Comparing Schools in the Ivy League: Panel
Interested in applying to an Ivy League school and want to know what makes them unique? Join Cornell Alum Meaghan and Harvard Alum Theodore as they share their knowledge!
In this webinar, you’ll have all your questions answered, including:
– What is the difference between the Ivy League schools?
– How can I select the best campus for my academic and personal interests?
– What can I do to stand out in the application process?
Come ready to learn and bring your questions!
2022-11-21 – Comparing Schools in the Ivy League: Panel
Hi everyone. Welcome to CollegeAdvisor’s Comparing Schools in the Ivy League panel. To orient everyone with the webinar timing. We’ll start off with a presentation, then answer your questions in a live Q&A on the sidebar. You can download our slides and you can start submitting questions in the Q&A tab.
Now let’s meet our panelists. So hi again. My name is Meaghan. I am. Uh, the panelist this evening. I graduated from Cornell University in 2019 and I majored in industrial labor relations and had a double minor in business and inequality studies. And I’m currently based out of New Jersey. Um, At CollegeAdvisor, I both, um, am an advisor to students and help them navigate the college application process.
And I also, um, serve as a webinar coordinator, which is why I’m here with you today. And now I’d like to it on to Theo to. Thank you Meaghan. Um, I’m Theo Longlois. Um, I graduated from Harvard University In 2016, I concentrated, that’s what we call majoring, in folklore mythology with a minor in Spanish and global health and health policy.
Uh, I am based in Birmingham, Alabama, and I’m currently a healthcare navigator for an LGBT Health Organization. And I am also on the Harvard team, um, with CollegeAdvisor, which is a team set up along with alumni from Yale, Cornell, other top schools to give, uh, specialized information about those schools.
Awesome. Thanks for that intro. We’re now gonna move on to the first poll of the evening. Um, so it’s going to launch, The first poll of tonight is where are you in the application process, and while the answers start coming in, um, quick question for Theo. Did you have a favorite place on campus to study and where was it?
Yeah. Um, my favorite place to study usually changed every semester. Um, I, I really liked a Lamont library, which was the undergraduate library. Um, it was really warm, had great lighting, um, and, uh, was very centrally located. What about you? I had a couple of favorite places to study, so I, as I mentioned, I majored in industrial and labor relations and we kind of had our own building on campus, so I’d spent a lot of my time there.
And then some of you might know that Cornell has like a famous clock tower and there’s actually a library right under there and it’s really nice. So sometimes I’d, I’d change it up and go there as well. Awesome. So I see we have a lot of great answers so far. The majority of people are starting to research schools, let’s say around 67%, around 17% haven’t started.
And then there’s a good mixture of people who are working on their essays, getting their application materials together and. Even a small amount of people who are almost done with the application process. So, um, I think we have a really great mix of attendees today and excited to share more about, um, or excited for me and Theo to share more about our experiences at the different Ivy Leagues.
So we’ll jump right into it. Um, so the first question that I’ll answer is, what was my college process like? So, I, I would say that my college application process, I had a really early start. I, um, my sis, I have an older sister and she graduated from college two years before me. Um, so I actually had the opportunity to accompany her on many visits with my parents.
She was targeting a lot of Ivy Leagues. Um, and I would say that my interests were a little bit more varied. I definitely wanted to focus on the northeast. So, um, during my own, College application search, or sorry, my own college search. I kind of revisit a lot of schools in the northeast. Um, checked out some of the Ivy’s, but as I’ll mention later on, um, kind of focus my search on a variety of different schools.
So one big theme of my college process was definitely self-reflection Throughout high school, I kind of changed my mind several times of what I wanted to do. So I knew that I had to kind of think really hard of like, what do I wanna do post-college, what do I need to do to get there? And also figure out like, what are my interests and what would I want to study for four years?
So, um, ultimately I decided. I would try to pursue something that was vague enough that I would have many options, but also that would kind of give me a little bit direction and a little bit of structure to push me in the right direction. So I did prioritize schools that had different business programs and intersectional curriculums.
So this was a mix of economics, straight up business, um, and also like a little bit of psychology. Cause I think my interests were kinda lying in, in the, in, in the intersection of those two. So finally when it came to actually applying, I ended up applying to 10 schools. Um, and that involved a lot of supplemental essays along with the common app essay.
So I think my biggest advice to, um, everyone who’s tuning in tonight is to definitely start the process as early as possible, um, and. You know, start thinking about what schools you wanna apply to, at least in the summer before senior year. Um, think about, you know, which of the schools that you’re applying to require a supplemental essay or supplemental materials, and making yourself a timeline of how you’re going to accomplish those things.
I think that’s definitely the biggest piece of advice I can give after kind of struggling through lots of essays that I had to write and also knowing that, um, That seniors in high school have a lot on their plate. There’s, you know, AP’s, there’s just, you know, general coursework, extracurricular, so you want to kind of set yourself up for success there.
So moving on to the second question. Were you considering any other Ivy schools at the time? What made you choose Cornell? So, as I mentioned before, um, Cornell was probably one of the only Ivy Leagues I was considering. I did explore a lot of different schools in the northeast, both a mix of public and private, um, and.
I think what really drew me to Cornell was ultimately the academic program. So as I mentioned before, I was interested in business and then also the intersection of business and psychology. And so there were two programs that kind of captured that. And that was the se, oh wait, actually, sorry. The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences program, that was called Applied Economics and Management, and then also the College of Industrial and Labor Relations.
And so, As I mentioned in my intro, I ultimately majored in industrial labor relations, which is also, I’ll probably reference it as ILR throughout this webinar, just for short. And basically it is a combination of many different, um, different social studies. So for example, I took a lot of classes in, um, labor management organizational studies, um, Also, there’s a lot of different components that had to do with, uh, international labor, um, and, and what people do after graduating from industrial labor relations.
It, it varies. And that’s why I was really drawn to it because as I mentioned, I was a bit indecisive, didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do. And so people who study this go into human resources business, um, advocacy work, social justice law. Um, so there’s a lot of different options. The other reason why I ended up going to Cornell is my sister actually went there.
Um, she was an engineer, so very different experience in that regard. But as a high schooler, I, I did want some familiarity. Um, and I wrote here, it’s a little bit far from home. It was around
a four hour. Um, I had kind of like a support system there already, and then the third, or. Fourth piece here is, and actually at the New York, it’s around a four hour drive from new. City without Bureau. And although it’s considered to be a rural location, there’s several things to do both on and off campus.
And I was able to kind of experience this through the, um, the tour that I took of Cornell. So on campus there’s a ton of clubs.
On the weekend and then off campus, the, uh, Ithaca thriving, I would say. Um, there’s a really nice downtown. Area have like different, um, events that happen all the time. Um, Ithaca is also full of nature and hiking, so there’s a lot of activities that you can do, um, out outdoors. Um, and then also as I mentioned, it’s, it’s a short trip to New York City as well.
So if you need a kind, a change of environment or a change of pace, you can always take that short trip to New York City. And then the last point I’ll touch upon that made me choose Cornell, the different opportunities. So, um, there’s a great alumni network. People are always willing and open to connect.
And as an alumni, um, And also a student. I definitely have taken advantage of this in particular. Um, and so one example of how active the alumni community is once you graduate is, so I live in the New York City area and a group of alumni actually went to like a Mets game together over the summer, which is a great way to connect with different people that you might not have met while you were attending the school and.
Another piece to the alumni network are the career opportunities. So a lot of different employers do on campus recruitment for various types of jobs. There’s a lot of resources. Each college has its own dedicated career services office. Um, and overall you definitely feel supported in a job that is, that feel that you, um, a job.
You, um, that are, that is connected to what you wanna do. And then I guess one more thing to add onto that, as I’m talking about resources, is there’s a lot of other support besides career services. There’s also academic support, such as like tutoring and office hours with um, With TA’s, there’s student services to help you choose your classes and if you’re struggling through anything or you just need to talk to someone.
And there’s also a lot of safety resources and mental health resources, which I think is a, um, you know, all colleges should have. And I, I can definitely vouch that Cornell emphasizes the support that they have for their students. So I’ll move on to my last question. So I’ll share a little bit more about what is unique and interesting about Cornell.
So Cornell’s motto is any person, any study, and I think this is really greatly demonstrated through the diverse colleges that you can enroll in at Cornell. So there’s seven different colleges. There’s the College of Engineer, Industrial Labor relations, the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, the College of Human Ecology, the SC Johnson College of Business, which has a hotel school and that focuses on hospitality, the school, um, the College of Agriculture, and also the College of Arts and Sciences.
So you can really study anything. There’s several different majors within each, several different opportunities to minor and concentrate. And I think something that draws a lot of students to Cornell is the unique class offering. So you can take a class, you know, your regular, regular requirements. But if you wanna try something new, you could also take a class on mushrooms.
Everyone’s required to do a gym class. You could do that in Thai massage or archery. Honestly, anything that you could imagine. You could even take a gym class where you go camping in the woods and that will give you credit. Um, and some, some other favorites of students is oceanography and human bond. And I, I personally took human bonding and thought was a really cool class.
Um, I think another interesting fact is that as an undergrad you can take grad level courses. So for example, if you’re interested in pursuing law, you could take some law classes at Cornell Law School. And then finally, I wanna point out that you can also kind of create your own major. It’s called interdisciplinary studies.
And this is where you develop a set of courses around interest that are not well addressed by other majors in the colleges that are offered at Cornell. So basically, If you don’t see your interest reflected in the majors that are offered, you can kind of, um, create your own curriculum that you are being immersed in the academic offerings that you want to learn.
Um, the second interesting fact about Cornell is that it is a New York state land grant institution and the four bulleted colleges that you see on your screen. College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, college of Human Ecology and the SC Johnson College of Business, they are considered land grant institutions.
And so this means that Cornell, through these schools, Cornell is responsible with advancing the lives and livelihoods of the state citizens through teaching, research and public service. Um, and also I, I think this will resonate with a lot of New York State residents is that for these colleges that fall under the land grant institution, New York State residents can receive in-state tuition.
So the third thing that I wanna point out here is the focus on service learning. And this is something that was really impactful for my experience at Cornell. Um, Basically, there’s a lot of different opportunities for you to get out there with a group of other corn Cornell students travel and do a service learning project, so some ILR specific ones include spending the summer in India or Zambia, or your winter break in Vietnam.
This is basically an all expenses paid opportunity. To understand the cultural nuances of the area that you travel to and work on a project with an NGO or nonprofit, or it could potentially be a research opportunity depending on which one. And then another opportunity that I took advantage of was called the High Road Fellowship.
So basically I got to spend the summer in Buffalo with other cornels working at a nonprofit, and, um, also learning about the Buffalo community and exploring the city, which was really awesome. Um, and then the last thing that I will. Point out about what is really interesting about Cornell is the involvement in the local Ithaca community.
So, as I mentioned before, may sound like it’s in the middle of nowhere, but there really is a thriving community that cares. Um, there’s several opportunities that you can pursue. One of them being the Cornell Cooperative Extension, where you can focus on a project that impacts itca in a positive way.
Focus on agriculture, community, energy, environment, food, or four h. And then also as a freshman, before you start at Cornell, you can participate in a pre-orientation service-ship program. And you basically, um, work with other freshmen, um, that are just starting at Cornell as well to do different projects.
So an example might be spending the day with a group of local youth, new to the Big Brothers and Big Sisters program. Preparing local schools for the start of the new year. Um, and then a, a really great tie back to what I was saying about the nature, one of the examples of the projects is clearing invasive species and sorting seeds to propagate native plants at a local state park.
So a lot of really cool academic and experiential opportunities that you can pursue at Cornell. And I think that’s what it makes it really unique. Um, So I will now move on to the second poll of tonight. Um, and the poll question is, where are you in the college application? Oh, yeah. Where are you in the college application process?
Oh, sorry. I might have launched the wrong poll before. Um, so. Let me see if you can see on your screens. The question actually I’m sending out is what grade are you in? Sorry about that. And I see some responses flooding in and in the meantime, um, Theo, can you help me answer what is a hot take you have about your school that prospective students should know?
Hmm. So one thing that I think is important to note is that, you know, Harvard is doing a lot, um, to ch um, to address historical harms, but there’s still a lot of historical harms that Harvard is complicit in, um, with both colonization. And the enslavement of Black Americans. And that is something that the campus is really working to address that history.
But, you know, I really recommend that students of color, um, who are applying also talk to Harvard students of color to make sure that it is a good and supportive environment for them, um, because of that history. Yeah, that’s great Theo. Thanks for sharing. I would say similar things about Cornell and also many.
Institutions, many university, higher education institutions, you definitely wanna do your research, make sure that the schools align with your personal values and ethics. Um, and then, uh, another thing I guess I would say about Cornell specifically is, I don’t know if this is a hot take because I think this is actually something that most people stereotype Cornell as kinda cutthroat.
Um, I think it really kind of depends on how you approach your experience at college. You could be cutthroat anywhere. But it’s really up to you to make sure that if you want a collaborative experience, you can have that. You don’t necessarily have to like fall into the stereotype that is given to the school.
Um, and I do think that I’ve met some very collaborative and caring people at Cornell that genuinely want to help you and, um, you know, succeed with you. And then of course, just like at any other school, there will be those people who are kind of in it for themselves. So you just have to think about what kind of experience you want and, Um, try to, you know, create that experience for yourself.
So let’s take a look at the poll results. So we have a good mixture of different, different attendees across different grades. 50% are in 11th grade. So you all are probably getting ready to put together your college list. And it’s great that you’re attending this webinar so that you can get a better idea of what the different Ivy Lease can offer you.
I see there’s some 10th graders, some ninth graders, and then a small, um, small amount of 12th graders. So that’s awesome. Thank you all for tuning in. Um, so I’m gonna pass it off to Theo now to share his exp share their experience about Harvard. Thank you. Um, so my college application process, to be honest, was much less thoughtful than Meaghan’s.
So mine is a cautionary tale of what not to do. Um, I did go on a college trip. Um, I was lucky that, um, to get to go to Harvard, Yale, Quinton, Columbia Brown, and Johns Hopkins. Um, I’m originally from South Texas, so we did it all in. One week. Um, one thing I would advise when doing that is the only time I could go was during the, uh, our school break.
Um, but that had also aligned right around graduations. And so I didn’t research what would be happening on the campuses when I went. Um, it was just the only time I could go, so I. I didn’t get to talk to as many students or sit in on classes where if I had planned it out to go, maybe during my spring break or something like that, it would’ve been, uh, much more organized.
So I really recommend that, um, if, especially if you’re traveling from far away. Um, I applied early to Harvard. Um, I knew I wanted to go to Harvard since I was like six years old, and. Um, and I’d also applied to Johns Hopkins, uh, not Johns Hopkins to UT Austin because their application was due earlier. Um, and then once I got accepted Harvard, um, I, none of my other applications were complete.
Um, but I, that, thankfully Harvard was my top choice, so I didn’t have to apply anywhere else, but I definitely should have worked on my applications much further in advance because had I not gotten in early action, I would’ve been writing like 12 essays in as many dates. Um, and I think one thing to think about, if you’re applying early action and you’re thinking, oh, if I don’t get in, I can use that winter break to apply because maybe you have an intense senior course load, or a lot of extracurriculars is a lot of people when they, if, if you get deferred for early action it or, or I don’t get in.
Or same for early decision. It’s very normal to go through kind of a morning process for a few days. So you’re probably not gonna be in the best head space to write your applications if you’re putting it off for Christmas break of your senior year. Um, for that reason.
Oh, oh, sorry. Sorry about that. No, we had the same thought. Um, so I was also considering Harvard, uh, Yale, Princeton and Columbia, um, along with a few other private schools and UT Austin. Um, one thing I really liked about Harvard is their approach to required classes. So, um, Some, there are basically three camps, colleges, one that you have to take, like everybody has to take this math class, everybody has to take this English class.
Then there’s the, there’s no requirements. Uh, just do your major. Uh, Harvard fell in the middle, which is there are eight areas you had to take classes in. So you had to take a history class, you had to take a math class, you had to take a science class, but within that you could pick anything. So let’s say science isn’t your thing.
You could take science of cooking. Um, and or let’s say that you, uh, are, you know, didn’t have a great English background. You can take a, you know, English class that’s designed. For people who came from your background. Um, and I really liked that approach cause I knew I was going to get a very well-rounded education, but I was still going to be able to explore my own interest and tailor it towards my needs.
Um, I, uh, also really liked the relationship that Harvard had, um, with the broader community compared to some other schools I mentioned. Um, Harvard students were really involved in, uh, service work in the community. Um, similar to Meaghan’s experience, we had a service pre-orientation that, you know, we were all, we spent a week working in Boston and really getting to know the needs of the community if you so chose.
Um, We, um, you know, a lot of students, um, you know, spent most of their time off campus doing service work. They also, um, had, you know, when I would talk to people in Boston, they were really proud of the institution and felt connected to it. Um, I liked that it was really close to a big city, but that she’ll have a campus fill feel.
Um, and you know, some people like Princeton and Cornell have a much more campus field than Harvard. Because they’re much more isolated. And then like Columbia on the other end of the spectrum is right in the middle of the city. You take one step out of campus and you’re in the middle of New York City.
And I wanted something in between there. Um, I also like that students spent 50% of their time on extracurriculars. So, you know, I got to be a supervisor at a homeless shelter. I got to be a national officer in my debate league. Um, and I was given the support, but also the freedom to do things that most college kids didn’t get the opportunity to do.
Um, and the funding. And additionally alumni support. So, you know, alumni would help. Um, you know, there’s still a huge alumni network that I still rely on sit, cheers out of college. But I had a fully funded public service, uh, uh, uh, public service internship in college because the alumni. Gave me funding to be able to be a supervisor at the shelter.
They gave me funding in order to work at a nonprofit in New York City and housing. Um, we had a really great study abroad program and your financial aid carried over. So I was able to spend a summer in Peru, um, and I only had to buy my airfare. Um, , and that was another thing. The robust financial aid was unparalleled.
So for a student that is on full aid, which is I think around 65,000 or or less, um, and sometimes it’s even higher, you, they don’t just give you. You know, tuition, dorm, uh, uh, a board and all of that for, they give you a stipend to be able to go to student plays and school dances and things like that. They give you a winter coach stipend.
They will give a stipend to help families move up. And so, uh, all of that meant that my friend, that all of my friends could participate fully in the college, that I didn’t feel that there was a clash difference. I mean, obviously we all came from different backgrounds and that influenced us greatly. But in terms of what we could do on campus, you know, I wasn’t ever worried that, you know, oh, if I ask a find out for lunch, they won’t have enough meal, uh, plans to join or that, you know, so and so can’t go to the dance because he can’t afford a ticket.
Um, so I, I really liked that emphasis.
Awesome. Thanks for sharing. Um, let’s move on to the last question. So what is unique slash interesting about Harvard? Sorry, go ahead, . Yeah, you’re fine. And so. One thing is the housing system. So you know, like a lot of queer people, I have a complicated relationship with Harry Potter, but it’s the best analogy because it was modeled after Harvard, and Harvard was modeled after Cambridge in Oxford, which is where it originally came from.
But freshman year you live in the, you lived in the dorms and. They work really hard to give you an a really carefully matched roommate. You fill out an essay application and they match you with a roommate who’s going to challenge you, but also help support you. And especially if you’re coming from far away, they try to match you with someone in the northeast.
But, and freshman year, everybody eats in the dining hall. It looks like the dining hall in Harry Potter because Harry Potter was modeled after it. And it’s gorgeous and you can sit down with anybody. From anywhere in the globe and just have a conversation. Everybody’s really open to that. Um, but in the middle of your freshman year, you get sorted into one of the 12 upperclassmen houses and most of your residential life, the exception of extracurriculars is in the house.
So the houses have libraries, they have academic advising, especially for pre-law, pre-med, pre-business, that sort of thing. They have, uh, intramural sports. They have dances. Uh, you have house committees to plan all of these things, and it creates a family for you that follows you the next three years. Most people, when you, they introduce themselves at Harvard, they don’t say where they’re from.
They might, they may or may not say they’re class year, but they start off by saying their house because that’s how central it is to your, I. And it, and that sense of family, uh, away from home is really unparalleled. Um, and it also means you get a lot of individual attention, especially for things like career advising that you might not get if you’re just relying on the campus’s career center.
Like I said, 50% of student time, it’s been on extracurriculars. Um, and you get. Very much freedom in doing that. So I got to direct a hotline, for example. Um, the, the Harvard is really making strides when it comes to diversity. I believe that we now have over 50% of students are students of color. Although that may change due to the unfortunate Supreme Court ruling about affirmative action.
Um, and there’s huge funding for basically anything you want to do, um, especially for public service.
Thanks, Theo. Is that all for the, what’s unique and interesting about Harvard? Uh, that’s all for the moment. Okay. I’m sure there’s a lot more that you can share and we can cover that in the Q&A section. Um, and so with that, we can move on to the Q&A, uh, during the live Q&A. I’ll read through the questions that you submitted in the Q&A tab and then read them out loud before, uh, myself and deal give you an answer.
And as a heads up, if your Q&A tab isn’t letting you submit questions, just double check that you. The webinar through the custom link in your email and not from the webinar landing page. Um, and we’ll try to get to all of the questions that you have. So let’s take a look at what’s going on in the Q&A.
So I think we can start with this question. How active were you in high school? I know colleges want active students and not just academic oriented or sports oriented. That’s a great question, and I think that’s totally right about, you know, wanting to bring a holistic, um, view of yourself to the college application process.
So, Theo, do you wanna take it off on how active you were in high school and what you were involved? Yeah. One thing I wanna preface this with is most of the IVs judge students within their content context. So what that means is they’re going to be looking at were, were you as active as you could be, where you’re from.
So me being from South Texas, I was not compared to a student at a top New York City chart. Uh, I was being impaired to other students in that context of South Texas. So I definitely think I made the most of every opportunity given to me back home. I was really involved in debate. I volunteered, uh, regularly.
I tutored, um, at a small tutoring job. Um, and I. Uh, you know, was like on several academic, uh, competition teams and I did dance, so I did like basically anything I could do to make the most over of the opportunities for me. But, you know, there, when I got to Harvard, you know, I was blown away. There were students who had won Intel science scholarships and competitions and things like that, that had no idea were even possible.
And on the other end, I also had friends at Harvard who were literally homeless before they came, and they didn’t have any extracurriculars. Their extracurriculars were working to help their families, and Harvard took them into consideration or taking care of younger siblings, or that they lived out in the middle of nowhere and there weren’t things for them to do.
Yeah, no, that’s a, that’s really great that you brought that up. That you know, it, it, it, it also depends on, you know, what your background is, where you’re coming from, and the schools will spend the most part, take that into account. Um, in terms of my activities in high school, I, I think I did a kind of a mix of different things.
I did a couple of sports. Um, I started a couple of organizations at my campus. I, I held a job. Um, and I think the best advice for what types of activities you would you might want to consider doing in high school are the ones that actually really matter to you. You can have, you know, you can be the president of like 20 clubs.
At the end of the day, that’s your time that you’re spending and you wanna spend your time on things that you really care about. And I think that really shines through in the college application process when you’re writing about those extracurriculars and you’re writing about them in your essays. I think that the admissions officers can really tell when you’re being genuine and when you’re not.
Um, so I think, you know, do what you’re passionate about. I wouldn’t focus too much on what others are doing as long as you’re doing what. Care to do with your time and, you know, you’re making, you’re, you, you’re making personal growth and you’re also making a difference in your community. Um, okay, so I think we can move on to the next question.
Um, we have a question here about what makes Ivy League School so much harder to get into. So I think, Theo, we can kind of bounce off of each other on this one. My initial reaction is, The amount of people that apply to Ivy Leagues. Mm-hmm. and the, the notoriety that Ivy Leagues have and the impact that Ivy Leagues have on kind of like culture and just, you know, the history of ’em.
Um, so I think the, of people that apply definitely plays a huge factor in it. Definitely. Um, it is all it is. You know, there is something like. 30,000 people that apply for a class of 1600. Um, and that number goes up every year. Um, so, and it’s also the Ivy Leagues are very intentional about crafting a community.
The way I heard it put by one of the missions officers once was, we don’t want too many tuba players from Idaho. So about 80% of the people that apply to Harvard, and I’m sure it’s same for Cornell and the other Ivy’s are academically qualified. From there, they’re trying to crack the best class. So they want geographic diversity, racial diversity, socioeconomic diversity, you know, LGBT, inclusion to balance gender ratios, but also things like, Hey, we want students who did a variety of extracurriculars.
So if you. You live in like New York City and maybe you’re, you know, a top chair flute player, but there’s 20 other top chair flute players. They’re probably not gonna take all 20, even if you guys were all had the merit for, uh, to get into Harvard. So they’ve tried to balance that class and at the end of the day, it’s just a lot of individual factors that are outside of your control and that say nothing about your worth to be.
And I think that’s something to remember in the college application process is it’s terrifying to have a stranger judge you, but they’re not saying you’re not a good student. They’re not saying that you didn’t meet the most of your opportunities there. It may just be that there were too many tuba players in, in Idaho and you happened to be one of them.
Yeah, no, that’s a, that’s a great analogy. And just know that, you know, whatever your college outcome is, that doesn’t. Your future or you know, it, it’s really about what you make out of your experience and your situation. Um, so gonna move on to the next question here. Um, you have a question about AP’s. How many AP’s did you take in high school?
Um, you wanna start off the. Yeah, I would say I took every AP, uh, except for like environmental science because it didn’t match with my schedule that my high school offered. Um, and I, I would say that if you’re applying to an iv, whether it’s dual credit or AP, whatever, or a IB, it, unless you know that like it’s one subject that you’re just not going to do well in, you should take every opportunity offer.
Yeah, I would have to agree with that. I also took as many AP’s as I could. I think the message here is, you know, take the most rigorous academic course load that you can within your means. Um, also, you know, taking into consideration your, your, um, Personal, you know, personal background and, and, and any other things that you’re trying to balance, um, and, and really try to challenge yourself because there’s a lot of people applying to these Ivy Leagues who are also taking the most rigorous course load.
So do what you can in that regard. Um, and understanding that not all schools offer AP classes, that’s not gonna put you at a disadvantage if your school doesn’t offer AP classes. How are you supposed to take AP classes? Right. So I wouldn’t be too worried if your school doesn’t offer AP classes. And I, I think Theo, it looks like you have something to say about that maybe, but I, I have.
My WiFi’s lacking, so I’m not sure. , yes, I was gonna say a thousand percent agree. I also wanna, for the juniors and below the audience, you might not be familiar with this, but, um, every, for the Ivy’s, your counselor actually writes a letter of recommendation. Where she’s going to put he or she’s going to put this into context.
So they will say, and this is something that they’re not used to this, you wanna explain to them, but they’ll give like, this is how many AP’s are offered at our high school. This is how many the average student takes. This is the average student score. So for example, maybe you guys have AP’s, but no one has ever gotten a book for two, and you get a.
You know, a three normally wouldn’t be competitive, but if you’re the only person in your high school history to get a three, that’s something that you want to make sure somebody notes in your application. And so I think the big thing here is you wanna do the best with opportunities you’re given. And be sure to tell the admissions office what those opportunities are, whether that’s through a part of your essay or a, or a supplement to where you explain something.
Um, you just wanna explain your circumstance. Teachers letters of recommendation are also really great for that as well, because, you know, if a teacher says this is a circumstance, it’s gonna have more. Coming from.
Awesome. Thank you for sharing that advice. Um, and then we can move on to this other question. I think this is an interesting question. What Ivy League schools are best for? Science slash biology? And I think it’s interesting. I don’t, I think, you know, do you come from a science slash biology background? I was pre-med, but Okay.
I can’t, I wasn’t comparing the other schools. Um, so mm-hmm. . Go ahead Meaghan. Yeah, so the reason why I think this is interesting is because all the Ivy Leagues will, you know, some will have their strengths and for example, engineering or the social sciences, but all of them are typically, I would say, strong in whatever field you’re looking for.
I think it really depends on what kind of experience you’re looking for when it comes to science and biology. For example, if you have a very clear focus and you know you want to do research, Make sure that you do your own personal research on the Ivy League. See what kind of research professors are doing, making sure, is it in the exact biology field that you’re looking to explore more in, um, you know, check out the extracurriculars, check out the classes that they offer, if there’s something specific.
Within science or STEM that you wanna pursue. Make sure that that school has the academics, the experiences, the extracurriculars that you need. Mm-hmm. to fully explore that field that you’re looking to go into. So I don’t think there’s really a definitive answer of which Ivy League School is the best for science or biology or stem or any subject.
It’s really about. What you’re looking to get out of it. So for example, um, you know, I don’t know if you can expand a little bit more into pre-med, but, um, yeah, I don’t know why I said for example, because I did not study science or biology and think you might have a better, uh, background to share that, share more about that.
I completely second everything you just said, Meaghan. Um, and I, you know, I think one thing you wanna look at too is what alumni connections are there, and like, especially if you’re going for something like pre-professional school, um, finding out like what the advising is like because. You know, like for example, har, one thing Harvard does really well with pre-med is they have residential tutors who are graduate students that live in the dorms and they employ medical students who, you get a medical student who only works for four or five people.
And they guide you through the application process. And even if you apply like 2, 3, 5 years after graduation, you still have access to that. So, uh, you know, if you know that you want to do a certain program, finding out what are the emissions rates, uh, for people from that school, for that program, or like, I saw a question in the chat about marine biology.
Um, you know, I would say they are. I don’t know, but you know, looking at what internships, what research opportunities are valuable, and you can find that on their website and really just do a rabbit hole. And the great thing is that research is also something you can talk about in your application essay.
So it’s gonna serve you two-fold. Yep. That’s great. Um, I’m gonna quickly take a break from Q&A. Uh, for those in the room who aren’t already working with us, we know how overwhelming the admissions process can be for both parents and students alike. Our team of over 300 former admissions officers and admissions experts are ready to help you and your family navigate it all in one on one advising session.
So take charge of your family’s college admissions journey by signing up for a free 45 minute strategy session with an admissions expert using the QR code on the screen. And the next, I’m gonna move on the next screen. It’s gonna have the same QR code, so please feel free to keep scanning. But I do wanna continue moving on to some more Q&A.
Um, so. Let’s see what’s next. Okay, I think this is a good question. What’s the best way for an international student to decide on slash research a college list? Especially if they can’t visit colleges or talk to anyone that’s been to an Ivy. And I think that the answer to this question can apply to both international students and people who may not be able to get out there and and physically take a visit to a.
Um, I think one thing that the pandemic helped to accelerate is actually virtual visits. Mm-hmm. and also virtual opportunities to get to know the campus experience and also talk to other students. Most schools will have virtual tours on their website, and I think that’s a great way to kind of see what does the campus look like and also, um, just like try to picture yourself there, even I know it.
As easy as being there physically. But that’s a great resource to start off. And a lot of schools also have, um, kind of like student ambassadors that you can talk to and ask them questions about their experience. Maybe they can share a bit about their own, uh, personal application process, what they actually have experienced while on campus.
And they can also share a lot of different facts about the college. Um, and I think that’s a really helpful. We’ll pass on to Theo for some more tips on that one. Definitely. Um, I would also say, um, this is more true for the Ivys, but a lot of the Ivy’s have what’s called alumni clubs, so like a, there’s one in every state.
And there’s one in most countries, I believe for Harvard. Um, Cornell probably has something similar. Um, and so if your country or region has one, I would reach out to them because they often have alumni that are willing to talk to you and tell you about their experiences, and they can tell you what it’s like to be from your country going to that school.
Um, there’s also admissions, blogs written by students so you can kinda get a feel for the campus. Um, another thing to consider is if you need financial aid, not every school, uh, gives, uh, financial aid to international students. Harvard does probably most of the IBH do because we, they all offer about comparable packages, but you really wanna make sure.
That you are applying to schools that give you good financial aid or have good scholarships. Another thing that I’ve seen in the past is alumni is international students who, because of that, typically the schools that give good financial aid, Also are schools that are very selective, unfortunately. So you wanna make sure that you apply to some ball bat schools, even if those schools mean that you would have to, for example, you know, uh, it it that you can get into with a merit scholarship because I’ve seen international students who are amazing.
But they didn’t have a diverse college list, and they ended up not getting in anywhere and they didn’t apply to their home at their host country school, so they had to take a year off and do that again. So I definitely think have a backup in your host country that’s affordable. Make sure you have a well-rounded list.
Yeah, I think that’s awesome advice. Um, and since you kind of touched upon financial aid a bit, we have a question here. Are Ivy schools less likely to give as much financial aid as others? I feel like your answer kind of touched upon that, but you want to expand a bit. Ivy’s actually give the most financial aid.
So there’s two types of aid you can get. There’s merit scholarships. That would be like you wrote a s you a National Merit scholar, or you’re a baseball champion, or you are a debates champion. Most of the Ivy’s don’t give those. What they do give is need based financial aid. So at Harvard, if your family makes under, I wanna say it’s 65,000 a year, it’s free.
Um, you don’t pay for tuition, you do not pay for room board. You might have to pay your pets books, but most professors try to get those to you for free because often at the IV, the professors wrote the book, so they just give you a pdf. Um, and um, you get priority application for on campus jobs. And if you make anywhere from like two 65,000 to, it used to be 250,000, it’s probably raised, it’s about 10% of your parents’.
My parents were solidly middle class. Um, in fact for, I lived in an impoverished area, so they were upper middle class for where we’re from anywhere else. Middle class. I paid less to go to Harvard than I would’ve to go to my state school. Um, and because my sister was in college at the same time, Harvard took that into account and they.
Two applications. One is the FAFSA that every school takes. The other is something called the CSS profile, which is longer than the FAFSA and much more vigorous. And that’s where you can talk about, for example, if your family has substantial debt, if your dad’s about to retire. If your mom has an upcoming surgery planned, if your uncle who you’re living with just passed away or you have another sibling in college, you can talk about those things in the in there.
And the Ivy’s will usually give you really good offers, um, on financial aid. And if your situation changes while you’re there, they will help you stay. And in case you came in later, you know, for students on full aid, they also give aid for winter coats. They give aid to go to student performances. Um, if you’re on any sort of aid, you get that aid carries over for study abroad during the summer and the term time.
So it, it’s, the package is, Awesome. That’s, hopefully that helped answer the question about financial aid. Um, and then I think an interesting question is how do you know which Ivy League is a good fit for you? Is it possible for every Ivy League to be a good fit for you? I think the question that, sorry, the answer to that question.
It really depends on what you’re looking for and the different factors that you’re considering in your college application journey and process. And there’s so many to consider. It’s really about location, um, what kind of course work is offered, the different curriculum, the focus on different aspects of the college experience, whether that be like research extracurriculars, um, You know, like school spirit.
So I think really you have to do your research when it comes to this one. You might have this vision of the Ivy League, just General Ivy League as you know, what success looks like. But the experience at each school is gonna be so different. So my biggest suggestion is just really to do as much research as you can keep on attending these panels of where students can provide their experience and their stories.
Um, I keep on asking questions and. Really also do a lot of self reflection. Ask yourself, what do I want outta my college experience and how am I gonna get there? Um, I think that is gonna help you in regards to, is it possible for every Ivy League to be a good fit for you? I think. Because they’re so different.
You know, it’s possible, maybe a couple of them might be a good fit for you, but I don’t know if all of them would be, and at the end of the day, you have to choose one school to go to. So I think really it’s a combination of self-reflection and research that will help you understand which one is the best fit for you and which one you should ultimately, you know, um, focus your, which ones you might wanna focus most of your energy on.
Anything to add the. Okay. Awesome. Um, let’s do one more question. I think this is a good one. How would you recommend utilizing the additional info section? I can start that one off, Meaghan. Um, so I, like I said earlier, I know I sound like I am beating a dead horse, but you can really use that inception to talk about your unique context if it’s not mentioned elsewhere.
So, you know, that would be things, like I said, like no one in my school’s ever taken an AP test before, even though we have AP classes or. Like I had one, um, there was a bomb threat during the middle of my AP test, so that went into the additional session because it definitely impacted my scores. Um, but it can also be for more personal things, you know, if you had a loss in the family or a personal health issue, um, or anything like that, you can definitely talk about it.
One thing I do wanna caveat by saying this is not right, this is not fair, but it is the way the world is, is you don’t wanna say anything that an admissions officer could discriminate against you based on while the admissions officers are very queer affirming. They’re really trying to balance racial diversity.
There’s still stigma in the higher education world about some chronic illnesses and some mental health concerns. So I think if you’re going to talk about those in the additional information section because they impacted you. What you wanna do is also show how you’re doing, okay now, what you have built in place to do, okay?
And how you’ll be able to continue to do that in college. So what I mean by that is maybe you had a learning disability and it really impacted you, your freshman and sophomore year. So your grades were lower, but you got an I e P and you out accommodations that work for you showing that art. It’s going to put it into context, but if you don’t talk about the resolution, then colleges may subconsciously worry that you’re going to have the same problem at their school.
And so you want, you don’t want that to happen.
Yeah. Thank you Theo. I think that’s awesome advice. Um, and I think it’s, you know, good to have the repetition so you can really kind of understand, um, what, what the proper next steps would be for that. So thank you so much for sharing. Um, so gonna move on to the next slide. Uh, just wanted to thank everyone for coming out tonight, and also thank you to Theo for serving as a panelist tonight.
Um, and. That is the end of our webinar. We had a really great time telling you about the Ivy League and comparing schools. Um, on the screen you’ll see the rest of our November webinar series featuring webinars on college panels and essay writing. So thanks again and hope everyone has a great night.
Thank you for hosting, Meaghan. Thank you. Thanks for joining.