What is meant by a well-rounded student when applying to any Ivy League school?

Matt Larriva
Jul 29, 2020
Home » Blog » What is meant by a well-rounded student when applying to any Ivy League school?

You’re not understanding this cliche correctly. Ivy League universities don’t want well-rounded students they want well rounded student bodies.

For a long period in the ‘80s and ‘90s there was a common refrain that said students needed to be ‘well rounded.’ This may have been accurate at the time, and might still be for less selective schools, but it is useless for the purposes of Ivy League admission.

Get SAT prep off your to-do list: Discover How Top Students Like You Get Killer SAT Scores

Ivy League admissions officers think in terms of well-rounded student bodies not well-rounded students. That is, they would rather have a class of award-winning poets, math prodigies, and polyglots than they would a class of students who all took the same classes, participated in the same clubs, volunteered at the same organizations, and played the same instruments.

We wrote an article, How To Get Into The Ivy Leagues, that covers the details and have included the relevant graphic is below.

Ace the SAT in just 10 minutes a day.

The average student who studies for 8 hours will gain 90 points on the SAT. Power Play students gain 200 points in the same amount of time.

Our 10-minute microlearning system engages, guides, and gets students to mastery, no matter their starting point.

‍Unbelievably smart. Affordable for all.

Get Your 200+ Score Increase Now ➡

power play sat test prep app on smartphone

Ace the SAT in just 10 minutes a day.

power play sat test prep app on smartphone

The average student who studies for 8 hours will gain 90 points on the SAT. Power Play students gain 200 points in the same amount of time.

Our 10-minute microlearning system engages, guides, and gets students to mastery, no matter their starting point.

‍Unbelievably smart. Affordable for all.

Get Your 200+ Score Increase Now ➡

Imagine a school wants to have the most green space covered in its student body (far right) so that they can have the most outstanding school.

You can either choose ‘well rounded’ students like students F, G, and H, and you would end up with a student body that’s missing outperformance.

Or, you can choose three complementary outperformers, like students A, B, and C. In this case, your student body would be outstanding across the board, making it a better ranked, more competitive school.

So try to be well rounded in that you have competitive grades and test scores, but try to be exceptional in one other thing rather than mediocre in a few things.

How To Get Into The Ivy League – A Comprehensive Series on College Admissions

I encourage you to read through our entire collection of guides on How To Get Into They Ivy Leagues, which you can find below: