Proven University Admissions Results | Experts in International Admissions | Face-to-Face Personalized Advising | ACT and SAT Preparation

University admissions today are substantially more competitive than just a few years ago.

The number of applicants is increasing while acceptance rates are declining. Leading universities now turn away 13 qualified candidates for every one admitted.  High standardized test scores and perfect grades no longer guarantee entry to top universities.

Today's students must creatively differentiate themselves from the rest of the highly-qualified applicant pool in order to be accepted.  Ivy Options helps you compete. We leverage each student's unique strengths, identify which universities are the best fit, and help you attain that coveted acceptance from the best possible university. We help each student become a star candidate.

Ivy Options works to guide you through the complex process of preparing for admission into the top universities of your choice. It's never too late to improve your odds of success, but the more lead time we have before the university application deadline, the more we can help you strengthen your profile. The most successful candidates begin this process one to two years prior to the application deadline, or even earlier if set on attending a top-tier US or UK university.


Comprehensive in-person, Skype, or telephone initial consultation. 60 minute in-depth interview with student and family. Review of transcripts, test scores, life experiences, extracurricular activities.

Each year, Ivy Options travels with a select group of students to tour the campuses of a variety of United States universities.

Proven, advanced online software and hard copy study guide combination for SAT and ACT standardized test prep.

Class of 2020 Admissions Statistics



  • 5.2%

University of Pennsylvania

  • 9.4%


  • 6.27%


  • 6.46%


  • 13.96%


  • 9%


  • 6.04%


  • 10.52%


  • 7.7%


  • 5.07%



Mary Ellen Simoni, Director and Founder

Mary Ellen Simoni graduated second in her class from Cornell University's pre-law program.  Instead of going on to become a lawyer, she fulfilled her dream of working in leadership roles in top-ranked universities both in the United States and in Europe. 


Ms. Simoni directed Stanford University’s operations in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa for eight years, overseeing Stanford’s admissions recruitment in these regions.  During this time she interacted directly with leaders of many of the top universities in North America and Europe, including Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Brown, Penn, MIT, Oxford, and Cambridge.          -more-

Ferrell Armstrong
U.S. University Admissions Specialist





You'll receive one-on-one counseling with one of our former admissions counselors that have experience in both domestic and international admissions working for top-ranked US and European universities. Ivy Options helps you prepare a stand-out application that puts your best self forward.


What Sets us Apart



Many consulting firms claim to get students into the best universities all over the world. We don’t differ in this regard, but unlike other firms, we have the credentials to substantiate this claim. Ivy Options helps students improve their applications and get into some of the best universities — not only in the United States, but all over the world. Some of the universities that our students were accepted to in the last year can be found below.


United States:

Columbia University 
Cornell University 
New York University (Stern School of Business) 
Tufts University 
Georgetown University 
Johns Hopkins University 
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill 
University of Notre Dame 
Vanderbilt University 
University of Virginia 
Boston College 
Babson College 
University of Michigan 
University of California Berkeley 
University of California Los Angeles 
University of California Irvine 
University of California Davis 
University of California Santa Cruz 
University of California San Diego 
Bard College 
University of Massachusetts Amherst 
University of Texas at Austin 
Vassar College 
Northeastern University 
Texas A&M 
Tulane University 
Purdue University 
Emory University 
Ithaca College 
Bennington College 
University of Rhode Island 
University of New Hampshire 
Syracuse University 
Gettysburg College 
Bucknell University 
University of Georgia 
University of Miami 
Fordham University 
Purdue University
Santa Clara University 
Catholic University 
Cornell College 
George Washington University 
Seattle University  


United States (continued)

American University 
University of Illinois - Urbana/Champaign 
Case Western Reserve University 
Drexel University 
Chapman University 
Villanova University 



University of Warwick
Durham University
King’s College London
University of Bath
Queen Mary University of London
University of Surrey
Cass Business School
University of St. Andrews
University of Manchester
University of Southampton



McGill University
University of British Columbia
University of Toronto
Concordia University
Queen’s University
Western University
University of Waterloo
Carleton University
St. Francis Xavier



University College Dublin
American University of Beirut
IE University
Utrecht University
Erasmus University Rotterdam
World Bachelor of Business Program - USC, Bocconi University Milan, and Hong Kong University of Science and Technology




Year-by-Year Overview



Freshmen make key choices that lead to getting an early edge on the competition. Beginning at this point in their high school career gives a head start for students seeking admission to elite and highly selective universities.

Detail crucial information about the college admissions process & timeline

Advise on courses, study habits, extracurricular activities and volunteer opportunities

Encourage summer activity exploration — multi-year summer planning

Counsel on standardized testing, referrals to tutors • Guide in developing distinct profiles — accentuating extracurricular interests and broadening horizons




Sophomores need to hone their academic curriculum and focus their extracurricular activities.

Beginning at this point in their high school career gives a head start for students seeking admission to highly selective and selective universities

Review critical aspects of the college admissions process • Advise on academic programs — both within the context of the high school as well as outside academic & college programs

Guide students to consider "Talented youth" and summer college program • Testing advisement: PSAT, SAT, SAT II, PLAN, ACT, AP

Provide referrals to tutors for academics and standardized testing

Recommend college and university visitations, honing in on potential “good-fit” universities

Help students to develop a distinct profile — accentuating extracurricular interests, increasing responsibilities & broadening horizons




Juniors must prepare for standardized testing, begin writing essays, and define their list of target universities.

This is the most critical year for academic performance, when testing and other key preparations take place.

Provide motivation and direction for course selections

Strategic planning for boosting academic & extracurricular profile throughout the last two years of high school

Referrals to tutors for academics and standardized testing

Selection of initial 10-20 “good-fit” universities based on abilities, interests and goals

Campus visit preparation to refine college list • Standardized testing schedule & strategies

Guidance on obtaining stand-out letters of recommendation

Summer activities addressed • Between the end of the student's junior year and the beginning of the senior year, focus on identifying essay topics and helping students to find their own voice and to craft essays that are uniquely their own



Seniors complete the applications process, including personal statements, letters of recommendation, and essays

The senior year in high school is when university applications are submitted. Ivy Options can help students through the entire process.

Polishing of Personal Statements and Essays, ensuring consistency of theme and content, correct grammar and punctuation, and ensuring that the student's unique attributes shine through

Final college/university list

Emphasis on application process — strategy, setting deadlines & getting things done

Decisions Options & Strategies utilized: EA, ED, SCEA, Priority, Rolling & Regular

Finalizing letters of recommendation

Nuanced positioning based on credentials

Interview preparation, including conducting mock interview sessions with constructive critiques on interview performance

Financial considerations

Evaluating final admissions options