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Educational Counseling
Industry Education, Counseling
Founded 1998
Headquarters New York City, USA
Key people
Dr. Katherine Cohen: Founder & CEO
Website www.ivywise.com

IvyWise is a for-profit New York-based firm of educational consultants that assists students pursuing admission to college. IvyWise counselors also work with students applying to nursery school, elementary school, high school/boarding school, and graduate or professional schools.

IvyWise was founded in 1998 by Dr. Katherine L. Cohen.


Dr. Katherine L. Cohen graduated magna cum laude from Brown University and received two master's degrees and a Ph.D. in Spanish Literature from Yale University. Dr. Cohen wrote The Truth About Getting In (Hyperion, 2002) and Rock Hard Apps (Hyperion, 2003). She received certification in College Admission Counseling from U.C.L.A. Extension. Prior to founding IvyWise, she was as an intern college counselor at Palisades Charter High School and a reader in the Yale University Office of Admissions. She also taught SAT test prep classes for The Princeton Review.

Professional affiliations[edit]

All IvyWise counselors adhere to the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) Statement of Principles of Good Practice and the Independent Educational Consultants Association Principles of Good Practice.[1] Dr. Katherine Cohen is a member of both NACAC and IECA. According to the New York Times, fewer than one of every five admissions consultants can claim to be an association member of IECA.[2]


IvyWise was founded by in 1998 Dr. Katherine L. Cohen. She started the business in her apartment with five thousand dollars.[3]

As early as 2000, the company was working with younger students as part of its IvyWise Kids division, though it is unclear when the division was officially launched.[4]

In early 2002, Dr. Katherine Cohen published a book, "The Truth About Getting In" that guides readers through the college admissions process according to the IvyWise methodology that Dr. Cohen developed. Dr. Katherine Cohen published a second book entitled "Rock Hard Apps: How to Write a Killer College Application" in 2003.

In 2004, the parents of Kaavya Viswanathan reportedly engaged IvyWise for its assistance in college counseling services. Kaavya Viswanathan applied to and was accepted at Harvard University. Viswanathan's novel, projected to be a bestseller by its publisher, described an academically oriented Indian American girl's efforts to become more "well-rounded" in hopes of boosting her chances of admission to Harvard. Cohen put her in touch with the William Morris Agency which secured a book and movie deal. The novel was published in 2006. It was later revealed that many of the book's passages had been directly plagiarized from other fiction sources. The furor over this incident inadvertently raised IvyWise's profile and increased the controversy with hiring high-priced consultants, although Cohen never associated herself with Viswanathan's plagiarism.

In 2007, Dr. Cohen launched ApplyWise (see below).

Controversy surrounding independent counseling[edit]

IvyWise is a private educational consulting firm and thus, is often included in news stories about the controversy surrounding the use of private educational consultants and the issue of a level playing field for all students. This issue is compounded by the fact that the company is based in New York City, where parents reportedly feel pressured to get their children into prestigious schools. The New York Times reports, Parents generally have a very skewed perception of the private school world, Mark Sklarow, executive director of the Independent Educational Consultants Association, a professional association based in Virginia, said. They're convinced that if they don't get into a good nursery school, they're never going to get into the right prep school, they won't get into Harvard, and their life is over.

Within that context, parents can be anxious to secure a spot for their children at private K-12 schools, and even pre-K programs. The article continues, It is no secret that for many Manhattan parents, getting a child into the Ivy League starts in nursery school.[4]

The article continues on to report, "Several parents, however, said they had found the consultants helpful. You only have a fixed number of hours to focus on the school issues, said one parent. [The counselor is] like the CliffsNotes of the process.

Forbes reports, Not everybody needs an independent counselor, admits IvyWise Chief Executive Katherine Cohen, but it is essential to get some kind of advice. Hundreds of thousands of students are getting little to no counseling. [5]

IvyWise claims to address the issue of unequal educational counseling access by offering a pro bono service. Katherine Cohen has stated that one out of every seven students that work with IvyWise does so on a pro bono basis.[6]


In 2007, Dr. Cohen launched another line of business to address growing concerns of an unequal playing field in college admissions. The result was an online college application guidance program called ApplyWise. The program utilizes the IvyWise methodology developed by Dr. Cohen, and has sessions that take students through the steps of applying to college. ApplyWise is now part of Kaplan's "College Prep Advantage" for premium subscribers.[7]

See also[edit]



External links[edit]