Luke Kenworthy, 17, of Mercer Island High School in the Seattle area, was rightfully nervous on Ivy Day. He’d taken a chance and applied to all eight Ivy League schools and so far, the only feedback he’d received was from Harvard, who had deferred his early decision application. As he put it, “I was legitimately convinced I wasn’t going to get into any Ivy League schools.”


But ironically, it might have been Harvard’s deferral that ultimately shaped the rest of Kenworthy’s admissions success. After receiving his deferral, Kenworthy took a hard look at his application and decided to make some changes. Knowing he didn’t have the expertise to do it alone, he contacted CollegeVine and arranged for a mentorship with essay assistance program.


The CollegeVine Mentorship Program pairs students with a one-on-one mentor who provides practical advice on topics from college admissions to career aspirations, all from the perspective of a successful current college student. As the CollegeVine Mentor Philosophy points out, “What really matters for long-term success is that students are prepared to be confident leaders and achievers, with well-developed communication skills and strong degrees of self-awareness into their own strengths and weaknesses.”


Indeed, these were precisely the skills that Kenworthy was able to seamlessly integrate into his revised essay that he sent out along with applications to all eight Ivy League schools.


While Kenworthy undeniably presented a strong applicant profile, he knew he’d need to go further. He had taken all of the AP courses available at his school, was the student body president, and had participated in multiple mission trips abroad. But these accomplishments alone wouldn’t guarantee him a place at an Ivy.


In fact, this year the Ivies reported record numbers of applicants, with many schools also reporting record-low acceptance rates. At Harvard, where nearly 40,000 applicants vied for fewer than 2,500 spots, the acceptance rate dipped to a scant 5.2%.


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Anticipating that his profile alone wouldn’t be enough, Kenworthy got to work reflecting on and revising his essay with the help of his CollegeVine mentor. Eventually, he settled on a topic that was deeply personal. But rather than focus on hardship, he eloquently communicated how the obstacles he’s faced have shaped him into the successful young man he is today. Kenworthy noted that the process was an important one for him.


The result was a success with admissions committees, too. Kenworthy was elated to receive the news that he had been accepted to seven Ivy League schools, including Harvard, Princeton, Brown, Cornell, Columbia, Dartmouth, and the University of Pennsylvania. He also received a place on the wait list at Yale.


To read his successful application essay, head over to Business Insider, where it is published in its entirety.


Congratulations, Luke! We at CollegeVine are proud of your hard work and persistence that has so clearly been rewarded. 


If you’re a rising senior who’s staring down the start of college applications, consider the CollegeVine Mentorship Program or our Essay Guidance and Editing Services. Our proven track record is a testament to our expertise.


For more information about college applications, consider these CollegeVine posts:


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Kate Sundquist

Kate Sundquist

Senior Blogger at CollegeVine
Kate Koch-Sundquist is a graduate of Pomona College where she studied sociology, psychology, and writing before going on to receive an M.Ed. from Lesley University. After a few forays into living abroad and afloat (sometimes at the same time), she now makes her home north of Boston where she works as a content writer and, with her husband, raises two young sons who both inspire her and challenge her on a daily basis.
Kate Sundquist