Why Our Practice Is Limited To Working With Top Students
When founding IvySelect, our Director had a philosophical choice to make. Like virtually every independent college counselor, he could set up a general practice, assisting students across the academic spectrum. Alternatively, he could focus on his primary area of interest – helping top students (broadly defined as the top 20%-25%) who were intellectually engaged and reaching for the best educational opportunities at the college level and beyond. Mr. Goran chose the latter path.
The desire to help top students grew out of his background. Our Director is the parent of gifted and highly gifted children. He is a member of the National Association for Gifted Children. Mr. Goran was, like his clients, a high-achieving student, graduating from an Ivy League University and a top-20 law school. He served as a member of the Secondary School Committee and Admissions Interviewer for Penn.
It was only natural, then, that he had a passion for working with students who loved learning and had the motivation to challenge themselves in the academic, extracurricular and athletic contexts. Although he realized that his students would be “swimming in the deep end of the pool” by pursuing a path fraught with greater stress and expectations, these were precisely the individuals he wished to help.
We Provide The Extra Help Top Students Require
To be perfectly blunt, a practice focused on working exclusively with the most able students is not popular with the vast majority of the college counseling community. General practice college counselors have often told us that high-ability students do not need the same level of guidance that is required for their less academically talented peers.
As Top College Specialists, working exclusively with high-achieving students, we understand something that undoubtedly eludes most generalist college counselors: top students require MORE help than others applying to less competitive universities. It is the main reason that we work with many fewer students per counselor than general counseling firms and why we spend much more time with our students.
Although stress is part and parcel of the college admissions process for all applicants, for top students, the anxiety is magnified. High-ability students are not just dealing with the pressure of the process. They are feeling the stress of competing for spots in universities with as low as single percentage admissions rates. At IvySelect, we work hard to mitigate our students’ and families’ magnified angst by instilling confidence about our knowledge and their abilities. Our guidance, throughout, is delivered in a calming and caring manner.
High-ability students also need more help because it takes significantly more time to apply to selective and highly selective universities than it does to apply to less competitive schools. What most students and families new to the admissions process do not realize is that essay work at elite colleges does not end with the main Common Application essay.
At less competitive schools, the main Common App essay may be the only piece of writing needed. However, top universities may require as many as five, seven or more essays and short answer questions to be tackled. In many cases, there is an extraordinary amount of writing in the individual college supplements. When taken together with resumes, interviews, creative supplements and more, the workload for students applying to elite colleges can be daunting.
The greater time needed when applying to top schools is not only due to the quantity of work, but the quality as well. Significantly greater diligence is required to help students stand out through strategic guidance and in-depth essay work that emanates originality, passion and authenticity.
Though our practice tends to skew toward the highest ability students seeking admission to the Ivies and other elite schools, IvySelect counselors provide equally comprehensive assistance to bright students whose profiles may be just a notch below their counterparts. They receive the same degree of individualized attention as they seek admission to schools that are still very selective and utilize the same holistic admissions practices as the most selective universities in the nation.