How to Raise Kids for the Ivy League

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How to Raise Kids for Ivy League Colleges

This article is written by Vibha Kagzi, Founder and CEO,

Ivy League Universities, the world’s most renowned institutions, are often on the bucket list of most parents and students.Often mistakenly used to refer to all distinguished universities, the eight Ivy League universities are Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Princeton, University of Pennsylvania and Yale.  They are private universities, all located on the East coast of the United States.Fondly referred to as the ‘Ivies’, these universities are some of the most selective colleges, attracting exceptionally high-caliber students. 

So, how can you maximize your child’s school years and best guide them to be Ivy ready: 

  1. Develop a Strong Reading Habit.It is very important to inculcate the habit of reading in your child. Start reading books to your son/daughter as early as possible and for least 20 minutes a day. The sooner, the better. Research has shown that reading to infants has various benefits like better memory and learning abilities. Encourage them to visit libraries and buy books to read. Books build on your child’s vocabulary, stimulate their imagination, foster creativity, expand their knowledge base, introduce them to role models, enhance concentration, develop logical thinking and so much more. So Read! Read! Read!


  1. Spend Quality Time with Your Child.This is very important not only to increase your bond with them but also for your child’s overall development. Take your child out to the park in the evening or spend quality time on weekends. Help them with their homework. Prepare dinner together. Play board games or puzzles instead of watching television. Take your kids to museums and cultural venues. Provide your child with a wide range of experience for his/her all-round development. Share your experiences and make them learn through your mistakes.
  1. Provide Your Child with Meaningful Resources.Limit the exposure of your children to television, mobile phones, and video games. These devices are harmful if not used judiciously. Instead encourage and provide them puzzles, building blocks, and other games available in the market targeting learning skills and intelligence. Play scrabble and jigsaw puzzles with them. This will help them to engage in problem-solving activities.
  1. Choose Your School Wisely.It is needless to mention that a good school is the first building block of any student’s academic career. As you initiate your school list for your child, there is a wide range of criteria you need to consider before deciding which school is an appropriate fit, Do not make decisions based on its ranking alone – this is an important element but not the sole criteria in the decision making process. Instead, focus on schools offering all-round development for child.
  1. Encourage Your Child to Participate in Activities Outside of the Classroom.Extra-curricular activities are the best avenue for overall development of children. Find the activities that interest your child—be it soccer, dance, music, poetry, painting, foreign language, debate, etc. Inspire them to volunteer and participate activelyin community services.It will help your child learn and polish his/her skills, socialize, and expand their knowledge base.An array of appropriate activities will make their resume pretty impressive for Ivy League colleges.
  1. Nurture Your Child’s Interests.  Encourage your child to take part in competitions in subjects that they love.  Help them to not only join organizations but take on roles that align with their strengths and interests. Urge them to get actively involved and don’t be afraid to have them try new things. For example, if they play the piano recreationally, then have them take the Trinity College or Royal School of Music exams and perform at events. If they play a sport, then sign them up to train with coaches and ask them to join the school or club team. If your son or daughter is passionate about foreign films, urge them to take online courses on film appreciation or volunteer to organize a local film festival.
  1. Challenge Your Child.  A thriving environment is very important for your child’s advancement. You need to stimulate your child both inside and outside of the classroom.  Academically, work towards the A’s.  It’s important that your child studies hard and contributes in class. Don’t select average classes for your child to boost their grades – instead ask them to choose more rigorous courses that they can do reasonably well in. But make sure your child asks for help when they need it and understands the teacher’s expectations.  With their extra-curriculars, make sure their involvement is increasing and not stagnant through time.  Advise them to demonstrate leadership and initiative, especially in their area of interest.  I know that there can only be 1 head boy or girl, but there are other ways to take on leadership roles.  For example, if they enjoy business, then ask them to start a business club at school or amongst their friends.
  1. Motivate Your Child to Live His/Her Dream.It is imperative for you to motivate your child to be unyielding and relentless in their quest to materialise their dreams. Failures and peer pressure may make motivation hard at times but do not give up. Have complete faith on the abilities of your child and encourage them to diversify their fields of interest until they findthe best suitfor his or her personality. A reward system can bea helpful technique in this direction. Be wary of forcing your dreams onto your child as it may prove counterproductive.

An education from an Ivy League university has obvious benefits; it arms your child with an exceptional education and access to a pool of similarly ambitious and aspiring individuals who strive to be the movers and shakers of tomorrow. However it’s important to distinguish between your ambitions for your child and their aspirations.  From an early stage, sow the right seeds through open communication, involvement, support and praise and tap into their full potential.

-- This article is written by Vibha Kagzi, Founder of

Vibha is extremely passionate about education and believes that it is the ultimate social equalizer.Leveraging her personal experience at various academic and professional institutions, she hopes to provide holistic guidance to young individuals who aspire to reach leading Universities. Her Passion for education and her own journey of studying abroad drive her towards guiding students and helping them achieve their goals.

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