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How this Student Got Into All 8 Ivy Leagues

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Yes, he’s done it. Martin Altenburg, a 17-year-old from Fargo, North Dakota has gained acceptance into every Ivy League plus a couple more schools for good measure. You might be asking yourself, “But don’t Ivy Leagues have some of the lowest acceptance rates in the country?” Yes, they do! But Altenburg figured out the not-so-secret method to increase his chances of wooing admission officers with the ever increasing number of essays each of these top-tier schools requires: he started his essays early and stuck to a schedule.

We hate to say we told you so…but…  

Mr. Altenburg spent three months preparing his applications and scouring the Internet for tools to improve his chances and find the perfect fit for his unique interests.

“I devoted one or two days to a school that had smaller, short-answer essays or only one essay. Then for schools like Caltech that have five prompts that are all fairly long responses, I’d spend a week working on them. By the end of the process, I was able to recycle a lot of my essays or adapt them a bit for the colleges,” he said.

This strategy of starting with the longest essay prompts with the most easily recyclable subject matter is a smart one. Once you get those first few essays out of the way, writing the others isn’t so bad! This is why we at CEA encourage students to schedule brainstorming sessions for themselves and use the summer to get ahead on the admissions process. Altenburg said working on his essays took up the largest chunk of time in the application process and that he finished his Common Application essay in September. So don’t wait, get started on your college essay now!

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