How to Raise Kids for Ivy League Colleges

Most parents gaze lovingly at their new baby and think about each of the exciting milestones he'll eventually reach in his lifetime, including where he'll go to college and what career he'll choose. To that end, many parents immediately start planning what they can do to increase their child's odds of gaining entrance to an Ivy League institution known for its academics and reputation. While nothing a parent does absolutely guarantees that their child will get accepted, certain things might help.

  1. Read to your child as often as possible. Start reading to your child before he's even born, the "Washington Times" recommends. This improves your child's odds of being a good reader because he'll have an early start at learning and recognizing the sounds of language.

  1. Spend time with your child. Take him to museums, libraries and other cultural venues. Talk about what you're seeing, hearing and reading. Providing your child with a wide range of experiences will help him become a well-rounded individual, which is what most Ivy League colleges are looking for.

  1. Provide your child with books, puzzles, a globe and other educational toys. Limit his exposure to television and video games and he'll have more time to boost his problem-solving skills by working jigsaw puzzles, doing word searches and manipulating toys to accomplish certain goals.

  1. Choose your child's school with care. Of course, elite private elementary, secondary and high schools often give children an edge when it comes time to enroll in college, but that's not absolutely necessary. Whatever school you choose, make sure it welcomes parent helpers and volunteer as often as possible. Children with involved parents often do better academically, which is crucial for acceptance to an Ivy League college.

  1. Enroll your child in extracurricular activities, such as sports, dance or foreign language classes. Your child doesn't need to spend every minute of his free time engaged in these activities, but a well-rounded, involved young person looks more impressive to selective schools than one who has only good grades to show. As he gets older, encourage him to engage in one or two activities that he does very well. This often looks more impressive to Ivy League colleges than 20 activities that he isn't good at or spends very little time doing.

  1. Hire a tutor to help your child excel in academics. Your child's GPA can be one of the deciding factors in admission to an Ivy League school, so getting good grades is crucial. Also, help your child practice for standardized tests as he gets older. His ACT or SAT score is another deciding factor in his admittance to an Ivy League college.

  1. Encourage your child to volunteer and get involved in the community. Ivy League schools like to see these things on an application for admission, so suggest that your child serve food at a soup kitchen, bathe dogs at a local shelter or raise money for worthy causes.

  2. Tips

    Start saving for college early. Ivy League schools are among the most expensive universities and having a savings account will come in handy when it's time to pay tuition.


    Following these steps doesn't guarantee your child admission to the Ivy League college of his choice. It simply improves his odds.