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Ways For Everyone To Go To The Ivy League

Ways For Everyone To Go To The Ivy League

No matter what age you are, your educational background, or your money situation, obtaining a quality education shouldn’t be such a hassle. While friends, family, or the media may attempt to say that perhaps your goals are too lofty, or that you should focus on a goal that is more practical, it is not impossible to get into an ivy league school. You just have to have a specific strategy tailored toward yourself in order to brand yourself in the best way possible to make that dream a reality. Below, I’ve listed some ways to get you thinking about what strategy would work best for your unique situation.

Scenario One: High School Student

One advantage of being a high school student is being accustomed to modern day testing. Knowing that college is the end goal, preferably, an elite college, it is important to attempt to take quality classes and start preparing in freshman year for acceptance into a good university.

It is important to take SAT preparation courses in and outside of school, especially focusing on weaker subjects. A less popular exam is the ACT, but this test covers more subject areas and also covers more material meant to be taught in high school. Taking both is beneficial in analyzing ones strengths and weaknesses and determining which scores are more beneficial to send to universities.

For high school electives, focus on college preparatory curriculum and Advanced Placement (AP) classes. Taking these classes shows a talent for the subject area, at the end of which an exam is administered for college credit.

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Keeping a high GPA (Grade Point Average) is very important, as well as joining a few school clubs or sports. It is important to show a passion for a topic or an activity.

During the summers, study independently for College-Level Examination Program (CLEP) exams. Each exam allows a student to test out of a college course for a fraction of the cost. Taking several can prove to a panel of admissions counselors how serious a candidate is for gaining admission, and their ability to do the hard work associated with college.

Homeschooled students can use the same strategy.

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    Scenario Two: College Student

    Everyone talks about getting into an elite university in high school and those types of discussions typically wane when undergraduate school starts. Many people forget that they can transfer into a better university or get into a quality graduate school during or after their undergraduate years.

    For example, let’s say your high school years weren’t the best grade wise, and tests scores were average. It is still possible to get into an elite university. Understand, an undergraduate career means that you’re starting over. What you did in high school no longer matters, and high school activities should not be listed on any resumes. The strategy isn’t to shift focus, but to attempt to gain entry another way. One strategy is to transfer into an elite school from a lesser-known university. Ideally, focus on getting the best grades possible, engage in multiple on-campus activities, and on building work-experience.

    On-campus jobs are a good starting point, with the end-goal of transferring in for Junior and Senior year. If that doesn’t work, finishing one’s undergraduate degree with invaluable activities, work experience, and a high GPA will be important. The next best bet is to attempt to get into a graduate degree program at an elite school.

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      Scenario Three: Non-Traditional Adult

      The Non-Traditional Adult student can be a variety of things: a career student, someone with a bachelor’s degree looking for a master’s, someone with a family looking to increase their knowledge in a field, etc.

      For the Non-traditional adult without a degree, it’s important to gain the undergraduate degree first, and then aim for an ivy league graduate school. It is less likely for a school to accept someone for a bachelor’s program if they have been out of high school for a while. They cannot typically base admission on those old scores from 10-15 years ago. By taking CLEP tests, a student can lessen their time obtaining a bachelors degree.

      For the non-traditional adult with a degree looking for advanced options, timing can be an issue as family and work must take priority. By now, a solid work history and resume has been established. Try to find online degrees at elite schools. Harvard Extension School has great programs for online undergraduate and graduate degrees.

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        Strategies for All Groups:

        When applying to an elite university, the schools not only take into account grades, test scores, and extracurricular activities, but also a personal essay and letters of recommendation. That’s why it is so important to get to know your profession and attempt to establish a friendship with those you admire. The personal essay can also help to take an average application and turn it into a “yes” application, so be sure to share an amazing story with the admissions department at the schools. Also review and/or purchase books depicting essays and application stats of people who applied to the schools you’re interested in before you. Learn what works and what doesn’t work when it comes to getting in.

        Students of all ages, whether they haven’t been in school for over ten years, or are just starting college, can benefit from CLEP tests to show schools how they can do rigorous college work, so take as many as you can.

        Do not discount online options. Some elite schools, such as Cornell University, offer online certificates at a lower cost than one semester of tuition. These are great add-ons to every resume, not just because of the name and prestige of the school, but because of what you have learned.

        Check out free online classes. There are now transcripts available from schools such as Yale  and MIT online at no cost to you. You won’t get credit for them, but at least you might learn something.

        Your library is your best friend. Whether it is your local library or school library, all the sources you’ll ever need on any topic will be available there. Use that resource as much as possible. It will be worth it.

        Ultimately, have faith in yourself and happy studying!

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        Last Updated on January 21, 2020

        What Is Creativity? We All Have It, and Need It

        What Is Creativity? We All Have It, and Need It

        Do you think of yourself as a creative person? Do you play the drums or do watercolor paintings? Perhaps compose songs or direct plays? Can you even relate to any of these so called ‘creative’ experiences? Growing up, did you ever have that ‘artistic’ sibling or friend who excelled in drawing, playing instruments or literature? And you maybe wondered why you can’t even compose a birthday card greeting–or that drawing stick figures is the furthest you’ll ever get to drawing a family portrait. Many people have this common assumption that creativity is an inborn talent; only a special group of people are inherently creative, and everyone else just unfortunately does not have that special ability. You either have that creative flair or instinct, or you don’t. But, this is far from the truth! So what is creativity?

        Can I Be Creative?

        The fact is, that everyone has an innate creative ability. Despite what most people may think, creativity is a skill that everyone can learn and hone on. It’s a skill with huge leverage that allows you to generate enormous amounts of value from relatively little input. How is that so? You’ll have to start by expanding your definition of creativity. Ironically, you have to be creative and ‘think out of the box’ with the definition! Creativity at its heart, is being able to see things in a way that others cannot. It’s a skill that helps you find new perspectives to create new possibilities and solutions to different problems. So, if you encounter different challenges and problems that need solving on a regular basis, then creativity is an invaluable skill to have.Let’s say, for example, that you work in sales. Having creativity will help you to look for new ways to approach and reach out to potential customers. Or perhaps you’re a teacher. In this role you have to constantly look for new ways to deliver your message and educate your students.

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        How Creativity Works

        Let me break another misconception about creativity, which is that it’s only used to create completely “new” or “original” things. Again, this is far from the truth. Because nothing is ever completely new or original. Everything, including works of art, doesn’t come from nothing. Everything derives from some sort of inspiration. That means that creativity works by connecting things together in order to derive new meaning or value.From this perspective, you can see a lot of creativity in action. In technology, Apple combines traditional computers with design and aesthetics to create new ways to use digital products. In music, a musician may be inspired by various styles of music, instruments and rhythms to create an entirely new type of song. All of these examples are about connecting different ideas, finding common ground amongst the differences, and creating a completely new idea out of them.

        What Really Is Creativity?

        Creativity Needs an Intention

        Another misconception about the creative process is that you can just be in a general “creative” state. Real creativity isn’t about coming up with “eureka!” moments for random ideas. Instead, to be truly creative, you need to have a direction. You have to ask yourself this question: “What problem am I trying to solve?” Only by knowing the answer to this question can you start flexing your creativity muscles. Often times, the idea of creativity is associated with the ‘Right’ brain, with intuition and imagination. Hence a lot of focus is placed on the ‘Right’ brain when it comes to creativity. But, to get the most out of creativity, you need to utilize both sides of your brain–Right and Left–which means using the analytical and logical part of your brain, too. This may sound surprising to you, but creativity has a lot to do with problem solving. And, problem solving inherently involves logic and analysis. So instead of throwing out the ‘Left’ brain, full creativity needs them to work in unison. For example, when you’re looking for new ideas, your ‘Left’ brain will guide you to a place of focus, which is based on your objective behind the ideas you’re searching for. The ‘Right’ brain then guides you to gather and explore based on your current focus. And when you decide to try out these new ideas, your ‘Right’ brain will give you novel solutions outside of the ones you already know. Your ‘Left’ brain then helps you evaluate and tune the solutions to work better in practice. So, logic and creativity actually work hand in hand, and not one at the expense of the other.

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        Creativity Is a Skill

        At the end of the day, creativity is a skill. It’s not some innate or natural born talent that some have over others. What this means is that creativity and innovation can be practiced and improved upon systematically.A skill can be learned and practiced by applying your strongest learning styles. Want to know what your learning style is? Try this test. A skill can be measured and improved through a Feedback Loop, and can be continuously upgraded over time by regular practice. Through regular practice, your creativity goes through different stages of proficiency. This means that you can become more and more creative! If you never thought that creativity was relevant to you, or that you don’t have a knack for being creative… think again! You can use creativity in any aspect of your life. In fact you should use it, as it will allow you to to break through your usual loop, get you out of your comfort zone, and inspire you to grow and try new things. Creativity will definitely give you an edge when you’re trying to solve a problem or come up with new solutions.

        Start Connecting the Dots

        Excited to start honing your creativity? Here at Lifehack, we’ve got a wealth of knowledge to help you get started. We understand that creativity is a matter of connecting things together in order to derive new meaning or value. So, if you want to learn how to start connecting the dots, check out these tips:

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        Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

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