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

University admissions today are becoming increasingly competitive. The number of applicants per school is rising as students apply to more universities in the hope of gaining admission to a top school. Many leading universities now boast admissions rates under 10 percent. Furthermore, applications are now more complicated. More supplemental essays are required by individual universities and are weighed heavily in admissions; good grades are not enough. Moreover, for students who lack spectacular grades, it is important to identify best-fit universities that offer excellent educational opportunities and job prospects. In every case, knowing how to craft one’s story in a compelling way will maximize a student’s chances of admission

What differentiates Ivy Options from other admissions consulting companies?

Most admissions consulting firms in Dubai are made up of advisors that have neither attended an elite American university nor worked in admissions at the university level. Mary Ellen Simoni, the Director and Founder of Ivy Options, remains personally involved in each family's road to university. All our advisors give both students and parents highly individualized attention and guide them through the entire process – from navigating freshman year to seeking internships to choosing from among their university offers. Moreover, we help students to define their unique voice and to highlight their story in a way that will make them stand out from thousands of other applicants.

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 a student find and tell his/her story in the most compelling and effective way. We don't write the essays or fit applications into a mold. Instead, we brainstorm with students for essay ideas and guide them through multiple drafts and revisions until essays are polished, distinctive, and convey the student’s unique voice.

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. 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.