Friday, October 2, 2015

Behind the Ivy Curtain, by Aayush Upadhyay

As the father of a high school junior, I have a front-row seat for the pursuit of the college dream.  Like many kids near the top of their high school class, my son is a shoo-in for acceptance to the vast majority of colleges in the U.S.  But when it comes to competitive scholarships and acceptance to that small percentage of elite schools, the odds are not in his favor.  Truth be told, the odds are against anyone getting into some of the elite colleges, with acceptance rates in the single digits.

Into that fray enters Aayush Upadhyay, a recent Yale grad who has crunched some numbers and has valuable insights for high school students whose sights are set on the Ivy League. In Behind the Ivy Curtain: A Data-Driven Guide to College Admissions, Upadhyay breaks down admissions data culled from to give applicants some insight into what matters for those seeking to join the ranks of the Ivy League.

None of Upadhyay's conclusions will shock the reader.  The higher the rank, the higher the test scores, the better the chances for admission.  He sheds some light on some of the more subjective elements, like extracurriculars (multiple years in one activity tends to beat short tenures in multiple activities), but, again, nothing too surprising.

Upadhyay's analysis and conclusions are worth reading for applicants to Ivy League schools.  I was left with the feeling that unless GPA, class rank, and test scores aren't top-notch, the rest of the application will never matter.  Behind the Ivy Curtain feeds into the growing perception of ambitious high school students that admission to an Ivy League school is the only route to success in academics and life.  I hope my son and others like him will realize that while Ivy League schools may provide a great academic experience, there are plenty of other schools around the country where excellent academics, excellent professional development and networking, excellent character building, and excellent life experiences can be found.

Thanks to the author for the complimentary electronic review copy!

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