1. Be related to someone who was an Ivy Leaguer.
Preferably this someone will be able to make a huge donation and a subtle wink in your favor.
2. Get straight A+’s and/or perfect SAT scores.
But to avoid the risk of being boring, mention a close run-in with the law or how you built an entire business all by yourself by selling the Adderall your brother was prescribed. They like to see an innovator, an entrepreneur.
3. Try to be the first one in your family to go to college.
Also, being Black or Latino really can’t hurt. At this juncture, Asian is too common and Caucasian — as we all know — went out of fashion awhile back.
4. Do something different
Y’know, on top of all the other mandatory extracurricular activities such as volunteering, being part of National Honor Society, president of something, captain of something else, etc., etc…
Some suggestions: build a wind turbine or another form of alternative energy somewhere in Africa; play a musical instrument for a prestigious orchestra — the flute or French horn are preferred; or write, illustrate and publish a children’s book, the proceeds of which go to impoverished South American education systems.
5. Write a killer essay about your tormented and neglected childhood.
A childhood that was tormented either because you were poor or because you were too wealthy. And only use words you can’t define without sneaking a peak at your dictionary app.
6. Be valedictorian or, worse, salutatorian.
Or graduate last and explain the importance of accepting a diverse student body with different types of learning abilities.
7. Know, at minimum, two other languages aside for English.
Spanish is handy but common, so shoot for something more exotic like…I don’t know…Arabic.
8. Being an Olympian can’t hurt either.
Figure skating and skiing are wonderful conversation starters.
9. Dedicate yourself to a cause.
Perhaps this is furthering education in Nicaragua or ending a war in the Sudan. Do helpful things like make low-cut t-shirts for all of your girlfriends and muscle Tees for the boys displaying your cause. Then, hang up posters at the library. Also car washes are great fundraising opportunities.
10. Send a couple cute pics of yourself to admissions officers.
You as Edward forty hands, you with your reading glasses on behind a stack of books, you doing a body shot off of a hottie you met on spring break or perhaps participating in a wet t-shirt contest, etc. Get creative, but make sure you show the many sides of your personality. Ivies want to know you can do the whole work-hard-but-play-hard thing.