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May I ask why you want to go to the Ivies? People tend to start preparing for those as far back as seventh grade. I was shooting for the Ivies too but trying is a lot of stress especially when you don't know what to do. I found out a state school was a far better fit for me anyway. I get that the Ivies have a reputation and that can be quite enticing. But not every Noble Prize winner or great Congressman came from places like Havard, Yale, or Princeton. Even if you go to an Ivy, you can still be left directionless at the end like some college graduates. Going to the Ivies doesn't ensure anything at the end, but if you want to go...
Make your mark. You'll read this in every guide you'll get but think about it. Ivies get thousands and thousands of applications, having a good GPA and perfect SAT is as remarkable to the Ivies as 5 minutes of community service does to any other school. Leave a mark on your community, heck, shoot for the stars, and try to make your mark on your future major's field. The Ivies want someone who is going to change the world, and one
You also should attempt to win a nationally recognized competition. If you're going to be a STEM major, participate in the Regeneron Science Talent Search. If you're planning to major in any area of the humanities, participate in the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards. This website has a butt-ton of good articles on extra-circulars. So look through this website as well. Try to stay in 1 extra-circulars throughout all your high school years. If your school has a Science Olympiad team, participate. I'd recommend only doing one challenge if you go this route for your freshmen year. I tried doing three at first and was so overwhelmed I didn't even attend the invitational (the first level of competition at my school). If you're an undeclared major, do the academic team. It covers a wide amount of topics and allows you to explore yourself outside of the classroom.
Another key aspect of extra-circulars is summer programs. Keep an eye out for summer programs such as the Telluride Summer Association Program and things such as MIT THINK/ INSPIRE. Again, this website has more information about these and other summer programs you can apply for.
Word of advice, a good summer program never asks for money save for transportation. Be wary of awards that you have to pay for since those might hurt your application. The National Society of High School Scholars, for example, is largely considered a scam, and paying the money to join isn't worth it since most schools have what's known as a National Honor Society. Which is completely free. The reason you should avoid things such as the NSHSS, is because their threshold for recruitment is so low. It doesn't show you're a good student but that you had the money to shell out for it.
If you're a low-income student (like me) and don't mind doing some... Shady stuff.... https://1lib.eu/ is a great place to get free ACT/ SAT prep books that would normally cost hundreds of dollars.
The Ivies are a selective place, so look up their average GPAs and SAT/ACT scores. In your Sophomore year, take the P-SAT. It will help you prepare for the SAT but you also have a chance to see your weaknesses and improve so when you take it your junior year, you have a higher shot of being a National Merit scholar, which is very impressive.
Ultimately, do stuff that sets you apart. Anyone can make 5s on an AP, anyone can get a 4.5 GPA and anyone can get 1600 on the SAT or a 36 on the ACT. You need to set yourself apart with how you impact your community, state, and your field of study through your community service and extra-circulars.
Also, look at the portfolios for accepted students to get a better idea of what you should be doing. Just a tip though.
I would say start doing extracurriculars (especially ones related to your career if you already have it picked out) and join at least one sport. This is important because something that's missing with a lot of students who want to get into ivy leagues is showing they're well rounded! If you haven't picked a career or at least an are of interest I would start looking into it now. This shows drive and focus.
Start joining facebook/Reddit groups for the school (the ones that don't require you to be a student). This is a really great/natural way to meet students and alumni, which can give you insider info and connections.
I would also see if any schools are doing summer camps that you can apply for. They'll likely be pricey and selective, but you can write about the experience in your application later on.
Lastly I would say keep up your gpa and figure out which SAT Subject Tests you want to take so you can start studying as early as possible.
So long as you know nothing can garuntee ivy admittance and you think you can handle the ivy+ rigor. I have heard that a student at Princeton I think regrets going there based on how hard it is. Just keep that in Mind.
Have 3 quality leadership positions
Have great rigor take as many honors and AP/IB classes as possible
Take SAT late junior year the PSAT is a great tool. Also take ACT to see which your better at they are equal in admissions assuming equal score.
Have good relationships with counselor/teacher for good rec letters.
Don’t just do ECs related to your major get a job at fast food join robotics be in science Olympiad have a blog. Don’t just join STEM if you want to go into STEM.
Be different/unique. Don’t be that stereotypical student but differentiate your self.
Same for essays have a really good essay about unique topic. Have a English teacher look at it grammar topic and unique wise. Don’t just write a essay about a mission trip with spelling errors on a prompt about overcoming challenges that wouldn’t work.
Contact the ivy schools you are interested in and contact your regional representative and just say Hi I’m bob from x. I am curious insert question such as can you provide some info about some semi rare topic I usually do a 4+1/3+2 program. I hope you have a good day.
I feel this is oblivious have good gpa and test scores.
This is a very basic guide and comment if you need clarification.