Preparing for College

Entrepreneurship and Ivy Admission

Question: If I start a business in my area will it help my chances of getting into an Ivy League school?

Admission officials at elite colleges certainly like it when students take initiative, and they also like it when their applicants venture beyond the walls of their high school and when they work with people from different age groups. Your business will probably enable you to do all of these things, and this will certainly be a plus at decision time.

Of course, the more unusual, creative, or useful to the world at large your business is, the bigger an admission plus it will be. For instance, while starting a babysitting service or lawn-mowing company is certainly enterprising, it won't make as big a stir in admission offices as a venture that enables handicapped children to create and sell crafts or a clothing firm that markets your original designs made from recycled materials from your school's Lost & Found. You get the idea. If your company extends beyond your community (e.g., your product or service ends up in a national catalogue or featured in a major magazine) so much the better.

However, no matter how big a success you are as a business tycoon, if you don't have strong grades and test scores, you will not be an Ivy contender, so make sure to put as much effort into your schoolwork as you do into your "career." Good luck.