Pathways To Learning... Since 2005 Hong Kong Registered School 566985 & 600733
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IVY CANDIDATES

Ivy League Candidate Requirements

  • SAT 650+/650+ or ACT 27+
  • Five IB subjects at a 6,7 level (3-5 subjects for AP: 4,5 A-Level: A or A*)
  • Ideally 12-24 months before application deadlines (6 months minimum)
  • Ambition


How We Help

SAT/ACT/SAT II Optimization

Students arrive with a baseline capability. Through building fundamentals and test strategies, our ivy candidates strive for the perfection on all required standardized tests.

Academic Profiling and Transcript Review

Counselors monitor student grades to stay abreast of student performance. If a student needs a subject teacher, we provide only teachers who are currently teaching in secondary schools, graduates of the subject they teach, and/or IB examiners.

Extracurricular Advice

Students need to stay active and engaged in their community, but not in menial positions of mere participation. We help students find activities that might precipitate meaningful experiences.

Passion Project Guidance

This is the most bespoke aspect of our service. A student who follows an academic or artistic curiosity towards hard-earned knowledge can become an irresistible university candidate.

Portfolio Building

For students interested in arts, counsellors provide a sounding board for investing meaning into practice, technique, and execution.

University Selection

This often coincides with a student’s foray deeper into their true passions and subsequent rationale for going to university. The intended course of study dictates the ideal palette of university applications.

Recommendation Bolstering

Helping students get the most out of their relationships with mentors and teachers who might be targets for letters of recommendation.

Essay Writing

The process of writing is not one of recording and observing. It is instead one of discovery, a continual and iterative process that elicits insights unique to each student. This is the most essential aspect of the entire application process. We like to see students spend at least 10 months focusing intensively on their self-awareness and self-expression.

Application Expertise

Many parents are going through the process for the first (and sometimes) only time. Work with those who have gone through dozens of application cycles with students of all variety of background and interest.

Interview Preparation

This plays only a minor role in the US undergraduate admissions systems. However, we prepare our students for the semi-informal chats that us Americans love to have.


Thomas Richards
Dr. Richards
Ph.D. English Stanford
ex-Harvard Professor of English
ex-Harvard Admissions Committee member
Michael Li
Mr. Michael Li
(B.A.) Mathematics and Economics
IB Examiner (Math)
ITS Director of US Admissions


Monthly and Annual Packages


Frequently Asked Questions

How do you work with someone over time?

I first teach my students how to write with care and craft. Only through their writing can students move toward thinking their own thoughts, becoming, intellectually, as deeply themselves as they can.

Why writing?

Academic culture is a culture of words. Americans often have a great casualness about language, a sloppiness of expression. The great universities and colleges do not. The degree of precision, accuracy, and elegance commensurate with these schools is rarely broached at high school.

Do your students use models for their essays?

Only in the most general sense. They may read Elizabeth Bishop’s essays, or Guy Davenport’s, or Richard Rodriguez’s. Virginia Woolf’s Diary or John Cheever’s Journals. But what they take away is their own. Reading these writers goes toward developing a trust ofwhat is going on in your own mind, and building a confidence that you can represent it in your own way.

Why this emphasis on the essay? Don’t grades and scores matter?

High grades and scores certainly are one indicator of intelligence. But even more, they are an indicator ofthe willingness ofa student to please teachers. The great universities see themselves as places for disturbing the universe. They are looking for people whose locus of evaluation exists primarily within themselves, people who not not necessarily lookto others for approval or disapproval. A good application should give you a feeling of looking in on a very interesting life, a self-chosen life undertaken for its own sake.

How long does it take?

It varies. Some students I start working with in the tenth or eleventh grade. The emphasis there is in finding an academic direction and beginning to follow it. I also work with twelfth-graders who are well along in this process but still need to find the right degree ofemphasis in presenting themselves.

What about the usual range of high school activities?

The answer is in the word "usual."The usual activities are dependent rather than independent undertakings. Gradually, of course, one can begin to distinguish oneselfwithin them, but as such they often offer little discretion for students to find their own way outside of preconceived channels and categories.

Students today are so overworked. Doesn’t this increase their Ioad?

Anyone with good powers of concentration knows that those powers, though extensive, are limited. Nobody can stay at full focus all the time. I encourage my students to work effectively, which includes knowing when they work best, just how much they can take on, and when to stop working. I think it’sjust fine for students to work harder for some courses than for others. A perfect record is in some ways a red flag to admissions committees, a sign that a student is so focused on pleasing adults that he or she lacks a sense of inner direction. Who among us can really be good at everything?

Aren’t you asking rather too much of 17- or 18-year olds?

The schools themselves are looking for an incipient intellectual maturity, an open awareness of ideas and their shaping power. They are also looking for students whose beliefs are not rigid, who have a high tolerance for ambiguity. And they are seeking students who have an openness to specifically intellectual experience. In this sense simply telling your own story in an application essay is not enough.There has to be an intellectual tilt to what you are saying about yourself, and that is where I come in. It takes a lot of work-a lot of reading and a lot ofwriting-to know what you are thinking about things, to see where your thoughts come from, and to experience your own thoughts as uniquely yours. Part of Harvard’s success resides in the personal emphasis of its tutorial system in teaching students how to think and write. I try to bring this to every student I work with.

Contact us at [email protected] for more information.

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