For a year, Mary worked with a company that helps people get into highly competitive grad schools like Harvard and Stanford. She took the job after her mother passed away to try to distract herself. But she actually learned a bunch of tricks to help students applying for college. Over the last few years she has worked with a dozen of her friend’s kids to help them get into the college of their choice and they all got in!!

Tricks I learned about getting into college:

For a year, I worked for a firm that helps people get into high end business schools, like Stanford, so these are tricks I learned from this experience:


Always do the classes to prepare for the testing because the tests are unlike any tests the kids would have done in school as schoolwork.  Sometimes you have to take the test several times to get a high enough score.  You want to get the highest score you can possibly get. 


If they require a resume, make it a single page and in the bullets under each section, don’t focus so much on what your job was, try to focus on thing that you achieved.  For instance, “named employee of the month 4 times in 2017” or “promoted to assistant in just 12 months when the normal time period is 3 years.”  Include at the bottom a section called skills, and list all your computer program skills (Excel, Word, PowerPoint, etc.).


The important parts of the essays is that you need to bring the reader into your life, so they can really connect with who you are.  In the challenge essay, talk about a challenge that you face.  Start the first paragraph bringing them into a moment that articulates just how big of a deal it was.  So, if your parent had cancer, bring them into the moment you were sitting in the doctor’s office and you heard the diagnosis. At the end of the first paragraph, summarize the result of this obstacle, for instance, how difficult it was, how you matured, how you dug in academically, and now how you want to help people.  Then write 2 to 3 paragraphs going into detail:  academics, maturity and how you want to help.  The final paragraph should be about how you feel overall about the challenge.  If it was a sickness, give an update on how they are doing, and how you feel that the challenge has made you a different person.


If they waitlist you, it is probably because they think you are so awesome, that they think you are going to get an offer from a better school.  Schools care about the ratio between how many offers they put out, versus the acceptance rate for those offers.  If you are waitlisted, you need to do 2 things.  One is to go immediately to the school, tour around the school, meet other students, talk to them and get their advice, write down what their advice was and their names.  Then you do the “optional essay.”  Start the essay with “thank you so much for wait listing me,” then you talk about how you immediately went back to the school, it’s your first choice, how much you love x, y & z, and how you can’t wait to be a part of the student body who is so warm and wonderful.  Then quote the people that you met, and talk about how you can’t wait to follow their advice and be a part of such a great group.  Make sure that that school is your number one choice.


If you did any volunteer work, or something to help others, make sure you talk about it either in the essays, or in your resume.

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