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People who got into Ivy league + Stanford + UC Berkeley + Johns Hopkins, what did you do in high school?

Probably they didn't have friends...

Well at least I have one thing in common with Ivy Leaguers...

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While I don't go to an Ivy League school, I have friends that do. What they did to get in was become a phenomenal person, not just with academics but outside the classroom as well. Ivy Leagues will not accept you if you have perfect grades and nothing else. That's not who they're looking for. They want well-rounded people who bring something unique to their school. To stand a good chance, you must:

1. Have very good grades, and a very high SAT or ACT score. For your SAT, you will want at least 2200. For the ACT, you will want at least a 33.

2. Have very good extracurricular activities. No one wants to admit an academic robot. The people I know that got in were presidents of clubs, started activities at their school, were captains of sports teams, did a lot of volunteer work, played instruments and did music competitions, did research at universities nearby, worked part-time jobs, and other things. They were very invested in this, not passive members that went to meetings once a month, and you could tell that they cared.

3. Have very good letters of recommendation. They had teachers that really liked them and knew them as people, not just students, and could write about them in that way.

4. Have very good essays. I think this is the most important of the four criteria. Everyone else applying will have very good grades, extracurriculars, and letters of recommendation. Your essay is what makes you unique. This is one of the only places in your application that you can use to show who you are, what you believe in, and what's important to you. If you write a very good essay, you have a chance to get in. If you write a generic, poor essay, you likely won't get in.

Even with all that, it's still pretty much uncertain if you'll get in. All of those schools have very low admissions rates, and they have to turn away so many good people each year because they simply don't have room for everyone. If you don't get into an Ivy League school it's not the end of the world and there are still other good schools to go to.

Also you should get some friends because no one likes socially awkward people who can't make friends. And it's good for you too. :)

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My thoughts on that is that they are really just born with it. I know guys who work really hard doing this and that, trying to get into good unis. Some fail and some make it. I also know some people who just do 4HLs just because it's fun, do a ton of extracurricular things and still whoosh through the diploma just perfectly, ending up in the top universities. So if you're not super talented, just work really hard, there's no other way around it.

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Hi Emmi, Thanks for all your help. In grade 9 I didn't do so well because I changed schools mid year so I got all my marks SG (standings granted/insufficient data) except for math which I got a A in and English which I got a C- in (I pretty sure it was a mistake but I couldn't talk to my teacher)

Here are my grade 10 marks (mostly pretty accurate speculations)

Math 90%

Bio 93%

Chem 85%

Physics 95%

Economics 95%

English Literature 95%

English Grammar 95%

French 90%

Farsi (Persian) 100%

Physical Education 95%

Ethics 100%

Computers 90%

Also these are my extracurricular activities ( * = very likely though not confirmed)

Founder and Chief editor of TIS Times (TIS is the name of my school: Teharn International School)

Founder and President of Future Doctors of TIS (and yes, I do realize how cringe worthy the name is)

Founder and President of Environment Club

IB1 Class president*


Electric guitar





Made a fully functional PCR machine from scratch

Recommendation Letters

Bio teacher (he loves me)

World famous microbiologist* (helped me on the PCR)

Thanks for your help Emmi

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Probably they didn't have friends...

Err... not true. I have plenty of friends, both IB and outside IB, a high achieving bunch.

As to getting in an Ivy League school or other top schools, there is no "formula" which many people seem to have the mind-set that there is. In fact, many universities reject what would seem "perfect" candidates (36/2400 ACT/SAT, great ECs, top recs, good essays) simply because there was that much competition.

But I completely agree with Emmi's post above. It's that "all-rounded student" which Ivy League and other top universities here in the US look for. Make sure you show passion in your essays, I'd say that's the tie-breaker which can make or break your dream. And with IB, you actually have an advantage for a few reasons:

(1) Rigorous courses - any IB course, from IB Biology HL to TOK, is treated with respect by universities.

(2) CAS acts as a motivator - I was quite reserved pre-IB DP, but after I joined, I became very involved with ECs and this undoubtedly helped me get into a great college.

(3) IB trumps AP. Although this is debatable, there's a reason why IB exams can't be rescheduled, while AP exams can. If an IB exam conflicts with an AP exam, the AP exam is rescheduled.

Anyhow, enjoy the "IB Experience" and don't fret over getting into an Ivy League university; if it happens, it happens.

And fyi, I got into UC Berkeley. Go Bears!

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