I didn't use an admissions specialist to get into a top university. Why does my son or daughter need Ivy Options?

The university admissions process at selective and highly selective schools is exceedingly more complex and competitive today. The applicant pool, whether at the nation's most elite colleges/universities or at top 100 public flagship universities and selective private schools, is composed of high-achieving students who may possess academic and extracurricular credentials that are equal to or, in many cases, surpass your child's achievements.


Additionally, the student applying to the most competitive schools often faces staggering odds, given the number of applications received (between 25,000 to 35,000 or so at most Ivy League schools), the sheer volume of superior applicants in that pool and the percentage of applicants accepted (as low as single digits). All of the Ivy League schools, Duke and Stanford all received a record number of applications during the 2011-2012 admissions cycle. Families, no matter how well informed, are not experts in university admission.


Professional guidance and strategic planning are critical in order for the student to be a truly competitive applicant at top colleges and universities today. We provide the individualized attention that school-based counselors are unable to offer, due to high student-to-counselor ratios and time constraints. We define extracurricular and summer activities that differentiate our clients. We work with the student to boost credentials. We help perfect essays, brag sheets, interviewing techniques and the utilization of demonstrated interest to help the student stand out from the pack. Perhaps most importantly, by maximizing the student's competitive stature, we help the student acquire a range of excellent choices, so that the student can find a top college or university that will also be a great match.


What differentiates your firm from other admissions consulting companies?








Most admissions consulting firms consist of staff members that haven’t worked in admissions at a university level. At Ivy Options, all of our advisors are educated at prestigious American universities.  In addition, Mary Ellen Simoni and Ferrell Armstrong have both worked in highly selective admissions offices. Our advisors will give both students and parents highly individualized attention and guide them through the entire process, from freshman year to choosing from among their university offers.  Moreover, we will help students to define their own unique voice and to highlight their history in a way that will make them stand out from the thousands of other applications that will be received.

Will I receive an honest assessment of my top-choice admission prospects?







Absolutely. While we can – and do – increase our clients' chances of gaining admission to their top-choice schools, we do not pretend to be able to get any applicant into any program. We will not encourage a client to apply to a college or university for which he or she has no reasonable chance of gaining admission. If a client can do something that would make her or him a stronger candidate (take additional classes, gain additional extracurricular experiences, etc.), we will advise her or him accordingly.



I don't want my essay to look like it was professionally edited. Will it still look like my own work?







Yes.  We are experts in helping you to find and express your own unique and most appealing self.  We don't write your essays for you or fit your application into a mould. We guide students through multiple drafts and revisions until, in responding to and addressing our comments, they craft an essay that is uniquely theirs, written in their own distinctive voice.



Who will be advising me? Do they have real experience working directly for a top US or European university?









Mary Ellen Simoni and Ferrell Armstrong will give superior counsel on preparation for top University admission.  



 - Mary Ellen Simoni - | -  Ferrell Armstrong -






Are your services provided face-to-face, or only over the internet? Can I get personal one-on-one help, or only in groups?









Our services are provided face to face if you are able to attend on site in Dubai, U.A.E. or Nashville, Tennessee; however, we extend our services online to those students who live abroad and wish to benefit from our counsel.  








When should I start? Is there a best year to begin or by a certain grade?







Ideally, we should begin planning your strategy at age 14 (during ninth grade). At that point, we schedule an initial consultation and make specific follow-up recommendations for course selection, extracurricular activities, and ways of optimizing the student's interests and talents. We will then hold two to three follow-up meetings every year to monitor the student's progress. Of course our degree of involvement varies widely from student to student — some students prefer more long-term, intensive involvement, while for others, essay polishing and editing in November of their senior year is sufficient.