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Lana and Neil: Working Connections to Gain Admission to the Ivy League

Apr 14, 2021

Learn how Ivy Insight helped Lana and Neil work college connections and get accepted to their dream Ivy League schools.

Lana had the dream of attending Wharton but was not a legacy and lacked connections prior to coming to campus for a summer program. During her campus visit Lana took two courses and her mother, in consultation with Ivy Insight, used the “six degrees of separation” principle to connect Lana with several other individuals from the college. Because the college connections were so impressed with Lana’s intellectual promise and potential, both professors wrote her recommendation letters which helped Lana gain admittance to Wharton. The other representatives Lana met with were equally impressed; they sent correspondence directly to the admissions office on her behalf. Lana not only used the summer to learn inside the classroom, but also was enriched and supported by the connections she made outside. Ivy Insight was key to helping Lana figure out who to meet, how to approach letters of recommendation from people at the college, and best practices for following up with her connections.

By contrast, Neil connected with key college personnel on a more casual tour of his future school: Cornell. Whereas Lana had a carefully pre-arranged visit, Neil’s trip to Cornell was not so formal; he was one of many future students touring that day. But what he did do was some pre-planning before he arrived to campus, contacting campus representatives ahead of his visit. Neil played high school golf and thought he might be interested in joining the college team. He asked the coach for a meeting and the coach agreed. The meeting ended up lasting over an hour; the golf coach was extraordinarily generous with his time. Later, he wrote Neil a glowing recommendation letter. It’s no surprise that Neil got into Cornell.

In both cases, our clients made the most of their college visits with Ivy Insight’s support and guidance. Lana had pre-arranged meetings with professors and key university personnel; Neil’s visit with the golf coach wasn’t quite as well planned out, but ended up being highly impactful. By meeting with school VIPs, Lana and Neil maximized their time spent on their college campus visits. When they applied, admissions reps were able to see Lana and Neil in three dimensions, rather than flatly represented on an online application.

With the planning and support from Ivy Insight, Lana’s mother’s outreach truly benefited her: just like Neil benefited from his involvement in golf and his potential value to Cornell’s team. This doesn’t negate the bold steps that both Lana and Neil took to reach out.

Coaching Lana and Neil through relationship-building with college representatives was icing on the cake. They were the cake. Both Lana and Neil were excellent college applicants, regardless of whatever connections they did or did not make. Relationship-building with key personnel added to what they had already done in their pursuits of a great college education. Lana and Neil were engaged, enthusiastic, and courteous during their meetings.

Assisting Neil in approaching key personnel in the right way allowed him a surprisingly generous devotion of time from the golf coach. Had he been afraid to ask for the meeting, he would have forfeited what turned out to be a distinct advantage in his acceptance to Cornell.

Whether or not students who come to Ivy Insight consider themselves “good” at networking, they can learn the skills needed to build relationships with key people at their college of choice. These skills will be useful to them now and forevermore.

Today, Lana and Neil are successful professionals in their own right. Lana is a McKinsey consultant and Neil is studying to become a medical doctor at the University of Southern California.