Want to know how to help your child get into an Ivy League school? You should start as soon as possible to prepare them. Ivy League schools may seem impossibly out of reach but don’t be intimidated by the veneer of exclusivity. There is no “easiest Ivy League school to get into” because they all have different standards and acceptance criteria. However, they’re like any other colleges looking for exceptional, outstanding candidates, regardless of their background or status. This article will show you the path your child can take to get to the Ivy League by focusing on the application components that can give them a real chance at acceptance. 

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11 min read

What Is the Ivy League? Why the Ivy League? Should I Send my Child to an Ivy League School? What Are the Advantages of an Ivy School Education? How to Help Your Child Get into an Ivy League School Conclusion FAQs

What Is the Ivy League?

The “Ivy League” refers to an exclusive group of eight universities in the US that comprise names like Harvard, Princeton, and Yale. Over generations, these schools have come to symbolize the highest level of education possible, and parents worldwide aspire to send their children to one of these elite universities. Indeed, you can learn how to get into an Ivy League school as an international student.

Ivy League universities are also some of the oldest, most-renowned educational institutions in North America, so their history and prestige have set them apart from other, non-Ivy League schools. That is not to say that your child cannot get a quality education somewhere else, but a degree from one of these institutions almost guarantees a leg up in important areas of life like graduate school and employment opportunities.

The Eight Ivy League Schools

  1. Harvard – 4.6% acceptance rate
  2. Cornell – 8.7% acceptance rate
  3. Brown – 5% acceptance rate
  4. Dartmouth – 6.2% acceptance rate
  5. University of Pennsylvania – 7.7% acceptance rate
  6. Princeton – 5.8% acceptance rate
  7. Yale – 6.3% acceptance rate
  8. Columbia – 3.9% acceptance rate

Wondering “what is the easiest ivy league school to get into”? Check out this video:

Why Choose the Ivy League for Your Child?

All parents want the best for their children, and the Ivy League is synonymous with the best in education. The cachet of being an Ivy League graduate follows you everywhere and can create an enormous number of opportunities later in life. This prestige is what motivates a lot of parents to start thinking early about how to help their child get into an Ivy League school.

The competition to get into one of these schools has always been intense. There are few open spots and a glut of applications each year. But Ivy League schools have similar entry requirements to other colleges, in that they look for candidates who stand out from the crowd, either due to their academic scores or something else that sets them apart.

There are actionable steps parents can take to help their child get into an Ivy League school, and they are not that different from the steps they would take to get them into any university or institution of higher learning. Parents can always seek out college admissions consulting to get professional help, but the steps detailed in this article will give you a good start on how to get into Harvard, Princeton, or any other Ivy League school.

How to Help Your Child Get into an Ivy League School

1. Start Early

Submitting an application to an Ivy League school should be the culmination of years of work. By the time your child submits their application, they should have a stellar high school resume that shows off their various accomplishments, skills, and talents, but these things are not learned overnight. It takes years for a child to become a masterful violin player or fluent German speaker, which is why it is important to help your child find interests early on that excite them.

You can present them with activities they might enjoy based on what you know about them but avoid forcing something onto them. Genuine passion and interest are what you are looking for, and your child will not become a spelling bee champion or chess player if they have no desire to be one. However, if your child does land on something that truly invigorates them and gets them to commit fully, you should help them develop and hone this interest, so it becomes another outstanding feature of their application.

They can have various interests, from playing hockey to singing in choir, which is something you need to support as well. All universities, regardless of whether they are Ivy League or not, want well-rounded, curious, versatile, and creative people to join their ranks, and it is your responsibility to help your child fit that mold.

2. Instill a Love of Learning

Some children have an affinity for school, learning, and education, in general. Others do not, and it is up to you to encourage your child to take their education seriously while also instilling in them a genuine love of learning. Students who are intellectually curious are more prone to seek out challenges and make an effort to build on their learning, all of which impress admissions officers.

All parents struggle with getting their child to do their homework but encouraging them to do it and push through difficult math or science problems can give them a sense of accomplishment and boost their confidence. Once that feeling has been ingrained in them, they will naturally seek out new challenges and welcome them.

3. Learn and Practice Writing Skills

Applying to an Ivy League university means writing essays – there’s no getting around it. Colleges and universities have many entry requirements, but Ivy League schools require all sorts of written material like a personal statement and supplemental college essays. You should check which schools use Common App to know what documentation and essays are required by your preferred school.

You can also check out essay examples for specific schools, since they may have different requirements or essay writing prompts:

If you are not sure what to include or how to start a college essay, there are various resources you can consult like college essay review services that can help sharpen your child’s essay or help them choose a college essay topic. Your child is the one who has to write the essay, and it would be better for them to write freely and authentically.

A genuine love of writing does not come naturally to anyone; like all skills, it takes time and practice to perfect it. You can start very early by reading to your child, but you can also send them to writing courses and classes that help them build their skillset. You can also find internships for high school students that emphasize writing to get them to practice more.

Need more college essay tips? Here’s how to make your college essays stand out!

4. Focus on the Right Extracurriculars

Extracurriculars refer to any activity your child performs outside the classroom that has a positive impact on their development and personality or their community. Many parents will be asking themselves what are the best extracurriculars for college, and we previously discussed the importance of your child honing their skills and interests. But you should also know what kinds of extracurricular activities a student should engage in to stand out to admissions committee members. Ideally, your child could dabble in all three of the main extracurricular areas:

5. Top Summer Programs for High School Students

Summer programs for high school students are an ideal way to raise your child’s profile in the eyes of Ivy League admissions committees. The programs are often organized by colleges and universities, professional associations, and art/design schools. Offerings vary depending on the school or university organizing the summer program, but they cover wide-ranging subjects like psychology, journalism, writing workshops, and STEM subjects.

6. Standardized Testing

All Ivy League schools have a threshold for admissible SAT and ACT scores, so preparing for the SAT and other standardized testing should be on your college preparation checklist. Various college advisors, such as our team at BeMo, let students take practice exams to give them an idea of the questions asked and to take the pressure off the test for when the day finally comes. This is good preparation for students who are nervous about taking the test. They can pace themselves according to their abilities and focus on their weak spots with their college advisor.

Studying for the test is just as important, and you and your child should schedule study time to focus on the more difficult questions.

7. Be Aware of Deadlines and Requirements

You and your child should work together to make sure their application is complete and ready on time. Admission requirements and application deadlines vary between the different Ivy League schools, so make sure you know them to avoid hastily submitting your child’s application at the last minute.

It takes time to prepare a satisfactory college application. Not only does your child have to write and rewrite their essays, but they must also gather the required documentation, like letters of recommendation, a high school CV, and other supporting documentation that Ivy League schools require.

8. Have a Strategy for College Waitlists

Because of the large volume of applicants, Ivy League schools sometimes use college waitlists. If an applicant is not chosen for acceptance in the initial round of admissions but has a qualifying application, they may be placed on the waitlist to see if a spot opens in the program after the deadline to accept admissions offers has passed. Many students wonder how to get off a college waitlist or if it’s even possible to get off an Ivy League’s waitlist. The good news is, these schools do sometimes accept many students off their waitlists every year. One way your child can convince an admissions committee to bump them off the waitlist is by writing a college letter of intent to their #1 school choice, restating their interest in the school and intent to matriculate should they be offered acceptance.

Here’s a quick guide on the college application process:

Should I Send my Child to an Ivy League School?

The answer to this question is something you should answer early on, well before your child enters high school. The entry requirements are not all there is to consider if you are thinking about how to help your child get into an Ivy League school.

#1: Cost of education

The cost of such an education is a heavy burden for any parent to carry.

Scholarships, student loans, and private donations can all be leveraged to pay for your child’s education, but they are not always guaranteed. Your child can contribute, though, and take part-time jobs throughout high school to help offset the costs, which they can also continue if they get into an Ivy League school. An Ivy League education can be a valuable asset your child can use to get ahead, but it comes at a price, and many Ivy League graduates find it difficult to pay off their loans, even after landing jobs in their chosen fields.

Ivy League Education Costs:

  1. Harvard – $76,763
  2. Cornell – $79,544
  3. Brown – $80,986
  4. Dartmouth – $80,757
  5. University of Pennsylvania – $81,340
  6. Princeton – $76,040
  7. Yale – $80,700
  8. Columbia – $88,280

#2: Your child’s decision and future goals

Your child should also have a say in whether they attend an Ivy League school. The application process alone puts pressure on both of you, not to mention all the studying, extracurriculars, and non-academic activities they must pursue to be able to build a sterling application.

Of course, the opposite is possible – students may want to attend an Ivy League school for their own personal reasons and not need any input from their parents. The most ambitious and motivated students may arrive at the decision to go to an Ivy League school organically – seeing it for the genuine opportunity that it is to excel in a particular field or satisfy long-standing intellectual curiosity. To these students, the prestige, status, and non-academic benefits of attending an Ivy League school matter little, which is what, ironically, makes them most suited to attend these schools, since their goals are purely educational.

Regardless of whether your child wants to go to an Ivy League school, the steps you take early on in their education (enrolling them in a language course, athletics, math and science camps) will still benefit them, no matter where they go to school. If they decide to go to an Ivy League school, though, then they will be well prepared.

What Are the Advantages of an Ivy School Education?

The advantages of an Ivy League education are many, and they become evident upon acceptance into any Ivy League school. Ivy League graduates don’t have to struggle with how to find a job after grad school and can expect yearly salary increases within ten years of completing their degree. Ivy League grads can also access a wide network of alumni to find better work opportunities. But the advantages do not stop there.

1. World-Class Faculty

The Ivies are for-profit universities that have endowments and budgets in the billions, which means they can attract and secure the best minds in various fields from philosophy and economics to computer science and mechanical engineering. Whatever program or degree your child decides to pursue, you can be sure that they are being taught by an expert in their field with years of experience and knowledge to impart.

2. Renown and Reputation

An Ivy League education opens a lot of doors, which is something unique to graduates from these schools. No doubt there are many qualified, talented, and smart graduates from non-Ivy League schools, but recruiters, employers, and other schools pay attention when a potential hire or grad school applicant mentions one of the Ivy League schools.

3. More Opportunities

Getting into an Ivy League school is like being set on a track toward professional success, but it is not only due to the name recognition. Because Ivies represent the highest level of education, having successfully graduated from an Ivy League school means a candidate is hard-working, disciplined, and motivated.

Admission requirements are notoriously stringent because the programs, standards, and educational offerings at Ivy League schools are demanding as well. Students who have made it through an Ivy League school demonstrate a visible commitment to their success – a quality that many employers look for in recent graduates.

4. Better Resources

Given their large endowments, world-class reputation, and desire for excellence in education, Ivy League schools invest heavily in the educational resources they offer students. The types of resources an Ivy League university can offer its students are often much more elaborate than what public, state-funded universities can offer, which is why many parents decide to send their children to Ivy League schools.


Harvard. Columbia. Cornell. These names represent so much for hopeful parents and their children. They represent a chance at the best possible education, more opportunities in the future, and the admiration and respect that comes from being an Ivy League school graduate. If you and your child have decided that this the path you want to take, you should start figuring out how to help your child get into an Ivy League school as soon as possible.

The application process can be challenging, but nothing is impossible if you are well prepared. Aside from sending in your child’s application, you should also think about the other activities and achievements they need to obtain to have a chance at acceptance. Parents might also want to find out how to prepare for a college interview, which is another crucial component of the process, and research Ivy League interview questions.

There are many different college admissions consulting services that can better advise you on what you need to complete a successful college application, but the steps laid out in this article are a good start to thinking about and preparing for your child’s future.


1. Can my child get into an Ivy League school?

It is possible for any child to get into an Ivy League school, provided their academic achievements, extracurricular activities, and written essays are outstanding and above average. 

2. Should I send my child to an Ivy League school?

No one should go to an Ivy League school if they do not want to, especially when talking about your child. You should discuss the time, effort, and commitment it takes to enter and study at an Ivy League with your child before you begin to seriously consider applying. You should also figure out which Ivy League school matches up with your child’s inherent interests, and whether it is the only school that can satisfy your child’s educational path. 

3. What are the advantages of going to an Ivy League school?

There are many advantages of going to an Ivy League school, including the name recognition, quality of education, access to unlimited resources, and professional alumni network that helps graduates find work. 

4. Is it easy to get into an Ivy League school?

No, it is not easy to get into an Ivy League school, but the process can be made easier if you start early, have a wealth of experiences to add to your child’s application, and submit well-written essays. 

5. What are the costs involved in sending my child to an Ivy League school?

The costs associated with sending your child to an Ivy League school are numerous, and you should be prepared to invest heavily in your child’s education if they are accepted. That said, most Ivy League schools have robust loan, bursary, and scholarships opportunities you can look into.

6. What is the most difficult Ivy League school to get into?

Acceptance rates for the eight Ivy League schools vary by year due to various factors such as program space and number of applicants, but Harvard is often considered to have the lowest overall acceptance rate, which hovers between 5-7%. 

7. Which Ivy League school is the most affordable?

The tuition costs associated with Ivy League schools vary between programs and schools, but the typical range for Ivy League medical schools is between $20,000 and $100,000, even though schools like Yale and Princeton offer the most generous financial aid packages. 

8. Can my child get into an Ivy League school with a low GPA?

Students who score below the stated GPA threshold for getting into Ivy League school can get in based on other aspects of their application like the written component and college interview. 

9. How do I get my child into an Ivy League school?

For the best chance of getting your child into an Ivy League school, they will need to meet the admission requirements of the school and submit a superb application. While most Ivy League schools do not have minimum GPA requirements or SAT/ACT score requirements, your child should at least be in range of current students’ GPA and standardized test scores. Your child will also need to craft an excellent college application including well-written college essays, diverse extracurricular activities including volunteer and paid work, and ace their college interviews.

10. How do I help prepare my child for an Ivy League school?

Preparing college applications is time-consuming and stressful, so you can help your child prepare to apply to an Ivy League school by helping them with researching the schools, understanding the admission requirements, coaching them on their written applications or providing expert admissions help. You can also show your child how to create an application timeline and remind them of important dates and deadlines.

To your success,

Your friends at BeMo

BeMo Academic Consulting

Source: Statista

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