Beating the odds: How students stand out and get into Harvard

If you think a perfect GPA and a 1600 score on the SAT will guarantee a spot for your child at Harvard or Stanford — think again. Grades and test scores alone are not enough to earn a student a place at a coveted Ivy League university anymore.

In reality, top schools and Ivy League colleges could fill incoming classes multiple times over with students with perfect academic stats. As a result, it’s critical for applicants to stand out from their peers. Top-tier colleges want to admit students who have made an impact in their community, followed their passions, and gained real-life experiences through internships and jobs.

Rather than only selecting high-achieving students, colleges seek to build well-rounded classes composed of students with distinct passions, dynamic interests, and singular focus.

Managing Director of Mentoring at Command Education meeting with a student.
Stephanie Paloscio, Managing Director of Mentoring at Command Education, meeting with a student. Roberta Seiler

Suppose a student intends to become such an applicant. In that case, they must start exploring and tailoring their passions early in their high school career so that they can engage in meaningful experiences that convey their depth of engagement with their defining interest.

Seeking to share his admissions discoveries and story with other aspiring students and help families navigate the changing landscape of elite college admissions, Christopher Rim founded Command Education to empower students to identify their passions and articulate their accomplishments, interests and experiences to top schools.

Why trust Rim? He was accepted into Yale University with a 3.7 to 3.8 unweighted GPA — almost unheard of when discussing Ivy League admissions — thanks to his extracurricular activities that allowed him to stand out.

“I just followed my passions and my interests,” said Rim, 26. “That authentic story is what I think resonated with admissions officers.”

Rim’s theory rings true, as he was the only student out of 18 other applicants at his high school accepted into Yale. To top it off, Rim had the lowest grades out of all of them.

What Is Command Education?

Since the creation of Command Education in 2015, Rim has worked with dozens of students from Horace Mann, Trinity, Collegiate, Brearley, and Riverdale — and parents pay him upwards of $1,500 per hour to help their teenagers get into sought-after Ivy League schools.

“The entire purpose of [Command Education] is to help students identify and develop their passions and interests,” Rim told The Post. “It has to be authentic and cannot be manufactured.”

Rim further explained that curating genuine interests aims to help students stand out. After all, almost all students applying to Ivy League schools have near-perfect grades and test scores. This makes extracurricular activities, research and projects vital to landing a spot on an admissions roster.

To enhance each student’s opportunities, many Command Education clients start the process in grade nine; however, some begin as early as grade seven. This is because “you can’t go back in time,” and “everything counts towards the college application process,” he says.

Best of all, when students join Command Education, they are matched with one mentor throughout their college admissions process to aid in tutoring and guidance. This mentor is a full-time employee of Command Education and is a graduate of an Ivy League or top-tier college. Clients receive 24/7 access to them through email, phone calls, texts, and meetings.

This interpersonal, passionate and academic-led program juxtaposes many other college admissions services, as others serve as “more of a checklist,” according to Rim.

Does Command Education Work?

Aside from Rim and Command Education’s success, one may still wonder: “Does Command Education really work?”

Considering that a staggering 100% of students that applied to Harvard in 2021 with the help of Command Education were accepted, over 9 out of 10 students who applied got into at least one of their top three schools and that the company has guided nearly 1,000 teens with a 90% direct referral rate, we say yes.

Pleased parents of happy students are also proof that Command Education is worth it — even with the high price point of $85,000 to $120,000 per academic year.

Command Education preparing for a student meeting.
Lindsay Emi and Alexis Cook of Command Education preparing for a student meeting. Roberta Seiler

“We’ve hired virtually every tutor and counselor for [Command Education student] Brooke prior to working with Chris, but no one was able to get through to her like Chris and his team,” said a mother of a former Riverdale Country School student. “Command Education put her in a position to succeed like no one else she’s ever worked with.”

Another happy Command Education parent said, “Chris and his team were the buffer my husband and I needed. I let them handle everything with Mark [Command Education student]. I fully put my trust in Chris, and not only did [our son] Mark get into Wharton, but I think he totally saved our marriage!”

Because of Command Education’s unmatched mentorship, passion-driven approach, and academic foundation, Rim told The Post that the company “doesn’t have competitors” and is confident that “no one works with students the way that [Command Education] does.”

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