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Before You Apply to Harvard, Learn EXACTLY How I Got In With B+ Grades and a 1360 SAT…As A Junior!

Subject: Lessons learned from the last 12 years
Date: Fall 2015

Dear future Ivy Leaguer,

Let me just say that I know what you’re going through. To me, it still feels like last week that I was an average 11th grader at a Texas public high school.

I had a 3.4 GPA, I was an officer in the French and Science clubs, and I scored a 1360 on the SAT. I wanted to go to Stanford, but I had no chance.

Even if I worked harder, I was already a junior. I didn’t have the time to start 6 high school clubs, get a 1600 SAT (back in those days), and become valedictorian. I had less than 10 months to get into my dream schools.

I knew that in order to get into Stanford, I had to do things differently.

I had to look at college admissions differently than every other student in my class. Because if I did the same things they did – with their higher class rank, higher SAT scores, and multiple president positions, I would never get in.

By now, you’ve probably figured out the ending. It was a good one. :)

I was accepted to Harvard…Stanford…Yale…and 4 more schools (including a few safeties of course)

After graduating, I spent 3 years in an admissions office for a Top 20 college. I reviewed 1000s of applications to decide who got the fat envelope…and who was waitlisted.

Every future Ivy Leaguer knows that they need every advantage they can get. You only get one real shot, so pay attention to what I’m about to say.

To your success,

John Chang
Stanford Class of 2008


Subject: A kind email from a parent of a Yale admit!
Date: January 2013


I bought the course online to use as a guide for my daughter’s application. I am both a public school teacher and a parent. Some of my daughter’s friends spent thousands on private advisors to help them through the “Ivy” process. WE DO NOT HAVE THAT KIND OF MONEY. This course spells it out CLEARLY with no punches pulled. It is worth every penny. I read it. My daughter read it. My husband read it. We used it as a road map. I only wish that I had known about it earlier. My daughter was just admitted to Yale for the class of 2014 and she is thrilled.


You may think that you have no chance. You’ll probably face resistance from your parents and your friends. But just think how PROUD they’ll be when you show them that Harvard acceptance letter!

As you continue reading, you’ll realize that my average student’s course on Ivy League Admissions will be a little different from the 5,284 other admissions books out there.

P.S. For all of those super impatient readers, you can buy it here:

Click here to buy it now

I’d still recommend you read the rest of the page, because I share a lot of valuable insights

P.P.S. Check out this nice email I received from a customer who was accepted to Harvard, Yale, and MIT! Wow!

Email testimonial from customer accepted to Harvard, MIT, and Yale

Here’s why 98% of high school students think about Ivy League admissions in the WRONG WAY

If I asked you today what it takes for a high school student to get into Harvard, here’s what you’d tell me:

  • You need a great SAT score – preferably a 2300 or above
  • You need to be president of at least 3 clubs at your school
  • You need to spend at least 100 hours in local community service and volunteer work
  • You need to travel to [INSERT FOREIGN COUNTRY HERE] to [choose one: BUILD HOMES/FIGHT POVERTY]
  • You need to be on the [INSERT RANDOM SPORT HERE] varsity team

If you can’t identify with one of the above, please leave now. My course won’t help you as you seem to already know everything.

For everyone else, let me tell you why all of those assumptions are wrong. Flat out wrong.

Here’s how you can immediately become that elite 2%

  • Harvard’s admit class has an average SAT score of 2180 (source: US News). For every admitted student with a perfect 2400, there was someone who got into Harvard with a 1960 SAT! Think about that one
  • A student who is president of the Chess/Choir/Green Energy/Esperanto clubs has no passion – they simply do a little of everything. Without passion, you won’t get into Princeton. For every 4-club president that we accept, we turn down two 5-club presidents
  • Hospital volunteer = pushing patients in wheelchairs. Soup kitchen volunteer = unpacking food and ladling soup into bowls. It doesn’t make you MIT material. For every 100 hours you spend, there are 5 students who spent 200 hours. You’re always going to lose
  • Going to Sri Lanka to build homes is popular these days. But my guess is that in 17 years that you’ve been alive, you’ve never shown any interest in Sri Lankan poverty. Why would adcoms think you really care? To be frank, it’s pretty suspicious…
  • 4-year letterman in tennis? Great! Stanford here we come. Only it won’t work. While being well-rounded is good for your health, Ivy League schools don’t need you to be a renaissance woman. They want well-rounded student bodies…not individual students. Those 15 hours you’re spending every week in practice can be better used elsewhere

I hope by now, you’re starting to realize that by focusing on the same things as every other student – you’re securing your own failure.

The entire POINT of my package and book is every “average” student – complete with a GPA and SAT score like mine – can find ONE way to be unique.

Here’s what Ellie, a regular site reader (and emailer!) who bought my course, had to say:

I’ve been on [College Confidential] forums for months and none of the advice helped as much as this…I liked how the course helped average students

I saw your testimonials before I bought the course but sorta though they were too good to be true. I’ve been on CC forums for a year now, asking questions and getting chanced and reading people’s profiles. None of the advice has helped as much as Hopeless. I liked how you said the course helped average students and people with bad grades and SATs. My grades are ok but I thought that anything could help, especially since I’m not like a math genius or anything that could let me easily get into all the best schools. So I bought your course and I’ve learned a lot!! I’m still a sophomore, so I have 2 years – but I like how you break it up into categories for math and arts and etc. I’ve been pretty well-rounded in my activities, but it wasn’t until reading your course that I realized I need to focus on a few areas that I’m good at to “build a spike” – in your words. Thanks again!!!

-Ellie Liao, Public High School in Plano, TX

It only takes that ONE unique “spike” to get into Harvard

I’m proud of how different Hopeless to Harvard is.

Every other book is 200 pages or more. My course outline is only 50.

Every other book costs only $10. My course is $97 – and I still think it’s a bargain.

Plus…it comes with FIFTY ACTUAL APPLICATIONS (including essays!!) from students accepted to Princeton, Brown, Harvard, Yale, Stanford…ALL of the Ivy League schools. See EXACTLY what they wrote, what clubs they were in, and how they completed their apps.

The question to ask yourself is this:

Do you want to proudly call yourself a student of Harvard’s Class of 2020, or do you want to attend your safety school?

I know you can confidently answer that question.

If you’ve read enough, click here to start the re-education process

Overall, I truly thank you for taking me out of the fog and putting me back on track. :)

After I took your course and read the materials, I was so motivated that I immediately started e-mailing my past summer program professors in hope of networking for a lab position. Before this, I gave up hope after receiving my SAT score of 1300( which was horrible) and I spend my junior summer doing nothing. I felt so helpless and stupid when school started and saw that nothing I can do would get me into Brown. It might seen a little too late now, but I’m starting my own clubs and non-profit organizations in school and out of school. I’m starting my own webpage(professionally) on environmental awarness and how to go green that relates to all the environmental project and group I joined/started . I’m also planning on leading fundraisers that would benefit poorer countries like China and the recent disaster in the Philippines. Although i’m not sure if all this has anything to do with my spikes (science and non-profit organization) but I know it will show that i’m a leader. Overall, I truly thank you for taking me out of the fog and putting me back on track. :)

-Joanna L, high school student who wants to go to Brown

Presenting the average student’s secret formula to proudly calling themselves an Ivy League student

Because you’ve read all the way here, I know you’re curious about what EXACTLY you’ll learn when you buy the course which comes with an outline, guide, and supplemental materials:

  • Spikes – how to create your own and why not having it guarantees rejection (pg 6)
  • 3 steps to impress Yale admissions with things you’ve never done! (pg 7)
  • Why everyone ignores the resume…and exactly how you can use that to your advantage (pg 7)
  • 2 mandatory check-boxes that you must fill-out over the summer (pg 10)
  • The only thing you must do as an athlete that will wow Princeton (pg 16)
  • Why no one cares if you’re president of NHS – and how to be a real leader (pg 18)
  • The fatal mistake that artists and musicians make constantly in applications (pg 21)
  • How spending just $100 on a little-known service can get a fat envelope from Harvard (pg 23)
  • The simplest thing that almost any student can do to get the attention of every Ivy (pg 24-25)
  • The exact score cut-offs to be fast-tracked as a science or math whiz (pg 24)
  • 2 emergency tricks to strengthen your academic credentials in just 8 minutes (pg 26)
  • Finally revealed – the actual minimum SAT score that you must meet to have a hope in hell. Here’s why (pg 30)
  • Say what? Why too many AP tests can actually hurt you (pg 31)
  • A last-minute way to convince Stanford to ignore that C+, 3.2 GPA (pg 32)
  • Commit these 2 deadly errors and guarantee a spot on the waitlist (pg 32)
  • 3 secrets to make-up for a total lack of volunteer work…when you’re running out of time (pg 40)
  • 8 of my biggest secrets from 3 years inside Admissions (pg 42-43)
  • How to be labeled as a “superstar” – and given special attention by every top school (pg 42)
  • The one person that can reverse any admissions decision – and exactly how you get their attention! (pg 42)
  • If you don’t answer these 2 questions in your Common App, you will be outright rejected no matter how strong you are (pg 44)

If you think $97 is expensive, this course isn’t for you

To be honest, I know it’s not cheap. But if you think it’s too much to spend, you’re clearly not committed to doing everything in your power to get into Stanford.

People spend $1000s of dollars on college counselors, SAT test prep, and more. This is only $97 – and I even provide a LIFETIME 100% REFUND (try asking THAT of your private admissions counselor).

Plus…it comes with 50 REAL apps (including essays!) from students accepted to Dartmouth, MIT, Harvard, Princeton, Stanford…in fact, all of the Ivy League schools and then some. Read their EXACT essays, and see exactly how they filled in their apps. All in a convenient zip file.

Not only that…but as a thank you, I’ve included 4 gifts: almost 20 minutes of me answering YOUR questions on popular admissions topics! We’ll talk about:

  • Tips for acing alumni interviews
  • AP scores and exactly how they’ll affect your chances
  • Why there’s such a big difference between good and GREAT teacher recs
  • Finally…race and the role it plays in admissions

Click here to buy it now

Get free lifetime updates. Listen to me as I discuss the most urgent admissions topics on MP3.

Some of you may be wondering if it’s out of date – well, I went through the same process and left admissions only 9 months ago.

Here are 4 pages straight from the class outline:

Here’s what Lee, a parent who reached out to me after buying the course to express his gratitude, had to say:

Your 49 page class outline and methods are worth far more than the 400 by the pedantic book writers

I bought this course to help my daughter get into Stanford. It is the best thing out there! Your 49 pages are worth far more than the 400 by the pedantic book writers. We’re just trying to absorb it all.

I’ve seen so many marginally helpful books and articles on this subject. I could just tell yours was going to be different. And, it was!

-Lee L, parent of a current HS student

Just buying the course isn’t enough – you still have a TON of work to do

There’s no free ticket! And the last thing I want to hear is you complaining that you didn’t get in because my course “didn’t work”.

I can guarantee that the my advice is effective. It worked for me – and after reading Common Applications for more than 2 years, I’ve seen it work for other students too. They just didn’t know it at the time. Now you’ll actually have a clear roadmap for Ivy League admissions.

But you have to make a commitment. Work hard now – you’ll have all the time in the world to party and relax after you get accepted (trust me on this one).

What happens when you get waitlisted at Stanford? Then will you seek my advice?

The total cost for Hopeless to Harvard is $97.

You can’t even apply to ONE college with $97.

You’re going to learn secrets that you simply can’t find anywhere else. I’ve read almost every popular admissions book out there before creating my own course.

You’ve spent 1000s of hours in clubs you don’t like, taking tests you can’t stand, staying up late for all those study sessions and team practices…don’t let it all go to WASTE

Every high school student in America is desperately trying to figure out how to get into Harvard.

I’m telling you that I have a big part of the answer – why wouldn’t you give it at least a shot?

It’s a course with an ebook and supporting materials that’s delivered electronically. After payment, you’ll have my complete guide open in front of you in less than 2 minutes.

Did I forget to mention…you’ll also get a zip file with complete apps (the general plus school-specific apps, plus essays and short answers) from 50 students accepted to all of the Ivy League schools and most of the US News Top 25: CalTech, Stanford, Princeton, Yale, Harvard, MIT, and more. See exactly how they filled out their apps, line by line, what stories and words they used in their essays, and the picture they paint for AdComs.

You’ll get a 100% refund if you’re unhappy for any reason

Like I said earlier, I’m giving you a Lifetime, 100% money-back guarantee.

That’s right – if you feel like the course isn’t providing the help you need, just email and I’ll refund your money within 48 hours.

For more than 12 months now, I’ve helped more than 940 students and parents (as of June 1) make sure their Harvard applications rise to the top of the pile, and only 2 people have asked for a refund.

Before you apply to Harvard, here are the things you should have started doing 12 months ago

Buy Now

Again, it’s an electronic, instant-delivery course.

Buy it now, and start rewriting your Common App and essays in 2 minutes! Ordering through PayPal is 100% secure. This is what your order page should look like:

PayPal order page

And as a bonus, I’m including 4 free gifts upon purchase. These are never-before-heard audio clips of me discussing key admissions secrets, almost 20 minutes in total!

  1. A discussion of race and its real role in Ivy League admissions [3:56 | MP3]
  2. How to ace alumni interviews – from what to wear to common questions [5:32 | MP3]
  3. Why great, not good, teacher recommendations can get you into Harvard [5:21 | MP3]
  4. AP test taking strategies for future Ivy Leaguers [4:22 | MP3]

P.S. If you bought the course, please email me your thoughts! I love hearing stories, testimonials, and feedback on how to make it even better

Here’s another email that a parent sent in…it’s always nice to hear from parents since they take this stuff as seriously (if not more so!) than the students themselves:

Gives practical suggestions for people who are running out of time…plus many very important things you probably didn’t know

My wife and I are parents who have gone through the Ivy admissions process once, and will do so again with our second child who is now in the eleventh grade. (!!!) This course explains the inner workings of an admissions office and gives practical suggestions that people who are running out of time can use to help themselves get a boost. Some things you already know, plus many very important things you probably didn’t know. Practices that have never been acknowledged by the elite schools. I have long believed that campus visits were important, and this course confirms it. He also tells you exactly what legacy admit rates are, why people with poor GPA and low SAT scores can get into any top school, and other useful tips.

-Andrew Cuiller, father of 2 kids in Seattle, WA

Some frequently asked questions (FAQ):

Is this class and its materials helpful for international (non-American) students?

Absolutely. Where you’re from Singapore or Sweden, England or Ecuador, the advice WILL help you gain a serious edge in the race to get into Harvard. My advice is meant for ALL average high school students regardless of your country.

Having reviewed more than 600 international applications, I can confidently say that standards are similar – but more attention must be given to the application itself because a litany of small mistakes (grammar, format, etc) can add up to a big disaster. This class will help you avoid those mistakes!

I’m a freshman/sophomore/too young. Is the guide itself and the materials still helpful for me?

It’s most helpful for students who are about to apply to college, but it’s still helpful for freshmen and sophomores.

The big secret is this: the earlier you start, the better your chances! I give plenty of advice to younger high school students on how to get an enormous head start and knock the socks off Harvard’s adcom once you’re a senior.

I want to buy the course, but I can’t afford $97! Can I buy parts of it from you for less?

Unfortunately, I have no plans right now to sell portions of the course. I created it so that every section is important as you prepare to fill out your college apps – because you can’t afford to have more than one glaring weakness if you want to go to Yale.

Your questions are important to me – so please email me if you have any that haven’t been answered!

Click here to buy it now!

Truly, this guide is by far the best kept secret in college admissions

Hopeless to Harvard is without doubt the best aid for college admissions on the market. I’ve been thinking and researching about colleges since fourth grade, and have read books and criticisms about college admissions. Never have I come across a guide so genuine and insightful as Hopeless. It has been my experience that most students have the pre-conceived notion that grades are the deciding factor in gaining college admission . This course not only disproves that notion, but it accomplishes in its 50 page course outline what “A is for Admission” cannot. It is frank and to the point, with no useless information. I am in the summer between my freshman and sophomore years, and have compiled a list of activities and goals that will contribute to my important “spike” that I believe will propel me, and all others who follow this guide with dedication, into admission. I look forward in my high school career with great confidence that I have gained from Hopeless to Harvard, and I highly recommend this course and its materials to all students in all grade levels. Truly, this guide is by far the best kept secret in college admissions.

-Tim Mason, Private High School in Morristown, NJ

What’s different is that this course focused on average students and emergency help…that you can take advantage of even if you’ve been lazy

Hopeless was the kind of class that motivated me and had me taking notes as soon as I started reading. It demystified the process that most books only make more confusing. What’s interesting and different is that this class and materials focused on average students and emergency help, not just all the stuff you can do starting freshman year like the other books like A is for Admission. John’s background in college admissions and his generous will to share secrets help to make the course guide seem believable and trustworthy. He gives specific advice on “average” kids to give them the edge they might need to get in to Ivy League schools. He particularly focuses on what you can do if you’re a junior or senior – with what I like are the last-minute tips that you can take advantage of to make yourself stand out even if you’ve been lazy for awhile. I thought the author covered all topics of admission well, from both the admissions officers’ and students’ points of view, and invoked confidence in high-school students. Hopeless to Harvard was easily the best college admissions course I’ve taken and its fast too!!

-Vivek Pai, Public High School in Perkins, FL

The testimonials used on this site are the sole property of; the images were given with reproducible copyright by respective customers. Any and all testimonials are welcome, please email me. Thanks!

What even more customers are saying…

“Hi! After reading through your outline and guide, it was like sunlight shining through, I suddenly know the exact road to my dream university.” – Lisa L, a Chinese-Canadian looking to get into the Ivy Leagues (January 19, 2013)

“I would like to say that your course was unbelievable. It really did help me more than any books I’ve read, in less time even!” – Rob D, a senior from New Jersey looking to break into HYP! (February 27, 2014)