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10 Back-to-School Tips & College Admission Secrets from Tutor Accepted to All 8 Ivies

4 Victor w-Pennants

1. Have a positive attitude.

Whether it is getting up at 5 a.m. again, staying up past midnight finishing work due to sports practice or in many cases both, you need a positive attitude to get through the added responsibilities of the school year. A can-do attitude will give you more energy to do what is necessary to achieve those lofty academic goals, write some killer college essays, and still pursue any organizational or social work one may have in an excellent manner. Keep an upbeat attitude especially when completing those college essays, regardless of the type of day that you’ve had because essays that are written apathetically will not give admissions officers a clear insight into the type of person that you really are.

2. Go the "extra mile" on Summer Assignments.

It is critical to get a great start to the school year as it can set the tone for the rest of the year so do any summer work to the very best of your abilities. When completing an assigned reading, clearly annotate the novel or piece of literature to expand upon salient points, prepare personal questions, define words you don’t clearly understand the meaning of, and note various elements of language. When you finish reading, write or type up a short summary of the plot and significant points of the piece. This will prepare one to excel in any tests, quizzes, assignments, projects or in class discussions one may have based on assigned summer work. The key with any summer assignment is that you can never go too far or too in-depth in exploration. Working harder will only benefit the student academically and intellectually—in the short and long term.

3. Engage with instructors/leaders.

Once you have your schedule for the upcoming school year, make an effort to reach out to teachers to introduce yourself. This allows one to begin to establish a positive relationship with instructors and will help one stay informed on any curriculum changes or summer assignment alterations. You should also look out for leaders of any extracurricular clubs one plans to join and reach out and express ardent interest while sharing ideas and relaying possible past experience in the area. Engagement involves both communication and personal research.

4.Get into shape.

Physical fitness will not only offer many health benefits but will also endow you with a more clear head with which to tackle many other challenges. This will not only help one with athletics but also with handling daily stresses. In addition to this, maintaining a daily exercise regimen gives one a sense of dedication and clear purpose which are valuable tools for moving into the school year.

5. Set high goals.

Set lofty goals for yourself from an academic, extracurricular, and social standpoint. Even if you don’t attain these goals, you will still most likely have come very close, and will be closer to achieving long-term overarching goals. Goals will help keep you focused and motivated throughout those late nights when it’s easy to become a bit jaded with the work you are doing. This will remind you what you are working towards. One little tip for meeting goals and staying motivated is to write them down somewhere special, so you have both a checklist and constant reminder of what you’re trying to achieve. Finally, never become complacent; always strive to do better as no person came come too close to perfection. More on that in a moment.

6. Be proactive.

Let’s say you are a student interested in computer science and have been doing work at school to cultivate this interest. The best thing to do is extend this passion to new heights. You could create an app that would benefit the community, or perhaps contact a college professor to conduct research or conduct test trials with.  Be creative. This can apply to any interest one may have. The key is to seek to not only hold a leadership role but to use the interest to make a consequential change in your community and society as a whole. Never be afraid to reach out for help or for an opportunity. The worst answer you can get is  “no,” and even that gives you  a chance to find other ways to accomplish goals. Getting comfortable with rejection builds resilience, which you will need in school and work anyway!

7. Get things done...Now!

Do not be a procrastinator! This will not only diminish the quality of your work but also to make you a lot more stressed in the long term when you end up trying to cram in the work last minute. Always have a plan of action to complete an assignment and work hard to get it done ahead of the set schedule. Set early deadlines, if you have to, ahead of the rest of your class and hold yourself to them. This will give you adequate time with college essays, for example, to make sure they are top notch quality! With applications, I would advise students that early is on-time and on-time is late, so I think it’s best to set a revised timeline to complete and submit applications as well.

8. Work aggressively.

A quick tip is to treat school like a 9-to-5 job. Set hours, and hustle. Strive to work harder than necessary in any and all sectors of life. It is much better to do more than is required and to possibly adjust as necessary than to come in with a lazy posture. Also, when you suffer an inevitable setback or failure it is necessary to work harder to overcome and come out stronger than before. Overall, a strong sense of the urgency of “now” will help you use all available resources.

9. Be social.

It’s important to reach out to others to form groups of positive influences that can help one inspire to perform better. A good set of friends can also help each other with mutual weaknesses and push one another past tough times. Never underestimate the importance of diverse perspectives. Reaching out to others will bring those diverse perspectives that will help enhance one’s understanding in all aspects of life.

10. Be uncomfortable.

It’s best to strive to improve upon your weaknesses, both inside and outside of school.  This means you should take on new challenges that interest you, even if you are afraid or worried you can’t do it “right.” So if a student has a fear of crowds and public speaking, he or she should go into speech class and take all measures, even extreme ones, to conquer that fear. If that student is interested in student affairs or politics, he/she should run for class president! If a person becomes comfortable and complacent, that person is robbing themselves of the chance to learn and work to become a better person. Being willing and able to work outside one’s comfort zone and to adapt to a new environment is crucial in a changing societal landscape.


Editor's Note: Victor is one of our tutors who, along with Harold Ekeh, got into all 8 Ivy League Universities. The pair  recently collaborated with Frog Tutoring on the new ebook Hacking College Admissions: How We Got into All 8 Ivy Leagues+ 4 Million in Scholarships, and How You Can Too!
If you found these tips helpful, the eBook is an even greater resource: it is both a how-to-guide and the personal narratives of these incredibly successful students. Frog Tutoring, Victor, and Harold are very excited about sharing their inside knowledge with future generations, and took on this projectto nurture hidden potentials.To learn more about the eBook, please click here.

Victor A
A flexible, and passionate Ivy League tutor
Harvard University
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