It is Not Easy to Get into an Ivy League, and It Would be Even Tougher Without a Mentor

Rio Januara
4 min readMar 23, 2021


Figure 1. Harvard University Hall. Retrieved from DeviantArt.

“…I will go to Harvard this year or next year.” -Applicants

“Yes, but don’t apply alone, you need a mentor!” -Prestigious schools

Imagine if you want to pursue your next level of education to one of Ivy League campuses in America. You should have known that there are a lot of things to prepare. Here, I highly recommend you consider finding a mentor for your own’s sake.

Competing with more than 43,330 applications –the typical amount of applicants world top universities receive annually– around the world to secure a sacred seat in these campuses is so thrilling. They are not ordinary schools. It would be best if you had a strategy to land on those campuses.

An outstanding grade is not enough! In this article, I would not like to talk about what should you do to polish your resume or why you should go to this school, instead, I would thoughtfully explain how mentors might help you to study at school to where Barrack Obama went (read: Lessons from highly capable mentors, Guidance, Networking, and Support group).

An ideal mentor is a student or alumnae from those campuses so that you would have a real mentorship experience. Nowadays, a mentorship program can be found easily. You can search for their graduates or students from your dream campus. This mentorship is individual coaching with a flexible meeting.

This advice will be useful for those especially who want to have a degree in those dream campuses.

Choose the best mentor for yourself based on your criteria. Don’t be afraid! There are many of them willing to share! Then, how would a mentor help you? The followings are your treats:

1. Lessons from highly capable mentors

Mentors could be some professional workers on their respective expertise. They can be a lawyer from a prestigious law firm, an aspiring doctor who studies medicine and a vacationer in South Africa, or an architect who has an abundant job experience across the world. They also could be current students in those universities. They would be likely to inspire you.

2. Guidance

With abundant requirements to prepare, you must have a role model. All admissions tests are essential. You cannot prepare them in one day. Therefore, it requires your significant effort, time, and commitment.

A mentor will share you their personal and professional experience how to accomplish their dreams well. One-on-one mentoring expose you to direct supervision in light of their school applications. They let you ‘listen’ to their stories, get yourself understand to their struggle back then.

They also will monitor and give you tasks to get them done. It would help if you were a committed mentee.

3. Networking

You might also get a chance to have an internship program to expand your horizon. You will be scaling up your skills! It is the education that you won’t gain from formal learning. It is better than LinkedIn. You will gain a unique partnership with your mentor to engage and unlock your potential.

4. Support group

They will figure out what you need, not what you want. It is always fascinating to share your dreams with people who have common goals with you. Mentee-mentor relationship would let you discuss your aspiration and your individual development to them. This opportunity is a bonding time. They would be the most accessible sources for you.

Indonesia context: Why many apply to these schools?

Figure 2. Indonesian students taking National Examination. Retrieved from Statik Tempo.

During this Covid-19 pandemic, the spirit for young Indonesian generation to have a chance to study overseas does not plummet. This current situation might make them more educated. There is much time for them to think and prepare all the pre-requisite while keep “staying at home”.

I strongly think that in Indonesian learners’ setting, they are competing to snatch a scholarship to pursue a postgraduate’s study. The idea of LPDP –scholarship support for Indonesians from the government — has intrigued many Indonesians to pursue their education with full funding and to achieve high. For more than seven years, many bright-mind human resources take this chance and manage to enter Ivy League campuses. This sparks the young generation to follow their role models. These are privileges, a scholarship and a role model.

Many people have tried harder, but they failed. They do not have mentors. They are so clueless about this big decision. Luckily, you can start thinking of a mentor now.

Figure 3. Valentino Sudaryo on IndonesiaMengglobal’s interview — a mentor and a PhD student in Bioscience at Stanford University — . Retrieved from Indonesia Mengglobal.

“So, are you planning to apply to Harvard, Stanford, or MIT this year?”

If you say Hurrah! YES… I will go to Harvard this year or next year.”

Harvard and the like might respond to you “Yes, but don’t apply alone. You need a mentor!”

It is never impossible. Everyone has dreams. Just let your mentors show you the way! It is a good experience for you to be more prepared in your future schools, and I am sure in your future work as well!