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Recent Press Coverage

Get Smart, then Smarter
"Kids who would have been taken off the market in the early admissions process, those kids are competing in the regular pool," Shaw said. "If they are qualified enough for Harvard or Princeton, it's just as likely that they're qualified for the other Ivies."

College coaches can help kids make the grade
Last year, a Maryland high school student had an all-too-familiar problem: He had good grades and test scores, but he didn't stand out from his peers. So in his junior year he and his family approached Ivy Success, a small company in Garden City, N.Y., that helps students get into America's most competitive colleges
Opting Out of Private School
"There's no point in spending all that money if your kid is going to be in the middle of the class," says Robert Shaw, a partner at IvySuccess, an educational consulting firm in Garden City, N.Y. He counsels students to consider switching if they aren't in the top 10%.
The New College Gurus
"The eight-person team at Long Island-based IvySuccess boast of their experience in management consulting, which may explain why they advocate strategic positioning and reverse-engineered perspective. The team's techniques include briefing students on the tastes and quirks of regional admissions officers who are likely to review their application."
Will Others Follow Harvards Move?
"This will cause more anxiety, not less," said Robert Shaw, a partner at Ivy Success, which has steered many North Jersey students into the nation's elite schools. "Students will now have to work harder, because colleges like Harvard will be able to factor in their performance from the first half of senior year.
Study: Women Outnumber Male Undergrads
Even at Harvard, females overtook males for the first time in the number of admitted students to the Class of 2010, according to IvySuccess.com
Secrets of the Ivy League
Cleveland Ivy hopefuls, this is your wake-up call: High school students nationwide are showing more initiative and passion, according to Robert Shaw, partner of Ivy Success, a New York-based company of former Ivy League admissions officers.
Climbing into the Ivy League
"An admissions officer is not going to be impressed with a kid who went to a rigorous private school and had a 1450 on the SAT because the student had every access to educational resources."
For High Schoolers, Summer Is Time To Polish Resumes
"These days, just having perfect grades and perfect SAT scores does not guarantee anything," says Victoria Hsiao of IvySuccess. "It's the complete package that colleges are looking at."
Learning to Stand Out Among the Standouts
"As admissions strategists, our experience is that Asian Americans must meet higher objective standards, such as SAT scores and GPAs, and higher subjective standards than the rest of the applicant pool,".

Victoria Hsiao, who works with Shaw at the admissions strategy firm Ivy Success, said that when she attended Stuyvesant High School in New York, "my Asian friends and I all tried to make ourselves stand out, as we did not want to be stereotyped as Asians with good grades, playing the piano and doing scientific research." She joined the debate team instead of the math team and got into Cornell.

The Secret World of College Admissions
With a huge pool of outstanding applicants, admissions at the top schools long ago stopped being about the numbers.

Shaw helped the family play the admissions game. The ethnic, geographic and racial profiling that goes into assembling classes at the nation's top-tier colleges and universities is the worst-kept secret in American higher education.

"It's a very well-known thing but colleges don't want to talk about it,'' Shaw said. "It is certainly not a meritocracy, it's about being the right type of kid."

College Admission Counselors
"It's not enough to have good grades and scores - you need to consider university politics, ethnic and regional demographics, and other things beyond control of the applicant", says Robert Shaw, a partner and co-founder, whose team of consultants is staffed entirely by former Ivy League admissions officers.

The proof is in the pudding: "We have been 100 percent successful in getting every single one of our students into their reach schools for the past five years," says Shaw.

The Multiple Choices of Prepping for the SAT
Many parents are finding their children's entry into the junior year to be an increasingly nerve-racking rite of passage. That is when parents are confronted with the cold reality of the SAT reasoning test and its power over their children's future.

Parents should not shop for a tutor based solely on the number of hours in a one-on-one package. "It's really about how the teacher is able to convey the material," said Robert Shaw, a partner in IvySuccess, an individual tutoring and admissions strategy company in Garden City, N.Y. Mr. Shaw's company requires instructors to be Ivy League graduates with SAT scores of 1,500 or higher and at least three years of teaching experience.

Princeton Has Its Pick of the Brightest
"There is no set formula for admission, but the secret is how politics and policies at a given institution affect admissions," Shaw said. "To most parents, it's random, but to admissions officers, it's very carefully crafted."

With few signs that the desirability of an Ivy League education will wane, Shaw says students will face stiff competition for many years to come. He advises them to start preparing early.

"High schools should be preparing students for college sooner," Shaw said. "If you wait until junior year, you will be too stressed out. The whole landscape of admission has changed so much in the last five to 10 years, and parents and high schools haven't caught up with it."

Hell Hath No Fury Like Alumni Scorned
At Ivy League schools, "legacy admissions have been under attack in recent years," says Lawrence Lamphere, a former Cornell admissions official and a principal at IvySuccess, a company of former Ivy admission officers and graduates who advise students applying to top schools. The Ivies have noted the public outcry over preferences in admissions, Lamphere says, and they're so popular and their endowments so big that they can brush off large numbers of alumni kids with little fear of repercussion.

Ivy League schools in recent years appear to be accepting more legacies on the condition that they defer for a year, says IvySuccess's Lamphere. But they don't always try to mend bridges with alums whose children have been spurned. After one Princeton legacy was rejected, his mother wrote a thoughtful letter to the school noting the many Princeton connections in her family tree. She never got a response.