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.”

-Ann

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5/5
Wendy Y.
Parent
Below is my son's review. He was accepted to his dream Ivy League school!

From an admitted student's perspective, I am incredibly grateful to have met Sasha - he has been instrumental in helping me achieve my educational dreams (Ivy League), all while being an absolute joy (he's a walking encyclopedia, only funnier!) to work with.

Many people are dissuaded from seeking a college counselor because they think they can get into their desired college(s) either way. Honestly, going that route is a bit short-sighted and can jeopardize your odds of acceptances after years of hard work. The sad truth is, the American education system (even if you attend a fancy private school and ESPECIALLY if you go to a public school) doesn't really tell students how to write a compelling and authentic application. Going into the admissions process alone, without speaking with an advisor, is like going to court without a lawyer - you put yourself at a significant disadvantage because you don't have all the facts in front of you, or the help you need to negotiate the system.

That said, you need a good lawyer just like you need a good college counselor. And that's where Sasha distinguishes himself from the crowd of people claiming they'll get you into Harvard. I came to Sasha worried about and frankly dumbfounded by the college admissions process. I was unsure what to write about and how to go about drafting the essay that perfectly captured my passion, interests, and self. And I was highly skeptical that anyone could really help me. But, damn, did Sasha prove me wrong. From the beginning, Sasha amazed me with his understanding of the process, and ability to lend clarity and direction to me when I desperate needed it. After interviewing me about my background, experiences, activities, outlook, and vision, he helped me see qualities about myself I had not previously considered 'unique' or 'stand-out.' This process of understanding myself was so incredibly important in laying the groundwork for the essays I eventually wrote, and I'm certain I would've drafted boring, inauthentic essays without it.

Looking back, Sasha's talent is that he can see where your strengths lie, even when you don't see them. The truth is, although we don't always realize it, everyone has a unique story to tell. Sasha helped me see mine, and with his big-picture insight I was able to write the application that truly encapsulated my life and vision. He inspired me to dig deeper and write better, challenging me to revise and revise until my essays were the most passionate and authentic work I had ever written. As clichéd as that sounds, that's really what universities are looking for. In retrospect, it makes sense - in the real world passionate (not simply intelligent) individuals are the ones who make a difference in the world, and those are the individuals colleges would like to have associated with their brand.

In the end, I was accepted to the college of my dreams, a feat I could not have achieved without the direction Sasha lent to me. Essays (and the personal narrative you develop through your application) matter so much, and can literally make or break your application. I have seen so many of my 'qualified' friends receive rejections because they wrote contrived essays that didn't truly represent who they were; conversely, I have also seen so many friends with shorter resumes accepted because they were able to articulate their story in a genuinely passionate and authentic way - I fall into the latter category.

As a former admissions officer at Johns Hopkins, Sasha knows what types of essays jibe well with universities, an invaluable asset to have in the admissions process. He is responsive, flexible, creative, positive, and witty. For anyone who is serious about going into the college admissions process informed and prepared, I highly recommend Sasha.
5/5
Arda E.
Student
I used Ivy Scholars to mainly help me with college applications. Within weeks of using this service, Sasha was able to simplify the already complex process. When it came to writing the Common App essay, Sasha didn’t just help with grammar and syntax, he brought my essays to life. Sasha also worked tirelessly to help solidify my extracurricular activities, including research and internship opportunities. Without his help, I would have never had an impressive resume.

Sasha is not only an extremely knowledgeable tutor, but also a genuine brother figure. His guidance, throughout my last two years of high school, was everything I needed to get me an acceptance letter from my dream schools (UC Berkeley, Tufts, Emory).

When it came to testing, Ivy Scholars worked like a charm. Sasha offered a very comprehensive plan when it came to completely acing my standardized tests. Without his test taking strategies I would have never gotten straight 5s on my AP tests and a 35 on the ACT.

Working with Sasha, I didn’t just become a good student, I became a genuine scholar.
5/5
Samson S.
Parent
We worked with Ivy Scholars during my son's senior year. I was concerned that we may be too late to take advantage of college advising but the Ivy Scholars team quickly and confidently directed us through the steps to ensure no deadlines were missed. Sasha's knowledge about schools, what they looked for in candidates, and how to maneuver the application process was invaluable. Mateo and Ryan worked with my son to help him create an essay that would get noticed and I am so appreciative he had their guidance.

Prior to securing Ivy Scholars, we tried using a less-expensive online service which was a terrible experience. As a parent, Ivy Scholars brought peace of mind to an area that was frankly overwhelming. This service was invaluable in the knowledge that we gained throughout the process. He has also met with my freshman daughter to provide guidance for her high school courses, career paths, extracurricular activities, and more.

Prior to signing with Ivy Scholars, I tried a less expensive online service and was very disappointed.

As a result of our work with Ivy Scholars, I am pleased to say that my son will be attending Stern Business School at New York University this fall! I highly recommend Ivy Scholars. Highly recommend!