Why apply to the US / Ivy League?

Given top American colleges and universities' world-renowned reputation, academic flexibility and excellence, little wonder that year on year, international students keep flocking to the US for their postsecondary education at top institutions, like the Ivy League.

But for parents and students alike, the deliberation process involved in deciding whether or not to study abroad in a faraway land can be complex and daunting.

Hours of online research may not make things any clearer for you; in fact, it could leave you even more puzzled and perplexed due to misinformation widely spread across the internet and information overload.

Case in point, Google “US college admissions”, and you’ll get about 791 million results! Questions like, "How to get into Harvard" boast similarly overwhelming search results, making the college application process overwhelming for many students and families. So, where do you start or finish your research?!

For many aspiring students and their families trying to figure out whether to study abroad or otherwise, the three questions that they most frequently ask are:

1. What's best for my child? To study overseas or stay in our home country?
2. Is studying abroad worth it?
3. If so, where? The US, the UK or Australia?

All great questions, and they keep many parents up at night.

We understand; let us dial down your stress for you.

All three questions involve important issues, and almost all of them are impacted by your student and your family’s individual circumstances. A good fit for a student in your neighborhood may not suit your student at all.

Moreover, studying abroad may not even be the best option for your student. If that were the case, it is unfortunate but true that most university admissions consulting companies may not tell you as it is against their commercial interests.

At ivyO, we will always tell you what you need to know, even if it is not what you want to hear.

If studying abroad is the best option for your student, ivyO will help you research, find and gain admission to the best-fit university for your student, whether that happens to be in the US, the UK or Australia.

But if your student’s best option is to attend a local university in your home country, we’ll tell you that too. Not many university admissions consulting companies out there would do that because it hurts their revenue and profits.

To get onto the right path for your student's US college admissions journey, all you have to do is to sign up for the ivyO Strategic Consultation. Don’t forget, you don't have to go alone, ivyO is here to help.

Now, with regard to Question 3 above, here are 5 compelling reasons why you should consider the US, it may be the best-fit education destination for your child’s undergraduate studies. But remember, it’s important for you to sign up for the ivyO Strategic Consultation. That’s when we begin to help you sort out and prioritize your university admissions goals.

Anyway, here are 5 unique reasons why the US should be on your radar:

1. You want to go to an Ivy League School

While ivyO vigorously advocates the fact that the US higher education space is much more than the Ivy League, it is widely recognized that the Ivy League schools are among the most coveted educational institutions in America. Indeed, the Ivy League is synonymous with academic excellence, exclusivity and prestige that opens up a world of opportunities and access to a powerful alumni network.

If you aspire to study at an Ivy League school, and millions around the world do just that, then simple geography dictates that the US is the place for you.

What is the Ivy League, you may ask? Well, the Ivy League schools (or Ivies for short) comprise of eight institutions: Harvard, Yale, Princeton, The University of Pennsylvania, Columbia, Brown, Dartmouth and Cornell.

You may ask, “Why is it called the Ivy League?”

Well, the most reliable source is an article allegedly published in the New York Herald-Tribune in 1937. The author of that articles was Caswell Adams, a sportswriter, who was sent to cover a football match between the University of Pennsylvania and Columbia University. The story goes that Adams was not happy, as he wanted to cover the game that involved his alma mater, Fordham University. So, Adams complained to his superior about the task of writing about those "Ivy-covered" universities. Shortly after, in his article about the football match between Penn and Columbia, the term "Ivy League" was coined by Adams. As they say, the rest is history.

Others claim an even more novel origin of the term "Ivy", legend has it that once upon a time, the “League” only had 4, not 8, members: Harvard, Yale, Princeton and the University of Pennsylvania. Adopting the Roman numeral, the League of 4, became known as “The IV League.”

Well, it is an amusing assertion. Regardless of the origin of the name, the Ivy League schools are iconic institutions, keenly sought by students from all corners of the globe, despite the 8 Ivy schools’ ever-increasing selectivity and record-low admit rates.

2. You are so much more than your Academic Transcript

One of the US system's most unique features is the "holistic admission" process. Now you may ask, "What is holistic admissions?”

Well, it means that the admissions officers (AOs) at elite US colleges, like the Ivy League schools, look at your academics and many other factors when assessing and evaluating your application. These include, but are not limited to:

1. Extracurricular distinctions
2. Leadership and volunteering
3. Teacher/school counselor recommendations
4. Interview performance
5. Personal Statement and college specific essays

Holistic admissions give you more room to maneuver and craft a compelling profile for your US college applications, rather than just submitting your transcript and solely relying upon your academic strengths to get you admitted to your desired university. The latter strategy generally don’t work well under the US holistic admissions process. In particular, the Ivy League schools and other top US institutions look for far more than just grades in considering which students to admit.

So, for instance, if you are authentically passionate about your extracurricular pursuits and have achieved at a high level, that counts for holistic admissions.

If you work one or more part-time job after school to help balance the family budget, that counts for holistic admissions.

And if you help your family at home and look after an elderly loved one – that too counts for holistic admissions.

The list is endless, the best thing you can do is to talk to us. Sign up for an ivyO Strategic Consultation today!

Just a small caveat – grades still hold great importance in the holistic admissions system. But it is only one part of your college application, not the totality.

If you want to use certain aspects about you, like your extracurriculars to bolster your admissions possibilities, then there is no question that the US system is the one that plays best to your strengths.

3. You’re not sure what you want to study

Another unique aspect of the US education system that appeals to many is its "liberal arts" system. Now, don't be put off by the name, the term "liberal arts" does not mean that you are restricted to only studying the arts or humanities. It spans a broad spectrum of academic endeavors, including science, engineering, and economics, to name a few.

One of the reasons why you might find the US liberal arts system so attractive is that, unlike the universities in the UK or Australia, you are not expected to declare your major until the end of your second year, or sophomore year, as it is known in America.

If you are unsure what you want to study, the liberal arts system is a huge benefit since you will have two years to explore multiple academic disciplines as you discover your passion. You can take a dazzling array of classes before spending the final two years of your four-year bachelor's degree concentrating on your chosen major.

Nor are you locked out of any choices even after the end of your sophomore year. Subsequent to having declared your major, you are still provided the time and space to enroll in elective courses. So, even after your second year, if you are passionate about a subject outside your declared major, you can still declare it as a minor.

On top of all that, the breadth of courses you take in college may well come back to influence key moments of your life. Take the late Steve Jobs, the calligraphy course he sat in at Reed College for helping inspire him to create the first he credited Mac's typography and its multiple typefaces and proportionally spaced fonts.

Naturally, the liberal arts system is offered by all the Ivy League schools, giving students a limitless world of opportunity. Some of the Ivy League schools even go a step further, like Brown University, which allows students to design their own interdisciplinary major.

In short, if having maximum academic freedom and flexibility during your university journey sounds like something you want, the liberal arts system, therefore the US, might well be a good fit for you.

4. Going to MIT, Princeton, Harvard, Yale, or Amherst may cost less than studying at your local university

Many US domestic students do apply for financial aid packages while attending universities and colleges. There is no question that scholarships and other financial support are harder to come by for international students, but if you know where to look and plan ahead, there are still many generous packages on offer by US institutions and other sources. You might do particularly well if you happen to be an elite athlete, but it does depend on your chosen sport and your level of accomplishments.

You might then ask, what are the best Ivy League schools in terms of offering financial aid or funding for international students? We would like to highlight five universities that may suit you and help fiscally support your international studies. These five top institutions - MIT, Princeton, Harvard, Yale, and Amherst - have adopted a “need-blind” admissions policy for all students including international applicants. In other words, they don’t consider your financial situation as part of your application. These five institutions will meet 100% of your demonstrated financial aid needs. Of those five need-blind institutions, Princeton, Harvard and Yale, are all in the Ivy League.

The Harvard University website states that "International students receive the same financial aid as Americans. Approximately 70 percent of our students receive some form of aid."

To put it another way, if you apply to MIT, Princeton, Harvard, Yale, or Amherst, and get in – because these institutions meet your full demonstrated needs, the price tag of an exclusive US education at a top institution could be lower than studying in your home country.

5. You want to be part of a global alumni network that opens doors and opportunities

Top US universities, like those in the Ivy League, are legendary for their extensive and powerful alumni networks. Graduating from an Ivy League school or any other similarly impressive US universities will provide you with the resources and contacts needed to jump start your career at leading corporations. It could also enhance your prospects of gaining admissions to your desired graduate institution. After all, having completed your undergraduate degree at a top Ivy League school certainly gives your resume the edge against a cohort of competitive graduate school applicants.

Having completed your first degree at an Ivy League school or any other highly prestigious US colleges, you will become a member of an elite club of alumni, the access to which money can't buy. And if you actively participate, contribute, and appropriately seize opportunities that come your way, the coveted alumni network could positively and markedly impact your career in more ways than one.

Graduating from a top US school, such as an Ivy League school, also leads to increased financial rewards. Studies have shown that graduates from the Ivy League and other top schools earn significantly more than their counterparts. In addition, because of the global name recognition, graduates from high-caliber colleges, like Penn's Wharton School, are keenly recruited by top-drawer companies.

According to US News, Ivy League graduates earned a median pay of $86,025 in 2022 during the first three years of their career. In contrast, graduates from other universities earned $58,643 during the same period. The disparity in career income becomes even more pronounced when considering median pay after 20 years. At this points, graduates from the Ivy League earned $161,888, while their counterparts from other institutions earned $101,777.

Whether you want to apply to elite graduate schools, or start your career at a top firm, your degree from a prestigious US college, backed by its influential alumni network, could open doors for you anywhere in the world. That could mean landing your first job, getting posted to an international market across the globe, establishing your start-up and raising capital. All with your degree from a top US institution, like one of the Ivy League schools, supporting you every step of the way.

Literally, the sky is the limit.

In short, the fundamentals are clear, if you’re after a top-class education that gives you incredible flexibility, and an admission process that considers more than just your academics, then the US is the place for you.

So, wait no more! Click the button below to register with ivyO, and let's talk about your future in the US.

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