3: Know the culture of the schools you're applying to
Do some research and find out which Ivies are offering things that will make your college experience amazing—cool clubs (Harvard has Quidditch!), awesome study abroad programs (Yale has a killer one), or all-you-can-eat fro-yo in the cafeteria (Stanford's meal plan is ranked as one of the 25 best in the country). Location is important, too: Dartmouth's campus is basically one big treehouse (great if you're into insanely gorgeous scenery), while Columbia is smack in the middle of Manhattan (perfect if you love the fast-paced city life). Try to figure out which college cultures appeal to you, and how they'll help you grow as a person, and then apply to those.