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From the category archives:


Exactly how much will LEGACY help you get into Harvard?

Having served on admissions committees and known admissions counselors at different schools, I’ve seen the exact admissions percentages for legacy students. Legacy is strictly defined as being the direct descendant of an alum. Being the son or daughter of a Princeton alum counts as an official legacy, although being related to some extent (whether a […]

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How significantly will being a URM increase one’s chances of getting into a top-ranked school?

This will be the topic of a future post. For now, let’s keep it simple: -being a URM is a statistical advantage at every Ivy League school -in particular, it’s great if you have a “unique identity” as an URM (I talk about this at length in the admissions guide, but let’s just say that […]

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How much importance do admissions committees place on AP test scores?

About the same importance as they place on other quantitative measures of academic performance (eg, SAT, GPA, etc). The thing about APs is: -it gives you an opportunity to reinforce specific strengths (eg, if you’re a math whiz, you better take Calculus BC and get a 5) -it’s over a longer period of time, and […]

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Is applying EA really going to help your chances?

Yes, absolutely. Lots of schools are shifting now to SCEA and other forms of this, but basically apply EA (Early Action) to your top-choice school. You have nothing to lose, your chances are better, it’s great for “demonstrating interest” (which is something I talk about repeatedly). Even if you’re passed during that round, the fact […]

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What can I do about low AP test scores? Am I doomed?

No you’re not. If you get low AP scores – and by low, I mean more than two 3’s and/or scores below 3 – then you need to make up your strength in academics. I’d avoid taking a specific AP test again – unless you scored a 2 and KNOW you can score a 4 […]

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Can I apply to just one university? Will that help my chances?

No. That’s a terrible idea. Here’s why: 1) If you don’t get into Princeton, and it was the only school you applied to, what are you going to do now?? 2) If Princeton sees that you only applied to their school, they will either think you’re too confident (which doesn’t help), or they will think […]

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How do I get into Harvard?

It’s funny but I’ve gotten about 6 emails asking me this very question. The truth is long, but I’ll give you the Cliff Notes: -You need a solid SAT score and a decent GPA with a STRONG transcript -You need outstanding teacher recommendations – learn how to get them -You need to keep busy over […]

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