From Olympic winners to Ivy League admissions: How a simple business model predicts success


If economic forecasting models can predict the outcome of the Olympics, can they be applied by college applicants vying for acceptance into the Ivy Leagues?

LOS ANGELES – Aug 16, 2021 – (

As a Harvard student, Steve Gardner of the Ivy League Prep Academy completed the “Economics of Innovation” course taught by Prof. Dr. Dan. Dubbed by Forbes as “the man who predicts the medals,” Johnson was recognized worldwide for his accuracy in predicting the winners of Olympic countries.

The data had nothing to do with their athletic prowess, but in 2000, 2004 and 2008, his statistical model was over 90% accurate in estimating how many medals each country would win. Steve decided to reuse his secret – and apply it to Ivy League college admissions.

Cracking the Ivy League Admissions Code

The Ivy League is well known for its high academic standards and admissions. Acceptance rates hover in single digits at Harvard, Yale and Princeton – with rates of 3.4%, 3.7% and 4.0%.

After graduation, Steve started working with high school kids dreaming of someday going to an Ivy League. He discovered that most of their advisers were passing on the wrong information. Students have been advised to behave inauthentic when the truth is that top schools are not looking for clones. If they were, then how can we explain the ideal candidates who are rejected?

The variable secrecy to predict success

Elite universities are looking for motivated students who complete what they start, bring something to the table, then graduate and go on to accomplish great things, giving their alma mater back the honor. But how can a university predict such results?

How can Yale, for example, screen thousands of applications each year and determine which teenager is most likely to someday win a Nobel Prize, run for Congress, or start a business that changes the world?

The simple Ivy League strategy for predicting candidate future success is the same! To correctly estimate the number of medals each country will win at the next Olympics, just look at how many medals they won at the previous Olympics. To calculate what a student is will do for the world at large, college admissions officers review what the student has already done in their own community.

Own variable

As an experienced educator, one of the most profound insights we have learned from observing student behavior is this: In order for students to have a substantial impact in their sphere of influence, it is essential to find causes that have deep personal meaning. Without this motivation, they will go through the movements but will not feel any inner fire to maintain.

So how do students find the cause that ignites their goal? They must begin by identifying their core values. Once these values ​​are identified, we ask students to find and solve a problem within their community that violates their value system.

By working to improve a situation close to their heart and by respecting their values, students gain confidence. Even in the face of failure, they are better equipped to try again.

Developing these crucial skills on a smaller scale and demonstrating the positive impacts of their work can boost any candidate’s chances. When a student shows what he can do locally, it indicates the great things he will be capable of.

Frankly, the best way to get into the college of your dreams is to become the kind of person who can be successful in life, with or without it.

Steve Gardner is an educator who believes the world needs students to reach their full potential, and college admission shouldn’t hold them back. He created Ivy League Challenge, to empower teenagers.

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From Olympic winners to Ivy League admissions: How a simple business model predicts success


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