To Climb That Ivy, or Not?

college-acceptance-letter.jpgYou check the mailbox every day. Finally, it’s there: the envelope you’ve been waiting for. The whole family gathers expectantly while you tear it open with shaking hands and . . .

Congratulations! You are now a part of the Ivy League.

Harvard. Yale. Princeton. Columbia. The glamour and prestige of the Ivies are undeniable. And it is glamour and prestige based on proven performance, consistent quality, and years of experience in education. But when your education is at stake, you want to consider more than just a name, even one that carries such weight. And that process starts before the mailman drops anything off at your door.

All universities have some departments and disciplines that are more well known than others. Of course, not every student at Harvard is a pre-law student, just as not everyone at Penn is enrolled at Wharton or in pre-med classes. Also, smaller departments at major universities can provide unparalleled support and individual attention. But when evaluating and comparing schools, it’s an excellent idea to pay attention to each institution’s strengths and possible weaknesses in relation to your career goals. For example, Harvard is a top school for astronomers, but were you aware that according to U.S. News & World Report, University of California at Berkeley is also ranked as one of the five best locations in the world to study the stars?

Sometimes “weaknesses” may hinge on something as basic as location. Oceanography majors should probably think twice about attending a landlocked school. The University of Hawai’i at Manoa or the Florida Institute of Technology might be more practical locations to investigate. Do you play a sport, something you are counting on to net you a scholarship? Are you interested in competing professionally or as an amateur? A potential Olympic skier may not want to spend time looking at schools in desert settings!

A student’s major interest might also be better served at more specialized schools. Eastman School of Music, Juilliard School in New York City, and Philadelphia’s own Curtis Institute of Music are not generally considered Ivy League, but their names command impressive respect among musicians.  The Massachusetts Institute of Technology is a leader in the field of science education.

Finally, don’t forget to factor any scholarships, grants, and loans into your decision. An Ivy League name on your résumé is a huge advantage, but so is starting your career without a massive burden of student debt!

Lots of choices, aren’t there? That’s a good thing! While you are weighing them, remember that A+ Test Prep and Tutoring can take at least one area of indecision off your mind. As test prep experts, we can advise you whether you are better suited to take the SAT or the ACT. Then, we will match you with the right A+ tutors who can teach you both content and strategies to help you do your best on test day. That way, you can spend less time worrying about what kind of score you will show the schools and more time evaluating what each school has to offer you.

We are here to help. A look at our website shows that our staff keep up-to-date with education news (peruse our weekly newsletter!). We also have extensive connections with college admissions consultants.

We invite you to call A+ Test Prep and Tutoring at 215-886-9188 to consult with one of our Client Service Directors.  Nathan Rudolph, Anne Stanley, and Susan Ware are available to answer questions, provide solutions, and assist you in achieving your educational goals.

Sooner than you know, the biggest decision you’ll be facing is what to pack for college and what to leave at home!

Photo courtesy of: Bettye Rainwater

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Posted in College Admissions

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