Candidate Development

Our experts make Houston students into Ivy League applicants

University admission gets more competitive every year. Together, we'll create a personalized strategy to place your applications above the rest.

The days where high GPAs and test scores guaranteed admission have passed. Today’s top universities employ holistic review; admissions officers do their best to synthesize metrics, extracurricular activities, letters of recommendation, and application essays in order to understand a student’s accomplishments, talents, and aspirations. Every application is read to answer the question “what can this student add to my university?”

Ivy Scholars’ admission coaches have spent years answering that question because we spent years evaluating applicants to the world’s top universities. We are drawn together by their passion for helping students reach further than they could alone, and our strategy will make you the most competitive candidate you can be.

Our strategy will take your high school experience to the next level to make you the most competitive candidate you can be. Our admissions coaching service places your child with a mentor who to help them develop their academic strengths and extracurricular interests. Our continuity of service means you’ll never worry about being keyed into the process; we integrate tutoring and test prep services for a holistic approach to improving students as thinkers and scholars, as well as applicants.

We Focus On:

  • Academic Profile Evaluation
  • Analysis of Assets vs. Areas to Build On
  • Individual College Candidacy Goals
  • In-Depth 4-Year Achievement Plan
  • Interview, Networking, and Soft Social Skills
  • Early Mastery of Standardized Testing (SAT/ACT, SAT II, AP/IB)
  • Early College Planning/Admissions
  • Small, Tailored Summer Programs
  • Options for In-Person, Phone, Email, and Skype Sessions
  • Profile Project Mentorship

Ivy Scholars’ Profile Project service will help you set and implement goals for extracurricular activities and projects that will set you a cut above the rest. No other service has our ability to place Houston-based high school students with top-tier mentors and internship programs.

“I worked with Ivy Scholars for 2 years. I started with SAT tutoring and moved on to their college admissions program. The SAT preparation I got at Ivy Scholars was fantastic. It was really meaningful to have teachers who tried to understand the best way to explain things to me, and didn’t just stick to one way of teaching that had worked in the past. I took the group class and did private tutoring, and succeeding in getting the score I wanted in eight months. But even after making a 1590, successfully applying to my top choice (MIT) seemed impossible. I’d read their admissions blogs, and I knew everybody applying already had great grades and test scores. I wanted to differentiate myself and develop an admissions “spike.” I just didn’t know how.

When I met Alexander in sophomore year, I was intimidated to hear about the amazing things his students had done. How was I going to measure up to students who displayed their artwork to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, or played in Carnegie Hall, or participated in open heart surgery? At the time, I wasn’t even making an A in precalculus. Being a top 10% student in a very competitive high school, I thought I would be too busy keeping my grades up and studying for the SAT to do the kinds of things I read about Ivy applicants doing on Quora.

Alexander understood “the intimidation factor” of Ivy League admissions. I was expecting him to push harder, or get frustrated with what I saw as my ineptitude, so I was defensive at first. In return, he was endlessly patient. I never had a teacher who tried so hard to be my friend before. I know I didn’t make it easy. After the first month, we went to get lunch at a Mexican restaurant and he told me about the mistakes he made in high school, his struggles getting into Johns Hopkins, and how hard he worked there.

It never became easy, but I think that lunch was the turning point for my efforts to get into MIT (or a university like it). What I started to understand was that being an Ivy applicant always means being a little worried that things won’t work out, because pushing your limits is the only thing that can get you noticed. Nobody is smart enough to get in without struggling to prove themselves, because colleges look at how well you struggle and adapt as well as your actual accomplishments. That helped me get over some worries about not measuring up.

Helping me find my interest (mechanical engineering) was a really long process. Alexander was able to see, way before anyone else, what I actually enjoyed learning about and what I wanted to commit to. He knew about several different competitions that help demonstrate my skills so that colleges could see how I applied myself to my interests. I think the fact that I won first place in a major STEM competition and placed as finalist in another really gave me a leg up. I’m also grateful for his advice on what not to do. He helped me save a lot of time eliminating false starts and advising me on things (like orchestra and YES hours) that wouldn’t be worth the time.

By the time I had to write my admissions essays, I had tools that went far beyond what my English classes taught. From the beginning, the writing coach and I went over Essays that Worked for getting into Johns Hopkins and talked about how my essays could meet that level of quality. Not only did I have 18 months to sharpen my writing skills with writing coaches, Alexander walked me and my parents through the “fit” criteria of different Ivy League universities. We talked about what made writing interesting and how effective communication required an awareness of different experiences and perspectives for different universities. I think that made it a lot easier for me to know what to say to different schools.

I was thrilled to get into MIT and thank Ivy Scholars for doing an amazing job helping me get there.”


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