Frequently Asked Questions
Q. My son is a high-achieving student. My grades and test scores weren't nearly as high as his and I didn't use a private college counselor to get into a top college. Why does he need IvySelect?
A. The college admissions process at selective and highly selective schools is exceedingly more complex and competitive today. The applicant pool, whether at the nation's most elite colleges or at top 100 public flagship universities and selective private schools, is composed of high-achieving students who may possess academic and extracurricular credentials that are equal to or, in many cases, surpass your child's achievements. Additionally, the student applying to the most competitive schools often faces staggering odds, given the number of applications received (between 25,000 to 35,000 or so at most Ivies), the sheer volume of superior applicants in that pool and the percentage of applicants accepted (as low as single digits). Families, no matter how well informed, are not expert in college admission.
Professional guidance and strategic planning are critical in order for the student to be a truly competitive applicant at top colleges today. The top-notch college admissions consultants at IvySelect provide the individualized attention that school-based counselors are unable to offer, due to high student-to-counselor ratios and time constraints. We define extracurricular and summer activities that differentiate our clients. We work with the student to boost credentials. We help perfect essays, brag sheets, interviewing techniques and the utilization of demonstrated interest to help the student stand out from the pack. Perhaps most importantly, by maximizing the student's competitive stature, we help the student acquire a range of excellent choices, so that the student can find a top college that will also be a great match.
Q. Why is IvySelect the right choice to help my child succeed in the selective college process?
A. The college admissions counselors at IvySelect are consummate professionals with exceptional qualifications. We are Top College Specialists. Our reading, professional development, research, visitations and contacts are geared specifically toward understanding the admissions process, academics and environment at the top 100 schools in the country. For those students seeking admittance to selective and highly selective colleges, including student-athletes, international students and transfer students, the specialists at IvySelect are a clearly superior choice.
Michael Goran, our Director and Educational Consultant, is the Top College Specialist you've been looking for. He is a top private college counselor, an attorney and an Ivy League graduate with a real-world background, having served as a member of the Secondary School Committee and Admissions Interviewer for the University of Pennsylvania. He has served as a pro bono college counselor at Calabasas High School, a National Blue Ribbon School, which provides perspective and insights from the "other side of the desk." He brings his skills as an award-winning writer and editor at a major New York publishing house to IvySelect, translating into expert help for the student in shaping personal statements. To keep on the cutting edge, Mr. Goran holds memberships and participates in conferences in a number of professional educational organizations, maintains contacts with admissions officers to understand the unique needs of each school and visits top colleges throughout the United States.
Michael's superior insights into the competitive college admissions process are augmented by the highest level of professional, one-to-one service. Mr. Goran is ardent about the academic success of his students in garnering a top college best fit. He will help you find the college that best prepares you for economic and professional success. More importantly, he will help you find the college where you will be happy, thrive and learn. He is an impassioned and caring advocate, who is there for you throughout the entire college process.
Our Senior College Admissions Consultant, Dee Blackman, has spent over 30 years in college admissions. She, herself, was an Ivy League student, attaining a B.S. from Brown, an M.A. in psychology from Yale, and an M.B.A. from the Wharton School at Penn. Dee has worked as a psychotherapist, in addition to having various jobs in admissions operations, including being a Dean of Admissions at a state university, a VP of Enrollment at the Culinary Institute of America and, notably, a Dean of Undergraduate Admissions and Financial Aid at Columbia University and a Dean of Graduate Admissions and Financial Aid at Harvard.
In her role as an independent consultant, Dee utilizes her breadth of experience, insider's understanding of the process, her psychology training and her marketing background to help IvySelect students stand out from the pack and find their best fit colleges.
For student-athletes seeking to leverage their athletic ability into admission at a top college, there is not a better resource than Dr. Bill McClain. He has coached three NCAA Division I college tennis programs that obtained Top 10 national rankings and produced 14 All-Americans, numerous individual conference singles and doubles championships, four conference team championships, an NCAA Indoor Team Championship and a 310-118 dual match record. Among many other affiliations, Bill has served as Chairman of the NCAA All-American Selection Committee. An experienced educator, Dr. Bill is proud of his record in achieving 100% graduation rate for student-athletes recruited during his two decades of college coaching by motivating students to excel academically. He has developed and coached many sectionally and nationally ranked junior players, including a National Junior Girls' Champion. Bill has assisted many of these players in obtaining opportunities to play college tennis at top-tier universities such as Yale, Princeton, Emory and Rice. He is a caring, dedicated educator and coach who commands the respect of other college coaches due to his background, professionalism and high ethical standards. In addition to being the Athletic Consultant for IvySelect, Bill is Director of Tennis at The Warner Center Club in Woodland Hills, California.
Q. How soon should we begin working with IvySelect?
A. The earlier in the process, the better. The best college planning starts before or during freshman year of high school. This allows time to flesh out the student's ideal academic program, delineate interests and lay the foundation for a progression of directed summer and extracurricular activities. Sophomore and junior years are the most popular options. Although we work with seniors, it is best not to wait until 12th grade as more strategic planning can be done in earlier grades.
Q. Do you work with students applying to a range of schools?
A. As Top College Specialists, we work with students interested in Ivy League schools and their peer institutions, as well as students seeking admission to top 100 schools, including public flagship universities, private universities and selective private liberal arts colleges.
Q. My daughter doesn't have the academic profile to qualify for admission to the nation's most elite, highly selective colleges. Are there good choices for students in the top 25% of their class?
A. Of course. There is an excellent array of world-class, highly respected colleges that can meet your daughter's academic, social and emotional needs. We work with bright and motivated students like your daughter to find best match schools among the nation's top 100 colleges.
Q. I'm in the top 5% of my class. Do you think there's a value in my attending an elite college?
A. It is ultimately a personal family decision. For the affluent, for example, financial aid may not be available, or may not come close to covering the difference between the cost of an elite private school and the local flagship state university. Alternatively, a large or full merit scholarship at a lower-tier college may make that school an attractive alternative to a top university.
However, there are clear benefits to attending an elite college. Students from top colleges are very attractive to graduate schools. All things being equal, there is, no doubt, a lower barrier for entry to graduate programs for these students. Many prestigious corporations also prefer graduates of top-tier colleges. The evidence is all over, but take the example offered in a Wall Street Journal article that stated: "Goldman Sachs… the investment firm gets most of its candidates from places like the University of Pennsylvania, Harvard and New York University." A loyal alumni network of those who attended an elite college can also provide the student with an edge in getting jobs with the most desirable corporations.
Q. Do you work with students seeking admission to graduate school?
A. We specialize in working with students applying to allopathic and osteopathic medical schools, graduate business schools, as well as law school applicants. The Director of IvySelect, Michael Goran, brings his background as an educational consultant and practicing attorney to the law school admissions process.
Q. Do you provide counseling services nationally and internationally?
A. Yes. We work with students from all over the United States. Our international students come to us from all over the world: China, India, Singapore, the UK, Qatar, Kenya, Argentina, Canada, Russia, Japan, Australia, Mongolia, Spain and beyond. We are international college counselors, who help students from abroad navigate the complex American college admissions process. Whether you are an American or international student, our virtual office capabilities allow you to interact with IvySelect in a seamless manner, obviating the need for in-person meetings. We utilize webcams and the free technology provided by Skype to videoconference with you and offer you personal counseling. If required, though, arrangements can be made for us to fly to you.
Q. Do you provide tutoring services?
A. We do not provide tutoring services, but can recommend outstanding tutors with top college credentials for both academic subjects and standardized testing.
Q. Do you offer flexible hours?
A. In order to provide the most personalized service possible, we offer regular office hours and are available evenings and weekends. We also have summer hours in order to assist students with their applications and college planning.
Q. Do you work together with my child's school counselor?
A. It depends on your preference and the circumstances. Although the trend is gravitating toward cooperation between school-based and independent counselors, some school-based counselors do not like students to use, or are offended by the use of outside educational consultants. In that event, your counselor will not be aware that you are working with IvySelect. On the other hand, we are happy to cooperate with your school counselor. In fact, Mr. Goran, the Director of IvySelect, has good relationships with many school-based counselors and has volunteered in a high school in order to help out and keep his "hands on the pulse" of the circumstances facing counselors in that environment.
Q. Will college admissions officers be able to tell that my daughter is receiving admissions help from IvySelect?
A. No. We are very careful to make sure that the work is that of the student and sounds like a high-school senior. We work in the background to assist you. Only the student and family will know that IvySelect helped you with the application process.
Q. In addition to comprehensive packages, do you offer hourly rates?
A. We offer an initial four-hour block for those seeking assistance on any limited aspect of the college admissions process. Renewable blocks are available in two-hour increments. The best value is offered in our comprehensive packages. Please call to find out about our rates.