags: , , , ,

The Truth Behind Test-Optional

August 27, 2015
Test Optional Colleges, Test Optional Schools, Test Optional Universities

Ivy Coach salutes Stephen Burd for what we believe to be the best piece of journalism on college admissions of 2015.

We came across a phenomenal piece of journalism on college admissions that we wanted to share with our loyal readers. It’s a piece written by Stephen Burd for “The Hechinger Report” and it’s entitled “The real reason that colleges go ‘test-optional.’” And if you are a regular reader of our college admissions blog, you know that we don’t use the word ‘phenomenal’ lightly. But this piece deserves our praise because Mr. Burd, through the analysis of data, calls test-optional colleges on their PR spin. Test-optional colleges, after all, profess to be test-optional because they want to appeal to a more diverse applicant pool. They want to attract students from all different cultures, of all different ethnicities, of all different socio-economic backgrounds and not requiring the SAT or ACT helps them do just this. Right?

Wrong. Let’s take George Washington University, a school that has gone test-optional. Here’s what Burd writes: “But is increasing socioeconomic and racial diversity really the university’s motivation in making this change? Or does it have a less altruistic reason for doing so, such as raising its standing in the all-important college rankings game? We don’t know for sure. But a 2014 study by researchers at the University of Georgia suggests that we should not take G.W. at its word. The researchers examined U.S. Department of Education data at 32 selective liberal arts colleges that have adopted these policies and found ‘that test-optional policies overall have not been the catalysts of diversity that many have claimed them to be.’ The study did not find any evidence that test-optional colleges had made ‘any progress in narrowing these diversity-related gaps after they adopted test-optional policies.’ Instead, these policies had benefited these colleges ‘in more institution-promoting ways.'”

Indeed when a college goes test-optional, they now can attract a whole new applicant pool. They can attract many more students to apply, boosting their “US News & World Report” ranking and invariably lowering their admission rate. As we’ve said for years and years, colleges care about their “US News & World Report” ranking first and foremost. No matter what their PR spin may be. In Mr. Burd’s own words: “Colleges have used these policies to become even more exclusive than they previously were. Here’s how schools do it: by freeing prospective students from having to provide SAT and ACT scores, they tend to attract more applicants, many of whom may have scored poorly on the tests. (The University of Georgia study found that these schools ‘receive approximately 220 more applications, on average, after adopting a test-optional policy.’) For the colleges, more applicants mean more students they can reject, which lowers their acceptance rate and raises the institution’s perceived selectivity.”

Well said, Mr. Burd. Well said. Colleges may profess to have altruistic intentions, but their motives are often more calculating. And one motive common to all highly selective and selective colleges is that they want to improve in the rankings. Whether they tell you this or not. And we promise they won’t tell you this…

Categories: SAT / ACT Prep Tags: , , , ,

Crazy Parents and College Admissions

August 26, 2015
Crazy Parents in College Admissions, College Admission and Crazy Parents, Parents and Admissions

Our company policy at Ivy Coach is to only work with nice people. It’s a policy that has served us well for a quarter century.


We have thousands of visitors to Ivy Coach’s website every day. Some are loyal readers of our college admissions blog. Some are clients, past and present whom we’ve gotten to know through the years. Some are prospective clients. Some like to come for free information (but if they’re loyal readers of our blog, they know that we keep our best secrets off the pages of our website…it’s our secret sauce). And, to paraphrase from a Dartmouth commencement address by comedian Conan O’Brien, when referencing how old people sometimes just come to commencement ceremonies, some just come because they’re interested in college admissions. Even if their child graduated from high school twenty-five years ago. You’d be surprised! It happens. Believe us.

And lots of folks click on our orange button and fill out our free consult form every day to arrange for a time in which we can discuss our service offerings at Ivy Coach. This is the method through which prospective Ivy Coach clients become our clients. Some prospective clients call, but we typically don’t pick up (who wants to have their brains picked about college admissions all day long or listen to boasts about how great their child is all day long? Not us!). And some send us boxfuls of childhood photos. We even once received a lock of hair. Weird!

But, by and large, most of the folks we speak to during our free consultations understand from our email they receive upon filling out our form that the free consult is only to discuss our service offerings, not to offer specific advice about their child. That’s a paid service. Hello, Ivy Coach is a business! And most are entirely pleasant, super nice people. The free consult is as much for us to gauge if we want to work with parents and students as it is for them to gauge if they want to work with us (many folks don’t seem to realize this). But every now and then we get a crazy. Someone who knows it all (so why are they coming to us if they think such?). Someone who is entitled and is only contacting us because they want to cover all the bases (if only they knew how many mistakes their child was making!).

We recently had a caller who said “What else you got?” after she rejected a piece of advice we offered. The caller then followed up by asking, “So how are you going to woo me as a client?” Our response? “We’re not. We don’t have to woo. We’re not interested in working with you. Good day.” Life’s too short. We only like to work with nice people. It’s a company policy and it has been for a quarter century. Oh, and another recent caller apparently sent her child’s resume in advance of the call. It’s a consult to discuss our service offerings. We’re not reviewing documents. That’s part of the paid one hour evaluation. And we’re quite clear about this in our email response. When she wasn’t happy that we weren’t offering her advice, she subsequently threatened to tell all of her friends (Bueller?) about us (we love when people talk about us!) and let us know that once we open her daughter’s resume we will regret not working with her amazing child. On what planet did she think we would waste the time to open her daughter’s resume after the free consult? Not on this one.

So to all the nice, normal folks who fill out our form as prospective clients, we welcome you with open arms. You pass through our filter, which is quite effective. And to the crazies out there, there are thousands of less well known, less effective private college counseling firms across America and we’re certain some — though not all — will try to woo you. Actually, maybe not. But try?

Categories: College Admissions Tags: , , , ,