Is there anything I can do at home that can help get into an Ivy League school?
Volunteer hours, etc.
- LiliLv 76 months ago
You need to be a standout to get into an Ivy; that means looking unique, special, different. Volunteering is fine, but you need to do more than volunteer for the local animal shelter or something. Find an unusual charity to work for or found one yourself.
Aside from top grades and taking challenging classes, the Ivies are looking for people from unusual backgrounds or who do unusual things. I got into Yale, I am quite certain, because my profile was very different from those of other students from my high school who'd applied. I had classmates who'd invented things, published articles or even novels, lived in exotic places and spoke obscure languages, performed professionally on stage or with orchestras. Sometimes they were terrific athletes, though not so terrific that the big sports schools had recruited them.
That's not to say a more "ordinary" person can't get in, but such people have to do a couple of things that make them stand out from the crowd, that will make an admissions officer sit up and take notice. They don't want the standard class president who competently plays lacrosse and volunteers at -- as I said -- the local animal shelter.
"Leadership" positions are not the big deal some people think they are. You don't have to be a "leader" in some school club to look interesting.
- MSLv 76 months ago
The Ivy League schools look for truly exceptional students. So strong grades and test scores are primary; included in that, they will look at your schedule of courses and you certainly get some credit for taking AP, dual credit, and other challenging coursework.
After that, they want to see students who are exceptional in other ways. But just doing some volunteer work will not be sufficient. They like seeing long-term involvement in some groups, and leadership positions within them as well. It's better to be highly involved in a few things than just moderately involved in many. So organizing a big volunteer project might look good, as would participation in some school or community activities.
They also look for students who have achieved some significant recognition - state or national level awards and things like that.